Wednesday, July 2, 2014

A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS AT 50: The Impact of the Spaghetti Western

A Presentation by Bill Shaffer
In 1964, a low-budget Italian western movie slipped into production on the coat-tails of another Italian film (which is now long forgotten). At the time, it was expected to do a little business on the theatrical circuit in Italy and disappear. Even its star, the young and little-known Clint Eastwood had mixed feelings about it, but this little western became a surprise hit in its native Italy and achieved greater success across Europe a year later. It eventually hit the United States just over two years after that.
Bill Shaffer, spaghetti western scholar and TV Producer will examine the production and aftermath of A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS on the fiftieth anniversary of its first release in Italy. Shaffer earned his Master’s Degree from the University of Kansas in 1978 with an enormous thesis on the films of director Sergio Leone (the director of this film and its two sequels). He will examine the impact of these films on the Western genre (then and now), how significant for this film became and if this film should be considered a ‘game changer’ in Italian and World Cinema.
This program will also compare A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS to its Japanese samurai film counterpart Yojimbo made only three years before. The presentation will take place at the Kansas City Public Library – Plaza Branch on Thursday evening July 17th at 6:30 p.m.

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