director David Gregory
The Spaghetti West is a 2005 documentary about “Italian Westerns” co-produced by IFC and Netflix. And I think it’s been sitting in my Netflix queue since 2005.
Featuring interviews with stars like Franco Nero and Clint Eastwood, directors such as Ferdinando Baldi, Enzo Castellari, and Sergio Sollima and featuring historians including director Alex Cox, it’s a pretty reasonable primer on the rise and fall of one of Italy’s great cinematic exports, no matter how high or low you place your brow.
The rise in Westerns is attributed to a glut of pop culture that invaded Italy in the wake of WWII and the slowing down of the Western in American cinema in the 1960’s. It tackles the reinvention and flair, sometimes political, sometimes more far out, and the genre’s own eventual impact back on world cinema. It’s not surprising that it was Sergio Leone and the Dollars Trilogy that essentially lit the fuse and ignited the boom.
Overall, though, it’s hard to know how comprehensive the film is. The numbers of Westerns produced in Italy between 1960 and 1980 was indeed immense. But I don’t know that I uncovered any new films to watch from this, which I would have been hoping to do.
I will however, queue up some of those Spaghetti Westerns I’ve been meaning to see.