The Spaghetti Western: A Thematic Analysis
The 1960s and 1970s were the heyday of spaghetti westerns—low-budget films about the early American West mostly filmed in Italy. Though sometimes derided as excessively violent imitations of American-made westerns, they attracted a substantial following that has endured. With its classic elements of gunfights, gambling, heroes, sidekicks, love, and death, the genre is now perceived by critics as an intriguing object of study. This book analyzes the construction of the stories presented in spaghetti westerns. It examines the content of the Italian western using concepts and constructs borrowed from scholars studying “pre-industrial” narratives. Plot, the constellation of characters, their relationship to each other, and their motives are studied. Films examined in detail include the seminal A Fistful of Dollars as well as Django, For a Few Dollars More and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. There is also a discussion of the early spaghetti westerns. The study then probes the elements of bounty hunters, the deprived hero, partnerships, betrayal, and comedy. An appendix details the top grossing Italian westerns between 1964 and 1975, including title, director, lead actor and intake. A second appendix provides a list of films quoted by Italian title and then by English title.
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The Spaghetti Western Film as an Object of Study
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American Western Anglo avenger Bambino Baxters betrayal big boss Blondie bounty hunter bounty killer brother Bud Spencer camp Carmineo chapter characters Chunco classical plot Clyde Colt confrontation constellation constellation/plot Corbucci cunning deprived hero Django dress duel ethnic evil authority Faccia a faccia father fight films Fistful of Dollars Franco Nero Frayling gang genre Giuliano Gemma gold gunfighter Indio infiltrator inversion Italian Italowestern Jeff Johnny Oro killed Kitosch later leaves Leone's loot malefactor malignant partner manipulation Marisol Mexican Monco money-oriented Mortimer non-monetary motive outlaw Paco pistola per Ringo played plot functions position prodigal protagonists revolutionary ritorno di Ringo Rojos Sabata saloon Sancho Sartana Savage Guns scene second motive sequence sheriff shooting shot Silvanito social bandit society spaghetti Westerns specialist Spirito Santo story syuzhet Tempo di massacro Tepepa Terence Hill tion tragic mercenary tricks Trinity Trinity films Tuco unstable partnership uomo variant vendetta vengeance villain woman