Spaghetti Westerns Essay Research Paper Which is

Spaghetti Westerns Essay, Research Paper

Which is the cheesiest? The answer is pretty obvious, but let?s take a close

look. ?Spaghetti Westerns,? as their called, are a genre of western films,

that have been created or filmed in Italy and are meant to portray the ?Wild

West? of America. ?Macaroni Westerns,? as I?ll call them, make up the

traditional western genre, made in the United States. Let?s take a look at the

similarities and differences of these genres, and at two films in particular

that represent each genre; The Good the Bad and the Ugly(1966) and Rio

Bravo(1959), which most critics will agree, are great examples of each genre.

Let?s start with the most obvious aspect that differs in the two genres.

?Macaroni Westerns? are the cheesiest. These films have are pure cheese. I

can barely sit through one of them. They have the typical characters; the hero(s),

the bad guy(s), the fair maiden, and the quirky sidekick(s). These characters

spout out cheesy lines, demonstrating how good or how bad they are, but they

language always remains basically clean. In the Spaghetti Westerns, the language

is a lot more diverse(lots of cussing). This is because each of these genres

play to a different audience. The ?Macaroni Westerns? are family films. They

present right, wrong, and have many morals played out, such as, ?no matter how

many bad people are trying to kill you, you can take them all on if you wear a

badge and talk like John Wayne.? The ?Macaroni Westerns? were typically

family movies, because it was typical Hollywood(serving to the masses, whatever

sells big). Violence, profanity, and not having blatantly evil and good

characters, wasn?t selling at the time, so we got ?Macaroni.? The

?Spaghetti Westerns,? on the other hand, were not trying to please

everybody.(just the Italian roughnecks) Sure, these westerns took a lot from the

traditional westerns, but they break away from the traditional ?Macaroni

Westerns? in many ways.(which we shall soon see) The ?Spaghetti Westerns?

play to a more liberal audience. They had a lot more creative liberty. Let?s

take a look at the aforementioned films in terms of plot, framing, editing,

sound and cinematography. The plot in Rio Bravo is your typical American

western. It is a ?conflict between civilized order and the lawless

frontier.?(Bordwell/Thompson p.56) We have our heros and bad guys laid out

before us in black and white. ?Colorado? is the typical hero who tries to

stay out of the conflict and then eventually sides with civilized order.

?Dude? is another hero who fallows the same path. Our bad guys are made

obvious from the early moments of the film by means of a murder. There isn?t

much to wonder about. In The Good the Bad and the Ugly, everything isn?t laid

out for us from the beginning. Our ?good guy? isn?t revealed till quite a

ways into the film. In this film, we get a pretty good idea who the worst guy

is, but we are left to constantly wonder where one of the main characters

stands, or if he will eventually become ?good.? We are forced to study each

character more as they develop, to know who they are. In Rio Bravo, you don?t

give it a second thought. Rio Bravo introduces the plot motivation at the very

beginning. The bad guy is in jail, and the heros have to keep him there till the

marshal arrives. In The Good the Bad and the Ugly, the motivation is revealed as

the 200,000 dollars, but most of the characters don?t know about it for half

the film. This film seems to stretch things out like that. Now let?s take a

look at the framing. In Rio Bravo, the framing seems to be very simple. The main

character is always in the center of the frame unless another character is

coming into the frame. In The Good the Bad and the Ugly, there is much more use

of set framing. Many scenes and sequences are framed through window, alleys and

doorways. This type of framing seems to pull you into the film much more. It

creates framing in the same way that we frame things in the real world. Also, in

The Good the Bad and the Ugly, there are many more close ups than Rio Bravo, as

well as many extreme close ups that let you catch small eye and facial

movements. Next let?s discuss editing. The Good the Bad and the Ugly have, in

general, much longer shots than Rio Bravo does. These extremely long shots are

put together into extremely long scenes; again, much longer than Rio Bravo. Both

of these films use great amounts of continuity editing. That?s about as far as

Rio Bravo goes. The Good the Bad and the Ugly, goes much further with it?s use

of graphic editing. One sees graphic matches again and again in this film. One

great use of graphic matching occurs when a character points his gun towards the

camera, so that we stare down the barrel, then the film cuts to a cannon?s

barrel facing us and firing directly at us. Another great example would be the

match between the horses legs on the street and the thugs legs as they walk down

the hall toward one of our main characters. When we hear the horses legs stop,

we see the thugs legs stop. This helps the audience make the connection that the

thugs only move when there is noise to cover the sound of their steps. Another

piece of editing that we should take a look at are the fades. Fade in?s and

Fad out?s are very typical in westerns, and we see them in both of these

western genres, although there are significantly less fades in The Good the Bad

and The Ugly, than in Rio Bravo. Sound, and more specifically, music, is very

important for the overall feel of the film. In Rio Bravo, we have traditional

country cheese music, including the ol? sing-a-long cliche?. This is perfect

for the cheese that we see and hear from the characters. The music in The Good

the Bad and the Ugly is much different. It is much more dramatic and

orchestrated. It seems like more timeless music. An exception would be the theme

music that appears when something ?cool? is about to or currently happening.

These eerie whistle-like sounds cut through everything and let us know when

something important is happening. Let?s now move to lighting. This is an area

where we see more major differences between the two films. Rio Bravo uses the

traditional three light system of character lighting. There is the key light,

the fill light and the back light. This creates full and soft features for the

characters. The Good the Bad and The Ugly is a far throw from this style. In

most of the scenes there is only one major light source.(key light) There is

usually a strong key light, no back light, and very little, if any, fill light.

This makes for dark shadows and sharp features. This creates very dramatic

lighting for the scenes. Everything seems more intense and powerful. Let?s not

forget Cinematography. How about some generalizations. Many of the shots from

The Good the Bad and the Ugly have a very deep depth of focus compared to a much

more shallow depth of focus in Rio Bravo. There are also much deeper zooms in

The Good the Bad and the Ugly than in Rio Bravo. There are also many cliches

that we need to discuss. First of all, let?s talk about the names and

nick-names. In Rio Bravo, all of the heros have ?clever? little names. We

have Chance, Colorado, Dude, and Stumpy. We see these type of names show up in

The Good the Bad and the Ugly. In this film we have, Blondie, Angel Eyes, and

Shorty(not present very long). Another cliche is the ?bad guy gets shot and

falls from high above the ground to his death.? In both films we see this play

true as bad guys fall from rafters and buildings.


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