Any Gun Can Play The Essential Guide to Euro-Westerns

Any Gun Can Play The Essential Guide to Euro-Westerns

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781903254615
Publisher: FAB Press
Publication date: 05/10/2011
Pages: 480
Sales rank: 849,503
Product dimensions: 7.60(w) x 9.90(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Kevin Grant is a freelance journalist and film writer with a particular passion for exploitation movies. A fan of Westerns since childhood, he was led astray at an early age by the subversive vision of Sergio Leone and his European contemporaries. He has contributed to a range of publications including Flesh & Blood, Delirium, Blood, Money and Vengeance, Hotdog and European Trash Cinema. This is his first book.

As the alter ego of Django and Keoma, Franco Nero's iconic status among Euro-western aficionados is second to none. He gave vigorous performances in more than a dozen westerns, and he remains an impassioned ambassador for the genre. One of relatively few Italian actors to make an impact on a global scale, he has appeared in more than 120 films since his breakthrough in the mid-Sixties, alternating starring roles in popular movies with character turns in more prestigious productions. A frequent collaborator of Sergio Corbucci and Enzo Castellari, he has also worked with Luis Bunuel.

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PREFACE

European Westerns captured my imagination from the moment I first saw the animated credits of A Fistful of Dollars cantering across the television screen when I was eight years old, and they have never relinquished their grip. This book is distilled from many years spent seeking and viewing as many of Fistful’s stablemates as possible, as well as countless hours of research and interviews. From the outset there seemed a number of possible avenues of approach. Euro-Westerns can easily be appreciated — or dismissed — as nothing more than rugged adventures or escapist exploitation flicks. Like other popular forms, however, they also reward closer examination. They can be treated as violent, liberating fantasies or Mediterranean amorality tales; a mishmash of ancient myths and contemporary mores; as vehicles for cult actors or diversions for writers and directors of subsequent renown. They can be considered as pastiches of American Westerns, or in relation to their own domestic film traditions. They can be regarded as part of the Sixties vogue for deconstruction and stylisation, viewed as socio-political commentaries or simply, en masse, as the correlative to some great music. All these interpretations are valid — and these are just the most common ones — but only in combination can they convey a sense of the genre's development from something imitative to something inspiring in its own right.

This evolution is the subject of this survey. The focus is not on Sergio Leone's accomplishments, which have been extensively studied elsewhere, although as the prime mover behind most of the Euro-Western's finest qualities, he remains a source of reference throughout. To fully appreciate the genre's diversity and strength in depth, one must follow a parallel path, meeting the many other filmmakers who were drawn into its orbit and either adapted Leone's themes and ideas, expanded on them or steered this exciting new vehicle into previously uncharted terrain. While mapping this journey I inevitably acquired a great deal of baggage, much of which was jettisoned along the way. The purpose is to paint what is, from my point of view, as complete a picture of the Euro-Western's core characteristics as practicable. I hope this will prompt a reconsideration of established works as well as stimulate interest in the neglected majority, to dispel the lingering notion that the genre has little to offer beyond the Leone films and a fistful of others.

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