Published by Pedro Pereira
Article kindly provided by fellow António Furtado da Rosa, a great western-spaghetti enthusiast and also an occasional blogger via http://westerneuropeu.blogspot.com/
It is no secret that Sergio Leone was an avid consumer of American Western in his boyhood, especially John Ford who honored in the film "Happened in the West" filming in Monument Valley. But Western Spaghetti freed itself from the influence of the American Western, which presented a romantic and epic west in which heroes were pure defenders of justice and damsels in distress, especially until the late 1940s, with a few exceptions.
But the American western itself also changed and the hero of the genre began to become more complex and, at times, anti-hero, and the western became an adult with directors such as Anthony Mann, Delmer Daves or Raoul Walsh, whose heroes went from being pure defenders of justice to becoming complex heroes with dark pasts and sometimes noble intentions. Of course, they almost always found redemption, but these complex heroes were undoubtedly precursors to the Western Spaghetti anti-hero.
Characters like Ethan Edwards (John Wayne) in John Ford's "The Missing", Howard Kemp (James Stewart) in Anthony Mann's "Spurs of Steel or Glyn McLyntock (James Stewart) in Anthony Mann's "Hero's Journey" are just a few examples of this new, more adult hero from the American Western.
In addition to the films mentioned above, here are, in my opinion, some American westerns that influenced Western Spaghetti:
"Vera Cruz" (1954 / Robert Aldrich)
Heroes are mercenaries whose sole purpose is to earn money and nothing else and where cynicism and violence abound. The antagonism between the southern hero and still with values, Gary Cooper, and the unscrupulous anti-hero, Burt Lancaster, is curious.
“The Magnificent 7” (1960 / John Sturges)
This film has a wide influence on western Spaghetti from violence to the argument that influenced some European westerns such as "Today We Kill, Tomorrow We Die" with Montgomery Ford, "The Five Man Army" with Peter Graves and Bud Spencer or "A Reason to Live, a Reason to Die" with James Coburn and Bud Spencer. Coincidentally, two sequels, "The Return of the Magnificent Seven" and "Guns of the Magnificent 7" were filmed in Spain.
“The Man of the West” (1958 / Anthony Mann)
Especially violence and a hero with a dark past who has already achieved redemption and who has to go back to the past to win the future. The duel in the abandoned city is a treat and often seen in western spaghetti.
“Pursued” (1947 / Raoul Walsh)
Considered by many to be the first “adult” western, in my opinion it is 'Stagecoach"by John Ford, and also the first western noir, it became known among lovers of western spaghetti for having a mystery similar to that of "The Brute and the Beast" by Lucio Fulci with Franco Nero and George Hilton, and by close up of the faces donates actors to show emotional intensity as in Leone's films and Robert Hossein's "Cemetery Without Crosses.
There are other films and other American directors with influence on Western Spaghetti, perhaps only in one scene, but few like the ones mentioned in this short text, but I believe that no film will have influenced Leone, Corbucci, Sollima or Baldi more, such as 'Vera Cruz" and "The Magnficent 7". Everything is there, the scenario, the dubious characters, the action, the cynicism and the violence.