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the skunks of los feliz
Fans of extreme close-ups, early Clint Eastwood, and, of course, "The Whistle", take note: The Autry National Center is presenting a tribute to the great Spaghetti Western auteur, Sergio Leone.

"Once Upon a Time in Italy: The Westerns of Sergio Leone" will run from from July 30 to January 22, 2006, and will feature screenings of some of the master's greatest works, including a series of outdoor screenings that will be free to the public.

In conjunction with the screenings, the Center has also put together a nice little online exhibit, featuring posters, publicity shots, and other images from the museum's collection (though not all images are necessarily directly related to Leone's films).

Most interesting of all (and not a little bizarre), is the members only preview, which, according the Center's website, will feature:

"...live classical music–including the unforgettable soundtracks composed by Ennio Morricone, colossal 8-foot puppets reenacting scenes from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, exciting demonstrations of Western-themed movie stunts, Italian wines and beers, espresso stations, a bruschetta bar, and an Oscar-style entrance! "

Which begs the question: do we really need to see a 8-foot puppet of Lee Van Cleef? And what the hell do puppets have to do with Spaghetti Westerns, much less Sergio Leone?

But I quibble.

I mean, check out the outdoor screening schedule alone:

Saturday, August 27 A Fistful of Dollars (1964)
Saturday, September 3 For A Few Dollars More (1965)
Saturday, September 10 The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)
Saturday, September 17 Once Upon A Time in the West (1968)

And, for Leone completists, the Center has even joined with AFI to throw in a rare screening of Once Upon a Time in America.

Very nice, indeed.
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