The Spaghetti Western
A Thematic Analysis
About the Book
The 1960s and 1970s were the heyday of spaghetti westerns—low-budget films about the early American West mostly filmed in Italy. Though sometimes derided as excessively violent imitations of American-made westerns, they attracted a substantial following that has endured. With its classic elements of gunfights, gambling, heroes, sidekicks, love, and death, the genre is now perceived by critics as an intriguing object of study.
This book analyzes the construction of the stories presented in spaghetti westerns. It examines the content of the Italian western using concepts and constructs borrowed from scholars studying “pre-industrial” narratives. Plot, the constellation of characters, their relationship to each other, and their motives are studied. Films examined in detail include the seminal A Fistful of Dollars as well as Django, For a Few Dollars More and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. There is also a discussion of the early spaghetti westerns. The study then probes the elements of bounty hunters, the deprived hero, partnerships, betrayal, and comedy. An appendix details the top grossing Italian westerns between 1964 and 1975, including title, director, lead actor and intake. A second appendix provides a list of films quoted by Italian title and then by English title.
About the Author(s)
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Bibliographic Info: 30 photos, tables, appendices,notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2006
Table of Contents
1. The Spaghetti Western Film as an Object of Study 3
2. Enter the Infiltrator 15
3. The Code of Cunning 57
4. Intruding into Gringo Territory 66
5. Stories of the Deprived Hero 93
6. A Partnership of Bounty Killers 122
7. A Partnership Without Tricks 140
8. Stories of Betrayal 204
9. Triumph of Comedy 231
10. Un Minuto per Pregare—Concluding Remarks 256
Appendix A. Top-Grossing Italian Westerns, 1964–1975 263
Chapter Notes 279
Book Reviews & Awards
“aficionados will find much to interest them between the covers of this book”—Wrangler’s Roost.