Spaghetti Westerns

Which is the cheesiest? The answer is pretty obvious, but letís take a close
look. "Spaghetti Westerns," as their called, are a genre of western films,
that have been created or filmed in Italy and are meant to portray the "Wild

West" of America. "Macaroni Westerns," as Iíll call them, make up the
traditional western genre, made in the United States. Letís take a look at the
similarities and differences of these genres, and at two films in particular
that represent each genre; The Good the Bad and the Ugly(1966) and Rio

Bravo(1959), which most critics will agree, are great examples of each genre.

Letís start with the most obvious aspect that differs in the two genres.

"Macaroni Westerns" are the cheesiest. These films have are pure cheese. I
can barely sit through one of them. They have the typical characters; the hero(s),
the bad guy(s), the fair maiden, and the quirky sidekick(s). These characters
spout out cheesy lines, demonstrating how good or how bad they are, but they
language always remains basically clean. In the Spaghetti Westerns, the language
is a lot more diverse(lots of cussing). This is because each of these genres
play to a different audience. The "Macaroni Westerns" are family films. They
present right, wrong, and have many morals played out, such as, "no matter how
many bad people are trying to kill you, you can take them all on if you wear a
badge and talk like John Wayne." The "Macaroni Westerns" were typically
family movies, because it was typical Hollywood(serving to the masses, whatever
sells big). Violence, profanity, and not having blatantly evil and good
characters, wasnít selling at the time, so we got "Macaroni." The

"Spaghetti Westerns," on the other hand, were not trying to please
everybody.(just the Italian roughnecks) Sure, these westerns took a lot from the
traditional westerns, but they break away from the traditional "Macaroni

Westerns" in many ways.(which we shall soon see) The "Spaghetti Westerns"
play to a more liberal audience. They had a lot more creative liberty. Letís
take a look at the aforementioned films in terms of plot, framing, editing,
sound and cinematography. The plot in Rio Bravo is your typical American
western. It is a "conflict between civilized order and the lawless
frontier."(Bordwell/Thompson p.56) We have our heros and bad guys laid out
before us in black and white. "Colorado" is the typical hero who tries to
stay out of the conflict and then eventually sides with civilized order.

"Dude" is another hero who fallows the same path. Our bad guys are made
obvious from the early moments of the film by means of a murder. There isnít
much to wonder about. In The Good the Bad and the Ugly, everything isnít laid
out for us from the beginning. Our "good guy" isnít revealed till quite a
ways into the film. In this film, we get a pretty good idea who the worst guy
is, but we are left to constantly wonder where one of the main characters
stands, or if he will eventually become "good." We are forced to study each
character more as they develop, to know who they are. In Rio Bravo, you donít
give it a second thought. Rio Bravo introduces the plot motivation at the very
beginning. The bad guy is in jail, and the heros have to keep him there till the
marshal arrives. In The Good the Bad and the Ugly, the motivation is revealed as
the 200,000 dollars, but most of the characters donít know about it for half
the film. This film seems to stretch things out like that. Now letís take a
look at the framing. In Rio Bravo, the framing seems to be very simple. The main
character is always in the center of the frame unless another character is
coming into the frame. In The Good the Bad and the Ugly, there is much more use
of set framing. Many scenes and sequences are framed through window, alleys and
doorways. This type of framing seems to pull you into the film much more. It
creates framing in the same way that we frame things in the real world. Also, in

The Good the Bad and the Ugly, there are many more close ups than Rio Bravo, as
well as many extreme close ups that let you catch small eye and facial
movements. Next letís discuss editing. The Good the Bad and the Ugly have, in
general, much longer shots than Rio Bravo does. These extremely long shots are
put together into extremely long scenes; again, much longer than Rio Bravo.