Spaghetti Western
Posted: 31 July 2007 08:49 PM   [ Ignore ]
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I have heard this term from time to time but don’t know what it means.

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Posted: 31 July 2007 10:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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From OED

a ‘Western’ ..... or film set in the U.S. ‘old west’, but made in Italy or by Italians, esp. cheaply.

First cite is 1969:

1969 M. PEI Words in Sheep’s Clothing (1970) iii. 22 ‘Spaghetti Western’ and ‘Sukiyaki Western’ are terms applied to cheap Westerns produced in Italy and Japan.

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Posted: 01 August 2007 04:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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The best known “spaghetti westerns” are those by director Sergio Leone and starring Clint Eastwood (in his pre-Dirty Harry days, not yet the super-famous star). These include Fistful of Dollars (1964), For a Few Dollars More , (1965), and The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly (1966).

I’ve only seen these dubbed into English. Does anyone know if Eastwood spoke in Italian in the originals? Or did he speak English and was overdubbed in Italian?

[ Edited: 01 August 2007 06:50 PM by Dave Wilton ]
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Posted: 01 August 2007 04:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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He spoke English. Apparently the set was a veritable Babel. See the comments on this page.

Italian filmmakers did not record their scenes with microphones. This is the case not just with Westerns but other films as well. If you watch an Italian horror film such as “Suspiria” you will also find it was recorded the same way. In this way the Italian filmmakers could have actors from around the world and they did not need to know how to speak English or Italian. In fact the three Western films were a mix of German, Spanish and Italian with English thrown in from Eastwood (and Eli Wallach later). This sometimes led to comedic moments as direction was attempted to people who could not speak each other’s languages.

What this means is that Eastwood would be on the set delivering his lines in English. The person across from him might be giving his lines in Italian or German or Spanish. Italian filmmakers then brought in the actors of voice talent later and had the dialogue dubbed or looped over the film footage. This is why the mouths do not match the dialogue. You have to either accept this when watching these films or it will not work for you. Yes, it is like watching one of those Japanese monster films with the voice and lips not matching.

[ Edited: 01 August 2007 04:49 AM by aldiboronti ]
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Posted: 01 August 2007 01:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Don’t forget the greatest spaghetti western of all, “Once Upon a Time in the West.”

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Posted: 01 August 2007 10:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Which was partly shot in Spain BTW.

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Posted: 02 August 2007 01:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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The term “spaghetti Western” is often used (not, mark you, by the OED) pejoratively, or at any rate superciliously, implying a cheap (i.e. trashy, not just inexpensive) movie. Such movies were not always either cheap, or of poor quality. The movie mentioned by Eyehawk, for instance, had in its cast H. Fonda, C. Bronston, J. Robards --- i don’t know if these actors were to be hired all that cheaply. As for quality --- well, spaghetti Westerns are a genre all its own, very easily recognizable. You may not care for the genre, but that doesn’t disqualify it.

Lots of spaghetti Westerns are truly awful (so are thousands of movies of every kind), but the fact remains that most REALLY bad Westerns have come out of Hollywood --- some of them anything but cheap, too. Nonetheless, one of the most godawful bad Westerns that i ever saw was actually German: “Flusspiraten vom Mississippi” ("Pirates of the Mississippi") . A sauerkraut Western, I suppose.

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Posted: 02 August 2007 06:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Many Sauerkraut Westerns were shot partially in the former Yugoslavia. There is a good book called Spaghetti Westerns by Christopher Frayling.

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Posted: 02 August 2007 07:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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German Westerns bring to mind the Western novels of Karl May, featuring his hero Old Shatterhand.  They were Hitler’s passion in his youth and German cinema produced 23 movies after novels by May between 1912 and 1968, some starring Lex Barker (as Old Shatterhand), a few with Stewart Granger (as Old Surehand) and one with Rod Cameron (as Old Firehand). May clearly had a thing about old hands!

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Posted: 02 August 2007 03:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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About the highest praise one cowboy can give to another is to call him a real hand. A smart horse would be called “right handy.” It’s a Western thang.

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Posted: 02 August 2007 04:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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The subtitle of Frayling’s book is Cowboys and Europeans from Karl May to Sergio Leone.

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Posted: 08 August 2007 07:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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I was teaching a Japanese man who was familiar with Clint’s Italian films and he laughed when I said Spaghetti Western thinking I was joking. It turned out they are popular in Japan and they call them Macaroni Westerns there.

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Posted: 15 August 2007 01:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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"Macaroni westerns” seems a most suitable name if they featured actors speaking a mixture of different languages.

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