Few people nowadays know him, though his movies are the classics of the Western genre and not only. It is hard to mention the reasons behind his unpopularity. Many people know his movies through the music of Ennio Morricone. I was one of those who got to know Morricone through Leone movies.
If it was not for his Dollars Trilogy today we would not know Clint Eastwood. The movies of this Trilogy as the title implies show how different personalities encounter each other and kill each other for the sake of money.
First movie of the trilogy named “For a Fistful of Dollars” was released in 1964. Though the movie was not an original creation of Leone’s mind, it was adapted from the movie “Yojimbo” by Akira Kurosawa, it still had some techniques that are peculiar only to Leone’s style. Contrary to Kurosawa’s heroes, who constantly speak, Leone created almost mute characters that speak whenever there is strict need, and the rest of the work is done by the camera and music; the amazing angles and the beautiful sounds of Morricone’s compositions. Humour is present almost in any of Sergio Leone’s movies. One can see the predominant use of humour in the last movie of Dollars Trilogy “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.” Still considered as the best movie of the spaghetti western genre it is widely acclaimed by many movie critics and Quentin Tarantino as the best movie ever made.
In 1968 Leone came up with a movie called “Once Upon a Time in the West”, by far the most underrated of all his movies. The movie tells the story of Harmonica, a man who seeks revenge. Once again as always Leone’s characters do not speak or scarcely speak besides some short utterances. However, Leone uses music the main tool to make his main character to tell his story. That music, as the German title of the movie suggests “Spiel mir das Lied vom Tod”, is the music of death. The movie is named among the most important movies of the classic western genre, however is overshadowed by the more famous movie of Leone “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.”
Leone himself was always an interesting and a mysterious character, and it is impossible to understand his movies, which to average viewers seems depiction of violence, without knowing his own character. His genius was not the mere depiction of violence, the pure genius of Leone was to meddle violence with the most humane of all feelings that of pity for those who wage a war, as is seen “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.” And as he himself describes his character “When I was young I believed in three things; Marxism, the redemptive power of cinema and dynamite. Now I just believe in dynamite.”