Tuesday 28 July 2020

John Saxon, Enter the Dragon, Joe Kidd actor, dies at 83

We were all very sad to learn of this news at the weekend.
John Saxon, the rugged actor who kicked around with Bruce Lee in Enter the Dragon and appeared in three Nightmare on Elm Street movies for director Wes Craven, died Saturday. He was 83.
Saxon died of pneumonia in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, his wife, Gloria, told The Hollywood Reporter.
An Italian-American from Brooklyn, Saxon played characters of various ethnicities during his long career. His portrayal of a brutal Mexican bandit opposite Marlon Brando in The Appaloosa (1966) earned him a Golden Globe, and he had a recurring role on ABC's Dynasty as Rashid Ahmed, a powerful Middle East tycoon who romanced Alexis Colby (Joan Collins). And on another 1980s primetime soap, CBS' Falcon Crest, he played the father of Lorenzo Lamas' character.

Years earlier, Saxon starred from 1969-72 as the surgeon Theodore Stuart on "The New Doctors" rotating segment of the NBC drama series The Bold Ones.
Discovered by the same agent who launched the careers of Rock Hudson and Tab Hunter, Saxon first gained notice for his performance as a disturbed high school football star who taunts Esther Williams in The Unguarded Moment (1956). In the film's credits, he's billed as "the exciting new personality John Saxon."

He played a police chief who makes a fatal mistake in the Canadian cult classic Black Christmas (1974), featuring Margot Kidder and Keir Dullea, and his horror résumé also includes two films for Roger Corman: Queen of Blood (1966) and Battle Beyond the Stars (1980), playing a tyrannical warlord.
In Warner Bros.' Enter the Dragon (1973), Lee's first mainstream American movie and last before his death at age 32, Saxon portrayed Roper, a degenerate gambler who participates in a martial arts tournament. In real life, his fighting skills did not approach those possessed by Lee and another co-star, karate champion Jim Kelly.
Saxon, though, said that Lee "took me seriously. I would tell him I would rather do it this way, and he'd say, 'OK, try it that way,' " he told the Los Angeles Times in 2012.
Saxon played the cop Donald Thompson in the first and third films in the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise, where he's eventually killed by Freddy Krueger's skeleton. He then returned to play a version of himself in New Nightmare (1994).

He was born Carmine Orrico on Aug. 5, 1936, the eldest of three children of an Italian immigrant house painter. While in high school, he worked as a spieler at a Coney Island archery concession, becoming proficient with the bow and arrow. "Brooklyn was a tough place to grow up in, but it taught you survival, and if you were ambitious, it taught you to want better things," he once said.
Walking out of a movie theater after skipping class at New Utrecht High School, he was spotted by a male modeling agent and then appeared in magazines like True Romances.One photo shoot, which he said pictured him as a "Puerto Rican guy" leaning against a garbage can after he had been shot, caught the attention of Henry Willson, the legendary Hollywood agent who had discovered Hudson and Hunter.

Then just 17, Saxon signed with Willson, studied dramatics for six months with Betty Cashman at Carnegie Hall and flew to Hollywood, where he was quickly signed by Universal. He attended the studio's workshop for 18 months and then worked with Mamie Van Doren in Running Wild (1955).
After Unguarded Moment, Saxon appeared as young rock 'n' roll musicians in Rock, Pretty Baby (1956) and Summer Love (1958) and played opposite Sandra Dee in The Reluctant Debutante (1958), directed by Vincente Minnelli, and Debbie Reynolds in Blake Edwards' This Happy Feeling (1958).
In Cry Tough (1959), Saxon starred as a tough Puerto Rican kid from New York, and in War Hunt (1962), he was top-billed as a psychotic solider. (Robert Redford and Sydney Pollack also were in the cast, and the three would reunite in 1979 for The Electric Horseman.)

Never shy about showing off his machismo, Saxon also co-starred with Clint Eastwood in Joe Kidd (1972) and played a dirty union lawyer in Andrew McLaglen's Mitchell (1975).
His film résumé also included Mario Bava's Evil Eye (1963), Otto Preminger's The Cardinal (1963), Blood Beast From Outer Space (1965), The Swiss Conspiracy (1976), Wrong Is Right (1982), Richard Brooks' Fever Pitch (1985), Beverly Hills Cop III (1994) and God's Ears (2008).
He was married three times, to screenwriter Mary Ann Murphy, airline attendant turned actress Elizabeth Saxon and, since 2008, cosmetician Gloria Martel. Survivors also include his son, Antonio, and his sister, Dolores.
RIP sir

Friday 24 July 2020

Kelly’s Heroes: Celebrating its 50th Anniversary – The 2012 Cinema Retro Special

The Kelly's Heroes Special was published by Cinema Retro Magazine in June 2012. Following on from their 'Movie Classics Special Edition' that paid tribute to director Brian G. Hutton's Where Eagles Dare), the team came together again for his other big picture collaboration with Clint Eastwood - Kelly's Heroes.
As before, it was another 80-page blockbuster filled with amazing stories and ultra -rare photographs, many of which had never been seen before. Cinema retro had the full cooperation of the director Brian G. Hutton, who shared and spoke candidly about the trials and tribulations of making this WWII action-comedy on location in Yugoslavia. It also turned out to be the last interview that Hutton gave before his death in August 2014. 

Some of the collated stories have to be read to be believed! Additionally, Cinema Retro secured exclusive interviews with John Landis, actor Stuart Margolin (Little Joe), and Eastwood's regular key grip, Dennis Fraser. The issue was packed with sidebar information on the filming, the locations, the music, the actors, the world-wide poster campaigns and an incredible wealth of collectables. 

The team also unearthed rare vintage interviews with Clint Eastwood, Telly Savalas, Don Rickles and Donald Sutherland, all of which were recorded on location back in 1969 and never published before. All of this, plus many photographs taken on the set by cast and crew.

Director, John Landis played an integral part of the publication. Landis who began his career working as an assistant to director Brian G. Hutton on the movie, provided a collection of ultra-rare photos from his personal archive as well as original call sheets from the movie. 

Landis was incredibly impressed with the finished product, claiming that ‘it looks fantastic and extremely thorough. I really have never seen anything like it’

Landis was spot on with his praise and the publication turned out to be incredibly successful and sold out in rapid time. Today, the magazine has become highly collectable and often demands high prices on the auction circuit It was a long overdue project that certainly proved to be in demand, not just by Eastwood fans, but with film fans in general – a reflection that the film was still as popular today as it was 50 years ago.

Cinema Retro’s publications can be found HERE  

Thursday 23 July 2020

Kelly’s Heroes: Celebrating its 50th Anniversary -The Tao of Oddball: Donald Sutherland on his iconic ‘Kelly’s Heroes’ role

Earlier this week I discovered this great interview by Howard Altman on the website, Military Times. 

Fifty years ago this month one of the most beloved characters in the history of war movies hit the screen, waxing philosophical about the power of positive persuasion. “Always with the negative waves, Moriarity,” tank commander Sgt. Oddball would tell his beleaguered mechanic, Pfc. Moriarity. “Always with the negative waves.” 

Oddball (no first or last name given) helped make “Kelly’s Heroes,” which premiered July 23, 1970, a continuing hit among troops and veterans, especially those who served in tanks. Played by Donald Sutherland, the character quickly stood out as a favourite among an amazing cast featuring the likes of Clint Eastwood, Telly Savalas, Don Rickles, Carroll O’Connor and Gavin MacLeod, who played Moriarity, Oddball’s constant, dour foil.

In a movie about a group of soldiers in WWII plotting to sneak behind German lines and steal $16 million in gold bars from a bank Oddball was the anachronistic long-haired, bearded hippy, whose introduction comes as he is interrupted from a dalliance atop some supply tent crates.
Eastwood plays the eponymous Kelly, a former lieutenant busted down to private for giving the orders to attack the wrong hill, getting many of his men killed in the process. Kelly hatches a plot to steal the gold after learning from a captured Nazi officer about a cache of bars in a bank behind enemy lines. The iconic Oddball is given his first line 31 minutes into the movie, when he overhears Kelly and Staff Sgt. Crapgame, the conniving quartermaster played by Rickles, discussing how much the heist would net.
“You could probably use some armour,” says an as-of-yet unseen Oddball, who seconds later comes into view from where he has been enjoying an afternoon romantic encounter with a woman of unknown origin. “Who the hell’s that?” Kelly demands. “His name’s Oddball,” says Crapgame, rolling his eyes.
Busy year
For Sutherland, 1970 was a historic war movie double header. His role in “Kelly’s Heroes” came fresh off a star turn in “M*A*S*H,” in which he played Army surgeon Hawkeye Pierce in a movie set in the Korean War — but clearly a jab at the then-raging conflict in Vietnam.

That role cemented Sutherland’s next one, he said in an email interview with Military Times. 
“Troy Kennedy Martin’s script and the person of Brian Hutton,” Sutherland said when asked what attracted him to the Oddball role, referring to film’s writer and director.

“I’d just finished ‘M*A*S*H’ and my beloved producer Ingo Preminger told me my life was going to change when it came out. So I figured maybe I’d not get a chance to play this kind of a fellow again. I was wrong. I have had many such chances. But that’s part of what sent me to MGM and Brian Hutton’s office. The bigger part was that I loved Oddball. I adored him!”
Sutherland, who turned 85 on July 17th, said that while he instantly loved the script, he didn’t realise at the time just how endearing the movie would become.

“My first impression was that it was hysterically funny. Iconoclastic, perfect,” he said. “Nobody died. At least they didn’t die in the original script, but then some idiot producer, (now dead himself), who insisted that there had to be deaths. Brian fought it, didn’t want it, but money shouted so Brian ended up giving him a minefield.”
Sutherland was referring to a scene — about 70 minutes into the film — where three of their band of burglarious brothers — Michael Clark as Pvt. Grace, Fred Pearlman as Pvt. Mitchell and Tom Troupe as Cpl. Job, are killed — one by a mine and two by German small arms fire. “I love Kelly’s,” said Sutherland. “About it being a favourite? You don’t think about how it’s going to be received when you’re doing it. But afterwards, when people speak to me about it, it always pleases me. I liked his dog imitation. Woof Woof.”
The year 1970 was a bonanza for war flicks. In addition to “Kelly’s Heroes” and “M*A*S*H,” movie goers went to see “Patton”, “Tora! Tora! Tora!,” and “Catch-22,″ among many released that year.

The WWII films debuted during a time when protests against the Vietnam War were raging. By 1970 nearly 35,000 U.S. troops had perished in the conflict, including more than 6,000 that year. That May National Guard troops shot four students dead at Kent State in Ohio, further eroding any support for the war and expediting efforts to pull out.

But despite everything going on in the world at the time, and though Sutherland was coming off a decidedly anti-Vietnam War movie, the Canadian-born actor says current events didn’t influence how he played the seemingly permanently baked Oddball.

“No,” he said when asked if reaction to the Vietnam War influenced his portrayal. “None that I can think of, just Troy’s script, Hutton and my imagination. It was about staying alive. Being in Europe. Watching Rickles make money. There’s a song that the British 8th Army in Italy in WW2 sang about Lady Astor that touches my heart. It’s about soldiers. Infantrymen. That’s the pain and suffering and struggle of war. We were about the idiocy of war.”
Donald Sutherland, publicity shot for Kelly's Heroes
Negative Waves, Positive Reaction
Shot during a time when marijuana and acid were widely used and mysticism was gaining pop culture traction, Oddball uttered what would become one of filmdom’s most endearing, and enduring, catchphrases — even though it doesn’t come until nearly 53 minutes into the film.
“Don’t hit me with them negative waves so early in the morning,” Oddball tells Moriarity, after the latter wonders what will happen if a railroad bridge, one needed to get the three M4 Sherman tanks over a river, is no longer there.
Sutherland gave full credit for the “negative waves” words and scenes to screenwriter Troy Kennedy Martin.
“Troy’s line,” he said when asked if it was scripted or ad-libbed. “All of it. Pretty much everything I said was scripted. I thought it was a terrific script. Oddball took over my life. He inhabited me, guided me. I was in love with my Sherman tank.”
From the chiding encounters between Oddball and Moriarity, to the French cafe scene, to “drinking wine and eating cheese,” to the Tiger tank showdown riff on the “Good the Bad and the Ugly,” fan-favourite Oddball moments are many.
But not Sutherland.
“I liked everything,” he said of his character, who wore the tri-colour, triangle patch of the 6th Armor Division on his leather jacket. “Beginning to end. He was exactly who he was and he carried me with him all the way through the six months of shooting.”
“Kelly’s Heroes” had an all-star cast that, in addition to the aforementioned actors, included Stuart Margolin as Little Joe and Harry Dean Stanton as Willard, among many others. It was a fun group, Sutherland said.

“We had little campers out in a field near each location. Clint’s had a sign on it. ‘Clint Eastwood: Private.’ Don Rickles’ was right next to Clint’s and it had a sign on it saying: ‘Don Rickles — mister friendly — everybody welcome.’ That’s what it was like 24/7.”
Sutherland said he is “terrifically pleased” that Oddball is still such a favourite character, especially in the military and veteran communities.
After 50 years, is there any question about Oddball that hasn’t been asked?
“You’re joking, right?” Sutherland quipped.
Will the Tao of Oddball live on with future generations?
Maybe Oddball himself can answer that question.
“Have a little faith, baby. Have a little faith.”

For original article click HERE  

Tuesday 21 July 2020

Kelly’s Heroes: Celebrating its 50th Anniversary - Behind the Scenes on Location footage with Clint and Don Rickles

It‘s incredible to think that Brian G. Hutton’s 2nd World War Two film has now reached its 50th Anniversary – it seems like only yesterday we were celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Where Eagles Dare. I thought it would be nice to post a few bits here this week – as we seem to be in the middle of the film’s U.S. premiere (June 1970) and its U.K. release (September 1970). Other features on Kelly’s Heroes can already be found here on the Archive, so these will be more in a retrospective and reflective style. However, let’s begin with some fascinating newly discovered material.
Here is an incredible piece of film from the set and on location during the filming of Kelly's Heroes. It features a great deal of quick firing fun (and signature roasting style) from the late, great Don Rickles. Lasting almost 12 minutes, it’s a fascinating glimpse into the atmosphere that was created during the filming.
In the second clip (which looks to be from a more restored source), reporter Susan White gives Don a taste of his own medicine. In 1969 Susan White, reporter for WMAR-TV in Baltimore, was invited to go on a MGM movie junket to Yugoslavia. She was one of just 14 broadcasters from throughout the world to be included in this trip. In Belgrade, Yugoslavia, on the movie set of what would become known as Kelly's Heroes (in both clips the film is referred to as The Warriors, its original shooting title). During this time, Susan and the others interviewed Clint Eastwood, Telly Salvalas and Don Rickles. When everyone else tried to interview comedian Don Rickles he didn't let them get in a word or a question and made fun of their inability to do so. So when it was Susan's turn she decided to turn try and turn the tables on the King of the put down. At the end, Rickles looks as if he has nothing but respect. It’s just wonderful. Where are those other interviews with the rest of the cast? These would be incredible to see.
I have to thank 2 very special friends of the Archive, Mal and Jayne Baker for finding this material, and of course the original up-loaders, we’re so grateful for you sharing.

Sunday 19 July 2020

La-La Land release the 50th Anniversary double CD for Ennio Morricone’s Two Mules for Sister Sara

It was just as La-La Land were polishing the final elements of their celebratory, 50th Anniversary release of Two Mules for Sister Sara (LLLCD1526), that news began to filter through regarding the sad passing of Ennio Morricone. So it is only right therefore, that this release now stands as a lasting tribute to both his memory and musical legacy. 
Released as part of the label’s Universal Pictures Film Music Heritage Collection, Two Mules for Sister Sara finally gets the treatment it has so long deserved. The title had always been a frustrating journey for both Eastwood and Morricone fans alike. It made its first appearance on LP (Kapp KRS 5512) in the U.S. in 1970 as it did in the UK (MCA-U.K. MKPS 2013) in a very nice photo sleeve that has since become something of a collectable. Its CD history is slightly more of a shady affair. It made an appearance on CD around 1994 as part of a twofer out of Italy, where it was paired up with Morricone’s Days of Heaven (1978). Appearing on Italy’s Legend label (Legend CD 16), the release and its legitimacy has always remained questionable. The soundtrack (and its lack of any form of CD release) elevated its interest to collectors and often made it a very popular candidate for any number of unofficial releases. There was very little doubt; Two Mules for Sister Sara needed to be addressed in some form of official capacity.

Enter La-La Land with their deluxe release of Morricone’s original motion picture score starring Clint Eastwood and Shirley MacLaine, and directed by Don Siegel, marks the world premiere of the original film version of the late maestro’s score. Orchestra, organ, guitar and beautiful choral elements meld in strikingly original fashion, expertly heightening, enriching and propelling the film’s varied tones, which weave drama, comedy, history and action against a Mexican western backdrop.

Disc One of this presentation showcases the full film score for the very first time, including material that went unused in the picture and an incredible 37 minutes of previously unreleased music – sourced from three-and-six-track Universal Studios vault elements. 
Disc Two serves up the original 1970 Kapp/MCA soundtrack album (as above), newly remastered from the original ¼’’ analogue element provided by Universal Music Group. It’s a smart move by La-La Land, not only seeking out this neglected gem in all of its glory, but in also remastering the original album version, it certainly serves as the ultimate collective and maintains that everything is collated and presented under the one roof. 

The audio quality is of the highest order. Sharp, dynamic and so fresh to the ear – there are some particularly nice lamented, trumpet dirges that almost transcend you back to the heady heights of Morricone’s A Fistful of Dollars score. Hearing them here for the first time in isolation is both wondrous and inspiring. Dramatic strings in tracks such as ‘Trestle’ or subtle touches of beauty in cues like ‘Sara's a Sister’, really elevate this soundtrack up into an entirely new level of class, it’s practically a lost masterpiece rediscovered.
Produced, mixed, edited and mastered by Mike Matessino, this special limited edition of 3000 units features exclusive liner notes written by journalist/author Jon Burlingame and sharp art direction by Dan Goldwasser. 

Director Don Siegel once said, “The music is among the most original and unusual ever written for a film. As far as I was concerned, Morricone was a genius.” How can we argue with that? 
Miss this one at your peril.  Check it out HERE  Our very special thanks to Matt Verboys, La-La Land Records

Friday 10 July 2020

Light into Ink - book by Steve Guariento

Light into Ink: A Critical Survey of 50 Film Novelizations [DeLuxe Edition]: [Colour Interior] by S.M. Guariento. Publisher: Independently published. Softback: 480 pages, ISBN-10: 1687489084 ISBN-13: 978-1687489081, Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 2.8 x 25.4 cm, price £39.99

As most film fans would concur, the humble film ‘tie-in’ paperback, or if you would prefer, novelisation – was pretty much an essential element for movie lovers. Perhaps ‘tie-in’ is a somewhat dated term these days, but it still relates to the same thing - a book whose jacket, packaging, contents, or promotion relates to a feature film or a television show. 

Back in the day, the paperback novelisation had a magnetic effect, usually because it contained the wonderful film artwork or an iconic photo of its star in a scene from the movie. They proved quite irresistible and the newsagent’s rotary stands were often the place to find many treasurers. 

However, it was also a little piece of collecting history that hadn’t really been examined to any great depth – until now. 

S.M. Guariento’s book is an excellent examination of 50 such books. The London born author provides a detailed case study of various genres. In his research, Guariento doesn’t skip or avoid and leaves no stone unturned. He examines the evolution of the softback, particularly from its 1950s explosion were the paperback began being a preference over that of the hardback equivalent. It’s an excellent historical journey and it’s a great education in how it all evolved. However, there is no escaping the overriding appeal of their presentation and the genuine pulling power of their lush and varied cover art. 

Guariento provides some glorious memories with the turn of each page, delving into TV titles such as Target’s Doctor Who, Bantam’s Star Trek and Futura’s Space 1999 – all of which contained heart racing cover imagery.   

The book’s subtitle ‘50 Film Novelisations’ can perhaps be easily misinterpreted and arguably underrates this books mammoth amount of content. 

In terms of subject genres, Guariento hits the sweet spot every single time. In his chapter selections he has chosen very wisely, covering Eastwood, Bond, Planet of the Apes, Horror, Sci-fi, Hammer, Crime, Spy – in fact, everything that is both engaging and appealing to a key audience. Other chapters’ focus more specifically, such as Cult filmmakers (including David Cronenberg and John Carpenter) and the adaptations of their various films. Most importantly, do not be misled into thinking that 50 Film novelisations simply equates to 50 cover illustrations. The book also serves as a spectacular pictorial treasury with hundreds of covers featured - either related within the context of a chapter or shown as different or alternative editions of certain titles. Guariento certainly has this covered. This book is practically a dream.

Guariento has dedicated a whole chapter to Italian Genre Cinema with a very generous sub section handed over to The Man with No Name and Eastwood’s Spaghetti western tie-in novels. It’s arguably the most in-depth study that has ever been afforded to these books. The images are great and plentiful with some that are even new to me – including a stunning 1972 German tie in for A Fistful of Dollars (which has just elevated itself to the top of my ‘most wanted’ list). But you don’t have to be just an Eastwood fan to appreciate this book, it stands high on its own merits – any film fan will treasure it.

Despite the glowing praise I’m happy to bestow upon this book, readers should also take note - and it’s a very important note: Guariento’s book does come in two very different versions. The version submitted for the purposes of this review is in fact the deluxe edition, meaning simply that all images contained within its pages are presented in stunning colour.

However, the book is also available in a Midnight Edition, which is identical in terms of content except that its pages consist of Monochrome (b/w) images. I also know I can speak for a great number of similar minded colleagues and friends who will find this somewhat disappointing. For me, it practically punctured the heart of the book and its overall enjoyment. For people who grew up with these books, seeing them reproduced in black and white simply diminishes the retrospective element of its joy. 

Of course, it does provide a more affordable (£14.99) alternative. Nevertheless, given the books subject matter, the monochrome edition does slightly contradict what the book originally sets out to celebrate. 

There’s very little doubt about it, ‘Light into Ink’ is an exceptionally detailed, well produced and yes, a beautifully illustrated book. But just be aware; make sure you know exactly which edition you are ordering should you choose to indulge further. If it’s entirely possible, make every effort towards the deluxe colour edition, I can promise you – you’ll be very glad you went the extra yard. 

To order from Amazon [Colour version] click HERE
To order from Amazon [Monochrome version] click HERE

Tuesday 7 July 2020

Auction: Rare Posters Featured from David Frangioni’s Collection

Friend of the Archive and author of the poster art book Clint Eastwood Icon, David Frangioni – dropped me a line last night to inform me that he is currently auctioning some of his duplicate posters. 

A great many naturally feature some very nice Eastwood titles from around the world. These include the rare For a Few More Dollars / 633 Squadron Combo British Quad, the Goldfinger / For A Few Dollars More British Quad, the very impressive Where Eagles Dare U.S. Three Sheet and Style C One sheet. Arguably among the most stunning are the The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Italian Foglio Set of 3 which also benefit from being linen backed. With each measuring in at 26" x 36", they are certainly something very special. 

Also among David's collection of lots are some stunning items from Jaws, Rocky, Blade Runner, James Bond, Alien, The Godfather, The Exorcist and many other treasures. 

To check them out for yourself, press  HERE to take you to the Auction run at icollector.com

Monday 6 July 2020

Ennio Morricone, Prolific Italian Composer Dies at 91

Some devastating news this morning:

Ennio Morricone, Prolific Italian Composer for the Movies, Dies at 91 – from The Hollywood Reporter
Renowned for scoring Sergio Leone’s spaghetti Westerns, the Oscar winner also produced the sounds and music for 'Days of Heaven,' 'The Mission,' 'Cinema Paradiso' and 'The Hateful Eight.'

Ennio Morricone, the Oscar winner whose haunting, inventive scores expertly accentuated the simmering, dialogue-free tension of the spaghetti Westerns directed by Sergio Leone, has died. He was 91.

The Italian composer, who scored more than 500 films — seven for his countryman Leone after they had met as kids in elementary school — died in Rome following complications from a fall last week in which he broke his femur.

A native and lifelong resident of Rome whose first instrument was the trumpet, Morricone won his Oscar for his work on Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight (2015) and also was nominated for his original scores for Terrence Malick’s Days of Heaven (1978), Roland Joffe’s The Mission (1986), Brian De Palma’s The Untouchables (1987), Barry Levinson’s Bugsy (1991) and Giuseppe Tornatore’s Malena (2000).
Known as “The Maestro,” he also received an honorary Oscar in 2007 (presented by Clint Eastwood, below) for his “magnificent and multifaceted contributions to the art of film music,” and he collected 11 David di Donatello Awards, Italy’s highest film honours.
Morricone’s ripe, pulsating sounds enriched Leone’s low-budget shoot-’em-ups A Fistful of Dollars (1964), For a Few Dollars More (1965), The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) — those three starred Eastwood — Once Upon a Time in the West (1968) and Duck, You Sucker (1971).
“The music is indispensable, because my films could practically be silent movies, the dialogue counts for relatively little, and so the music underlines actions and feelings more than the dialogue,” Leone, who died in 1989, once said. “I’ve had him write the music before shooting, really as a part of the screenplay itself.
Morricone’s spare focus on one instrument — like the trumpet solo in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, or the oboe, which soared over a lushly reverent backdrop in The Mission — enriched his contributions.
The composer loved the sound of the electric guitar and the Jew’s harp and employed whistles, church bells, whips, coyote howls, chirping birds, ticking clocks, gunshots and women’s voices to add textures to scores not associated with the typical studio arrangement.
“All kinds of sounds can be useful to convey emotion … it’s music made up of the sound of reality,” he said.
Morricone also teamed with Leone one last time on the Prohibition-era tale Once Upon a Time in America (1984) and partnered about a dozen times with Tornatore, including on Cinema Paradiso (1988), winner of the Oscar for best foreign-language film.
He did not like the term “spaghetti Western” and noted that his work in that genre represented just a fraction of his career.
That is obvious, as his brilliant body of work includes collaborations with other notable directors like Gillo Pontecorvo (1966’s The Battle of Algiers), Don Siegel (1970’s Two Mules for Sister Sara), Bernardo Bertolucci (1976’s 1900), John Boorman (1977’s Exorcist II: The Heretic), Edouard Molinaro (1978’s La Cage aux Folles), John Carpenter (1982’s The Thing), William Friedkin (1987’s Rampage), Brian De Palma (1987’s The Untouchables), Pedro Almodovar (1989’s Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!), Franco Zeffirelli (1990’s Hamlet), Wolfgang Petersen (1993’s In the Line of Fire), Mike Nichols (1994’s Wolf) and Warren Beatty (1998’s Bulworth).
He was asked but never scored a film for Eastwood the director, a decision he said he regretted, and missed out on a chance to do Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange (1971) when Leone insisted that the composer was too busy finishing up one of his films (he wasn’t).
His theme, “Chi Mai,” for the 1981 BBC drama The Life and Times of David Lloyd George became an international hit, and he received a Grammy for his Untouchables score.
Tarantino, a big fan, used some of his compositions for the Kill Bill films, Django Unchained and Inglourious Basterds. In a January 2016 interview, Morricone said working with the director on Hateful Eight was “perfect ... because he gave me no cues, no guidelines.
“I wrote the score without Quentin Tarantino knowing anything about it, then he came to Prague when I recorded it and was very pleased. So the collaboration was based on trust and a great freedom for me.”
In November 2018, he came out as highly critical of Tarantino and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences in an interview that was published in the German edition of Playboy, but Morricone denied making the disparaging remarks and threatened to sue.
Ennio Morricone was born on Nov. 10, 1928, in a residential area of the Eternal City. His father, Mario, was a trumpet player, and the trumpet was the first instrument the youngster played. He began writing music at age 6.
When he was about 8, Morricone first met Leone in elementary school (the two would not connect again for more than two decades). He attended the Santa Cecilia Conservatory, where he studied under Goffredo Petrassi, a major Italian composer.
Morricone composed music for radio dramas and played in an orchestra that specialized in music written for films. “Most of these scores were very ugly, and I believed I could do better,” he said in a 2001 interview. “After the war, the film industry was quite strong here in Italy … but these new realistic movies didn’t have great music. I needed money, and I thought it would be a good thing to write film scores.”
He worked with Mario Lanza, Paul Anka, Charles Aznavour, Chet Baker and others as a studio arranger at RCA and with director Luciano Salce on a number of plays. When Salce needed a composer for his 1961 movie Il Federale, he hired Morricone.
About a dozen other films followed, and Leone, doing his first Western, put Morricone to work on Fistful of Dollars. (The director and composer were billed as Bob Robertson and Dan Savio, respectively, in a bid to convince Italian moviegoers, who were growing weary of home-grown Westerns, that the film was a product of Hollywood.)
“Gradually over time, he as a director and me as a composer, we improved and reached our best, in my opinion, in Once Upon a Time in America,” Morricone said.
Our love and sincere thoughts are with Ennio's family
RIP Maestro 
Below: Listen to the 2008 programme The Morricone Affair. as a tribute to Ennio. Presented by renowned Eastwood / Leone historian Sir Christopher Frayling
Below: Here's is an original BBC2 Documentary on Morricone