L.A. Repertory Cinema Pick: Spaghetti Westerns Unchained!

Spaghetti Westerns Unchained, at the Egyptian and Aero Theatres

three the hard way

I ask you, has Christopher Nolan ever made a movie that looks this good?

You know these are fun — just look at the posters. Violent, subversive, violent, stylish, violent, funny, and mostly just violent, spaghetti westerns from Italy arrived in the latter half of the 1960s to completely upend Hollywood’s oldest genre. This is a rare chance to see a lot of non–Sergio Leone entries in the genre on the big screen.

It’s fun to speculate, if you were to catch every double-bill in this series, how many people would you have seen get shot on screen by the time the series was over? (This page should come with an MP3 of the distinctive sound effect that seemingly every gun ever fired in a spaghetti western makes.)

All films play at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood except where noted.

The complete lineup (all shows begin at 7:30, with a 10-minute intermission between films):

The Western gets weird: a rerelease poster for THE SHOOTING.

Thursday, August 2:

China 9 Liberty 37 (Monte Hellman, 1978)

With Warren Oates and Jenny Agutter, cameo by Sam Peckinpah.

The Shooting (Monte Hellman, 1966)

Starring Jack Nicholson and Warren Oates. Not technically a spaghetti western, but a weird, beatnik-y 1960s take on the western all the same.

Let's pause to admire what a thing of beauty this poster is.

Friday, August 3:

A Fistful of Dollars (Sergio Leone, 1964)

I don’t need to tell you who stars in these, do I? Music by the great Ennio Morricone.

For a Few Dollars More (Sergio Leone, 1965)

Co-starring Lee Van Cleef, Gian Maria Volonte and Klaus Kinski. Classic score by Ennio, natch.

Saturday, August 4 at THE AERO THEATRE in Santa Monica:

Once Upon a Time in the West (Sergio Leone, 1968)

A classic, and arguably THE spaghetti western. Stars Charles Bronson, Henry Fonda, Jason Robards and Claudia Cardinale. One of Ennio’s best scores, too.

Sunday, August 5 at THE AERO THEATRE in Santa Monica:

The Great Silence (Sergio Corbucci, 1968)

Starring Jean-Louis Trintignant and Klaus Kinski. Music by Ennio Morricone.

A Bullet for the General (Damiano Damiani, 1966)

With Gian Maria Volonte and the tireless Klaus Kinski.

Wednesday, August 8:

Any resemblance to Che Guevara is strictly coincidental, perhaps.

Tepepa (Giulio Petroni, 1969)

Starring Tomas Milian and…Orson Welles!

Yankee (Tinto Brass, 1966)

Thursday, August 9:

The Ruthless Four (Giorgio Capitani, 1968)

With Van Heflin and Klaus Kinski.

Requiescant (Carlo Lizzani, 1967)

Starring Lou Castel and… Pier Paolo Pasolini!

Friday, August 10:

Companeros (Sergio Corbucci, 1970)

Stars Franco Nero, Bunuel favorite Fernando Rey, and Jack Palance! The original title is Vamos a Matar, Companeros, which is on my shortlist of Best Movie Titles Ever.

The Price of Power (Tonino Valerii, 1969)

Stars Van Johnson and Fernando Rey.

Saturday, August 11:

Django (Sergio Corbucci, 1966)

Stars Franco Nero. A favorite of Quentin Tarantino’s, this spawned a ton of sequels.

The Grand Duel (Giancarlo Santi, 1973)

A late entry in the spag-wag canon. The director was previously an assistant to both Antonioni and Leone, so it’s fun to imagine, what if this movie is a hybrid between the two?

Sunday, August 12:

Django Kill…If You Live, Shoot! (Giulio Questi, 1967)

Hellbenders (Sergio Corbucci, 1967)

Stars Joseph Cotten.

My mule doesn't like you laughin'

The movie that started it all, playing August 3 at the Egyptian.

For more info, visit the Egyptian Theatre and the Aero Theatre websites.

—Mark Tompkins

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