Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Albums for Life: 83: Ennio Morricone: Once Upon a Time in America

I guess that you need to love the film to love this and I lurve the film; maybe my favourite.
If you have not seen it, it's a four hour commitment but well worthy of your time. The film is soon to be released as was intended before the inevitable studio cuts took an hour off its initial 4 and a half hours. Director Sergio Leone was heartbroken by the edits and never made another film. Martin Scorsese is working with Leone's family and estate to resurrect the director's original 269 minutes; what he and many others regarded as his best work.
The musical themes are perfectly realized and bring certain scenes to mind immediately; particularly one heartbreaking moment where DeNiro's character, who has been reminiscing about his past imperfect, suddenly catches his older reflection in a window...
It was close between this soundtrack and Ennio's other masterpiece 'Cinema Paradiso' but there's more variety here and... it's just a better piece.
Watch, listen and weep.


  1. Love this movie. Remember seeing it on the firt week it was released. The soundtrack is also brilliant. Wise choice mr Jones.

    Nick B

  2. Thanks Nick; makes me want to revisit the film but I've got so many versions; don't want to commit to a wrong 'un. I've even got a studio edit where some numb nut has put everything in chronological order; totally undermining the overwhelming theme of memory and regret... PAH!
    I might just await the master version due soon.
    Speaking of numb nuts; I still cannot see your 'Hats' header.
    Am I a dim wit or a Twitter Twat?

  3. This along with Balderunner and betty blue are the only film soundtracks I own if i hadnt given myself some silly no instrumental lps rule then it would have been a toss up between which of the 3 would have made it or all of them.

    I remember seeing the film at poly and couldnt believe it was by someone who i only knew through the spag westerns. It is a shame that history tends to paint as teh bridesmade to the godfather's bride

  4. 'Baldrunner'?
    Do you mean 'Die Hard 7'?
    And history paints what?
    The weekend is two days away David. Have you gone off early?

  5. It has been a long week although baldrunner does sound like it could be an interesting fim about a ruthless gang who smuggle thin on top middle aged men into the country

    The history paints relates to once Upon a Time

  6. 'Baldrunner'. We should make that film...
    If you haven't seen it (sure you have) 'Once Upon a Time in the West' is a fantastic western; some say the best ever made. As a kid I remember being fixated by the cruelty of it; it's not the same film when you watch as an adult...

  7. I remember watching it as a kid and then not again until i went to poly - as a child what stuck to me was the heat / sweat / flies / dust - you didnt really get that from any other western (and i seen a lot as my grandad was obsessed with them as only a railway driver from the midlands could be!

  8. The commentary track by several famous directors and film historians in the DVD special features of "In The West" is fascinating. A lot of insight into the inspiration of other classic westerns on the script. Also, there are a few continuity errors which are mentioned which always confused me, and apparently they even baffled even some of the makers of the film!
    I remember the first time I saw the movie (US release, I guess) Robard's character doesn't die on screen. You're left hoping that he survives, reunites with Claudia Cardinale, everyone lives happily ever after. I was surprised when I watched the DVD unedited version, where the hero bites the dust. So much for my Hollywood ending!

  9. Another brilliant soundtrack is for the film The Natural by Randy Newman. Check a piece of the theme out - 3.07 mins in.

    Nick B

  10. Excellent soundtrack by one of my favourite songwriters.
    He even made me love Woody...