Written by: Michael Den Boer on June 7th, 2004
“Leone asked me to compose a film’s music before the start of principal photography – contrary to normal practice. He would then play the music to the actors during takes to enhance their performance.” – Ennio Morricone
Sergio leone was born in 1929 in Rome, son of silent film director Vincenzo Leone. Leone entered films in his late teens working as an assistant director to both Italian directors and Americans working in Italy. By the late1950’s Leone began directing after taking over Ultimi giorni di Pompei who fell in during shooting. Leone’s career would take off after watching Kurosawa’s Yojimbo and he would reshape the material into what would become A Fistful of Dollars. Even though there had been other Spaghetti Westerns before A Fistful of Dollars it was far and away the most successful of them all and would start a worldwide phenomenon.
Although they did not work together until 1964, as children Leone and composer Ennio Morricone were classmates. They would forge a working relationship that lasted until Leone’s death. Clint Eastwood a then unknown TV actor would star in A Fistful of Dollars and it’s to sequels For a Few Dollars More and The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. Each film in the man with no name trilogy would get a larger budget then the last film as each film became more successful then the last. After working on three films together Eastwood was unviable for Leone’s masterpiece Once Upon a Time in The West.
Leone finally worked with Fonda and Bronson both who he originally wanted for A Fistful of Dollars. Paramount Pictures would mutilate Once Upon a Time in The West and it would flop at the US box office. In 1971 Leone would direct a different kind of western A Fistful of Dynamite (Once Upon a Time Revolution), reluctantly, and turned down offers to direct Godfather in hope to get his dream project which became Once Upon a Time in America (1984). His final project was a Soviet co-production on the World War II Siege of Leningrad. Leone died while preparing the film.
Once Upon a Time in America (1984)
A Genius, Two Partners and a Dupe (1975)
My Name Is Nobody (1974)
A Fistful of Dynamite (1971)
Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)
For a Few Dollars More (1965)
A Fistful of Dollars (1964)
Avanti la musica (1962)
Sodom and Gomorrah (1962)
The Colossus of Rhodes (1961
The Last Days of Pompeii (1960)