I am a big fan of the Western genre. I have read a lot of Westerns in my time and I have also seen a lot of movies.
If I were to list my top 3 all time favourite Westerns then they would be “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly”, “Django”, and “For A Few Dollars More”. Because they were the ones that had the most impact on me, and they were in my book, the true classic Westerns. Of course, this list could very easily extend to 10, 20, maybe more depending on how many Clint Eastwood made – because in my book, Western equaled Clint Eastwood, irrespective of what everyone else may say. Of course, in time I did watch the older classics and the newer ones, but it didn’t change my mind about The Man With No Name.
And further, to qualify as a Western in my
book, there had to be rough characters, dust, a lot of dust, boots with
wicked looking spurs, and stretches of desert, a harsh land, harsh
towns, with harsh characters. Anything with locales that featured
mountains, snow, or well dressed and clean cut characters were not
Westerns. So said I.
The classic shoot-out scenes were the ones I always waited for – and no one could do it better than Sergio Leone, the spaghetti westerns of his defined those scenes. In all of his movies (the ones I have seen), each one was a classic, the Dollar series had them towards the end and “Once Upon A Time In The West” had one right at the beginning. No one did it better than him. The extreme close-up of the eyes, the slow build up accompanied by the music (esp in the Good,Bad, Ugly one), the tension building in the eyes, the draw and fire, and one man left standing.
The string of Westerns that came after with Clint Eastwood featuring in them were extremely good, but the ones that left the most impact on an impressionable mind were most certainly the ones mentioned at the beginning.
But then somewhere along the way, the genre itself began to fade and the films began to die out, making very rare appearances. But by then it did not matter as I guess I was past that age and to be honest, it was some time before I noticed that those good old Westerns were just not being made any more. Today, I will still watch the odd one that does make its way onto the circuit, but will it still thrill me as much? Maybe. Maybe not.
Watch my tribute below.