Images Linger Long After the Film
- Once Upon a Time in the West review by CV
The first two sequences of the film are quite extraordinary: no music except the amplified natural sounds of a squeaky wind-fan, dripping water and a door slam create a nerve-jangling opening to this epic Western. The next sequence, seemingly unrelated to the first, is also nerve-jarring in effect, also created by the stopping and starting of natural sounds, in this case the interrupted chirrupping of cicadas. After this the drama unfolds and the audience has to work out how the characters relate to one another as their paths constantly cross throughout: who are directly involved in the main action and who are incidental. My mind was still putting in place the earlier events way after the film had ended.
I chose the film as I wanted literally a change of scenery from my recent choices and if you have a large screen it will be all the more impressive. There are both amazing panoramic visions of Monument Valley and disturbing close-ups of the characters. Henry Fonda is cross-cast but my favourite performance was that of Charles Bronson who seems omnipresent, hovering, always observing what's going on. He has no name and has a cypher existence until the ending.
After the film had ended I looked at the extras and there was a running commentary on the film in its entirety. I was quite happy to watch it all again where the direction and photography was discussed as the film was running but time prevented.
I was surprized there were no reviews here already for this film where my Film Guide had praised it to the skies. The images linger long after the film has ended.
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