In the weeks before Father's Day, I start issuing denials and movie studios start issuing anything they think appeals to Dudes. Action, war, Westerns, pretty much anything with explosions. Here's the one that'll get you out of the doghouse for transgressions ranging from a ding on his car door to pregnancy: "The Sergio Leone Anthology" (Warner, $89.98, or $26.98 individually).
Two-disc, restored, loaded special editions of "A Fistful of Dollars" (1964), "For a Few Dollars More" (1965) and "Duck You Sucker" (1971), along with the double-disc extended edition of the epic "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly" (1967). That's a lot of nice Father's Day killin'. I mean love.
Notable on "Fistful" is the lost prologue that director Monte Hellman shot for the 1977 TV showing (including an interview with the guy who had it on an old Betamax tape). Network ninnies wanted to morally justify anti-hero Clint Eastwood's violence, so they tacked on a scene with Harry Dean Stanton offering a faceless Eastwood double a prison pardon if he'd clean out a nasty little town for the government.
No need to spill more ink on such well-known spaghetti. Brand new to DVD, it's the first time "Duck You Sucker's" whopping 157-minute Italian cut has been released in English. Set amid the Mexican revolution, it stars James Coburn (who would emanate cool reading a "Cathy" comic strip) as a former Irish revolutionary with a thing for dynamite, and Rod Steiger as a Mexican bandit (earning a Pacino "Scarface" overacting award) who inadvertently becomes a hero.
The movie's slow, melancholy and not in the same class as Leone's others. But it's still got plenty for fans of Leone, says Seattle's Robert Cumbow, whose "Once Upon a Time: The Films of Sergio Leone" (Scarecrow Press) is due in a new paperback edition next year. "It's got beautiful compositions and some of his best and funniest and darkest cinematic jokes. But in general it doesn't have the wit and style and panache of the 'Dollars' films and 'Once Upon a Time in the West.' Also, it's got a couple of the most beautiful themes Ennio Morricone ever wrote."
It's also got a bad guy who literally sucks eggs, and some explosions that would make Jerry Bruckheimer feel impotent.
(c) 2007, The Seattle Times.
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