Ennio Morricone is il maestro of the movies. As bravura as he was prolific (more than 400 scores for film and TV over six decades), the late Italian composer’s work enlivened film music with insidious earworms, innovative instrumentation (think whip cracks and whistling) and an unerring gift to speak directly to the emotions. This Picturehouse Re-Discover season showcases some of his masterpieces and unsung gems, celebrating perhaps the most original, distinctive voice in film music.
The ultimate western, which draws from all the archetypes of the genre and distils them down to their mythic core. To get his hands on prime land in Sweetwater, crippled railroad baron Morton (Gabriele Ferzetti) hires some killers led by blue-eyed sadist Frank (Fonda), who wipe out property owner Brett McBain (Frank Wolff) and his family. McBain’s newly arrived bride, Jill (Cardinale), however, inherits the land instead. Both outlaw Cheyenne (Robards) and mysterious ‘Harmonica’ (Bronson) take it upon themselves to look after Jill and thwart Frank’s plans to seize her land. As alliances and betrayals mutate, it soon becomes clear that Harmonica wants to get Frank for another reason – “something to do with death”.