February 20 – 25, 2011, at the Aero Theatre
Italian director Sergio Leone began his career with the sword-and-sandals opus COLOSSUS OF RHODES in 1961. In 1964, inspired by Akira Kurosawa’s YOJIMBO, Leone helmed A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS, which starred then virtually unknown Clint Eastwood. The picture proved a mega-hit in Europe and did well enough in the U.S. to encourage United Artists to release its sequel, FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE, and the majestic conclusion of the trilogy, THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY. Next up were Leone’s operatic masterworks ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST and the tragicomic DUCK YOU SUCKER (aka A FIST FULL OF DYNAMITE). It wasn’t until 1984 that his next effort was released, a magnum opus about Prohibition-era Jewish gangsters in New York, ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA, starring Robert De Niro. Sadly, it turned out to be the maestro’s swan song. Sergio Leone died in 1989, having influenced a generation of filmmakers and audiences.