Once Upon A Time In The West blu-ray
Sergio Leone’s western masterpiece is one of the best examples of what blu-ray can do for classic films.
This is one of my “desert island” discs and is one of the best westerns ever made. Leone found the perfect cast and shot in the best location on Earth for a western, Monument Valley. The cast includes Charles Bronson, as the mysterious “Harmonica”, Jason Robards as a local outlaw with a good heart as Cheyenne, the absolutely stunning Claudia Cardinale (The Pink Panther) as Jill, and Henry Fonda as the cold blooded killer Frank. This role is one you would not expect from Fonda, who normally played good guys but this role he loved because he is so unforgettable as one of the meanest, coldest killers in film history.
This film has many strengths; great cast, spectacular scenery shot in cinemascope, and beautiful score by Ennio Morricone. The film is slow moving by today’s standards for a western but Leone’s direction and the scripting allows the audience to really get to know all the characters thoroughly before the epic showdown near the end. The dialog is classic from the opening scene with Bronson and Jack Elam to Fonda telling off one of his stoolies “How can you trust a man who wears both suspenders and a belt? You can’t even trust your own pants”.
This disc has both the original theatrical release and restored versions on one disc. The restoration is very well done with most dirt and scratches removed. DTS-MA 5.1 brings new life to the heavily sound based soundtrack and the original mono sound is also offered. Original film grain is visible just like it looked in the theaters in 1968.
Extras include commentary by directors John Carpenter, John Milius, and Alex Cox; Film Historians Sir Christopher Frayling and Dr. Sheldon Hall; Writer Bernardo Bertolucci; and Actress Claudia Cardinale. A number of other extras from the same commentary sessions are also included that give you a deeper appreciation for Leone’s work as a whole and for this film. An HD trailer is also included.
If you are a western fan, you MUST have this in your HD library and at $10 (street price) this disc is worth every penny. Bravo to Paramount for giving this epic masterpiece the loving care it deserves.
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