There’s not much new to add to what’s already been said about Leone. I think he’s a great stylist, but there’s nothing really deep in his films (not that it’s a requirement, so I don’t wanna hear a bunch of guff about the hidden meanings and metaphors in a Leone film. He puts it all out there. You want a deep discussion on hidden meanings and metaphors, write me a book report on Georges Perec’s Life a Users Manual, or Thomas Bernhard’s Gargoyles. Oops, I went on a rant there).
I think Sergio has moments where there’s something more to his work than composition and style, but they don’t permeate entire films. With that aside. His films are pure cinema, enjoyable and a must-see.
Once Upon A Time In America – The original American release was horrendously re-edited by the studio. Get the uncut DVD. With that said, I still think this is a flawed final film from Leone. I think there are some people who are really miscast (Elizabeth McGovern, Tuesday Weld to name a couple). And I still can’t wrap my head around Jimmy Woods being a Jewish gangster. There are some terrific cinematic flourishes in here (the opening telephone ringing scene is great), but other areas fall flat. It must be hard making an American film about an American subject, when you don’t really speak the language. There’s something “off” about this one. I still recommend it.