Saturday, 29 May 2010

The bar-room brawl in the US and Italian western

One of the distinctive, but little remarked upon, features of the Leone western is the absence of the 'fun' bar-room brawl where no-one really gets hurt. This is, however, seen in most other Italian directors' westerns, even when they are otherwise trying to emulate Leone.

I think this reveals a fundamental thing about violence in Leone: It is always for real, for keeps; when someone gets beaten (Eastwood in A Fistful of Dollars, Eastwood and Van Cleef in For a Few Dollars More) it's to near-death.

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