ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST . . . (Sergio Leone, 1968)

A major genre in the 1960s, the “spaghetti western” saluted Sergio Leone as its master. Few dispute that his C’era una volta il West, to whose original story Bernardo Bertolucci and Dario Argento contributed, is the genre’s highest attainment. It may be saddled with a sack of melodrama, but it claims a host of gorgeous […]

MISTER ROBERTS (John Ford, Mervyn LeRoy, 1955)

Douglas A. Roberts, whose initials suggest an elitist organization (Daughters of the American Revolution), “has background,” as we used to say; he is one of those “college boys” that his captain, Morton, whose background is rough and working-class, disdains. (They treated him with contempt when he was a busboy.) During the waning days of the […]

FORT APACHE (John Ford, 1948)

The first and most brilliant part of John Ford’s Cavalry Trilogy is Fort Apache; the only Ford film to star both Henry Fonda and John Wayne, it pits two characters against each other who epitomize different aspects of the military impetus: purity and practicality; careerism and leadership; military orders and military order. Although this powerful […]

THE LADY EVE (Preston Sturges, 1941)

The sexiest romantic comedy ever, and also the funniest, The Lady Eve, brilliantly written and directed by Preston Sturges from a story by Monckton Hoffe, revolves around boy and girl. Charles (“Hopsy”) prefers snakes to women and is heir to the Pike’s Ale fortune, while self-assured con-artist Jean is out to fleece him. But the […]