Fully intending to make his final statement as a director on the Western genre with ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST, Sergio Leone began work with screenwriters Luciano Vincenzoni and Sergio Donati on a new Western which Leone would produce. Hoping to attract a young, up-and-coming director to the project, Leone hired Peter Bogdanovich, having been impressed by Bogdanovich's debut, TARGETS. After a month of disastrous creative meetings in Rome, Bogdanovich left the fil...m; Leone then unsuccessfully attempted to lure in directors Sam Peckinpah and Monte Hellman.
The casting of DUCK, YOU SUCKER proved nearly as difficult. Originally intended to star Eli Wallach and/or Jason Robards, United Artists balked at having Wallach as the star of a big budget epic and offered Rod Steiger as an acceptable replacement for the Tuco-esque character of Juan. Robards didn't accept the role as John, which was then offered to a pre-CLOCKWORK ORANGE Malcolm McDowell, George Lazenby, and even Clint Eastwood. Ultimately, Leone cast James Coburn, who he'd wanted to work with as far back as A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS.
Thanks to the casting of two big Hollywood stars in the lead roles, Leone was forced by his actors to personally direct the film and then threw himself into the project with his usual zeal. Always looking to top himself, Leone filmed the largest scale Western ever produced in Europe, complete with epic battle scenes set during the Mexican Revolution in 1913.
As you would expect with a Sergio Leone picture, Ennio Morricone delivers one of the boldest and greatest scores of his career.
After underperforming at the US box office partly due to the film's odd title, DUCK, YOU SUCKER was retitled A FISTFUL OF DYNAMITE by UA in the hope that audiences would gravitate towards another fun shoot-'em-up instead of the much heavier film they actually got. Thematically belonging much more to the ONCE UPON A TIME... films more than the DOLLARS trilogy, the movie was more appropriately titled by the French:
ONCE UPON A TIME...THE REVOLUTION.
Here's the original theatrical trailer:
The show starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are only $5.
As always we thank you for your support and for your courteous behavior during our screenings. We appreciate that everyone shows their respect to their fellow cinephile while attending our little church of celluloid. Hope to see you soon!
Cinema Overdrive is a monthly film series dedicated to bringing you the very best in cult, exploitation and gonzo action cinema. Specializing in the audacious, the ludicrous and the flat out ridiculous, each Cinema Overdrive screening will bring you some of the rarest and most entertaining features and trailers you’ll ever see!
2nd Wednesday of every month at Mission Valley Cinema!... $5.00 admission!
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News & Observer article about Cinema Overdrive, February 24th, 2016
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