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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: December 13, 2002
Contact: Margot Gerber
Tel.: 323.461.2020 x 115

THE AMERICAN CINEMATHEQUE PRESENTS A THREE DAY RETROSPECTIVE OF THE FILMS OF

SPAGHETTI WESTERNS DIRECTOR SERGIO LEONE

January 2 - 4, 2003

HOLLYWOOD - The American Cinematheque at the Egyptian Theatre presents A RETROSPECTIVE OF THE FILMS OF SERGIO LEONE (January 2 - 4, 2003), a three day retrospective featuring screenings of some of his best known westerns, A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS (screening here in a new 35 mm print), FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE and THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY, films that made the virtually unknown American TV star Clint Eastwood a household name. The series is also highlighted by an ultra-rare screening of Leone's directorial debut, THE COLOSSUS OF RHODES and a rare screening of the full-length director's cut of ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST. All screenings are at the newly renovated Lloyd E. Rigler Theatre at the historic Egyptian (6712 Hollywood Boulevard between Highland and Las Palmas) in Hollywood.

Born into a filmmaking family, director Sergio Leone (1929 - 1989) was one of the great larger-than-life personalities of not just Italian, but world cinema. Leone entered the filmmaking arena while still a teenager, laboring as an assistant director, screenwriter and bit player. Among the many films he worked on (sometimes uncredited) were the American co-productions QUO VADIS?, HELEN OF TROY, THE NUN'S STORY and BEN-HUR. While employed as an assistant director on THE LAST DAYS OF POMPEII in 1959, Leone found himself suddenly thrust into the director's chair halfway through production when the original director became too ill to continue. It wasn't long afterwards that Leone received his first fully-credited director's job on the epic gladiator opus, COLOSSUS OF RHODES in 1961.

Inspired by Akira Kurosawa's YOJIMBO and seeing unique possibilities in the newly burgeoning Spaghetti Western craze, Leone (under the pseudonym Bob Robertson!) helmed A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS in 1964, starring virtually unknown American TV star Clint Eastwood. The rest is history. The first DOLLARS picture proved a mega-hit in Europe and did well enough in the States to encourage United

Artists to release its sequel, FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE (1965), which fared even better and paved the way for the majestically gritty masterpiece and conclusion of the trilogy, THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY (1966). These three unrepentantly nihilistic, ultra-violent horse operas not only revolutionized the western genre and forever cemented Leone's trademark visual style of epic vistas and meticulous production design punctuated by claustrophobically emotional close-ups, but branded Ennio Morricone as one of the most original, eclectically fluid soundtrack composers of his generation.

Leone followed up his successful Eastwood films with his operatic masterwork ONCE UPON ATIME IN THE WEST (1968), starring Charles Bronson, Claudia Cardinale, Jason Robards and a memorably murderous Henry Fonda, and the tragicomic chronicle of the Mexican revolution, DUCK YOU SUCKER (1972). Throughout the rest of the seventies, Leone concentrated mainly on producing the films of others, among them two Terence Hill comic westerns, MY NAME IS NOBODY (1973) and A GENIUS (1975). It wasn't until 1984 that the moviegoing public was able to view Leone's next directorial effort, a visually stunning, 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 great maestro's swan song. Sergio Leone died of a heart attack in 1989. (Please note: ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA is currently withdrawn from distribution - we hope to be able to screen a restored print of the film in the near future.)

Thursday, January 2, 2003

The Thursday, January 2nd program begins at 7:15 PM with a Double Feature. First up, in a New 35 mm Print is A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS (PER UN PUGNO DE DOLLARI), (1964, MGM/UA, 99 min.) Director Sergio Leone re-made Akira Kurosawa's YOJIMBO with Clint Eastwood as a poncho-wearing, cheroot-chewing assassin, and wound up with the most revolutionary Western of the 1960's (aided by composer Ennio Morricone's instantly memorable theme music). Co-starring the great Italian actor Gian Maria Volonte (INVESTIGATION OF A CITIZEN ABOVE SUSPICION) as Eastwood's nemesis. Next on the same bill is an Ultra-rare Screening of Leone's first film, THE COLOSSUS OF RHODES (I COLOSSO DI RODI), (1960, MGM (Warner Bros.), 128 min.) After toiling as assistant director on a number of Italian films since the late 1940's, Sergio Leone got his first feature credit as director with this wildly colorful sword & sandal epic. Rock-jawed American action hero Rory Calhoun stars as Darios, a Greek warrior who gets involved in a maze of romance, betrayal and revolution surrounding the construction of the mighty statue of Apollo at Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

Friday, January 3, 2003

The Friday, January 3rd program begins at 7:15 PM with Double Feature. First up is FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE (PER QUALCHE DOLLARO IN PIU), (1965, MGM/UA, 130 min.) Sergio Leone's sequel to FISTFUL stars Clint Eastwood and Lee van Cleef as rival bounty hunters who wind up tracking the same man (Gian Maria Volonte). The final 3-way shootout ranks with the greatest set pieces in movie-making history. Next on the same bill is THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE UGLY (IL BUONO, IL BRUTTO, IL CATTIVO), (1966, MGM/UA, 161 min.) From the opening whistle and whip crack theme, to the final images of a vast cemetery stretching almost to infinity, THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE UGLY is surely one of the bloodiest, funniest and most wickedly entertaining portraits of human corruption ever made. Leone's surreal masterpiece of the American West during the last days of the Civil War follows a trio of equally violent and unrepentant gunslingers (Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach and Lee van Cleef) who engage in a jaw-dropping series of double - and triple-crosses to get their hands on a fortune in stolen Confederate gold.

Saturday, January 4, 2003

The Saturday, January 4th program begins 5:00 PM with a Double Feature. First up is ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST (C'ERA UNA VOLTA IL WEST), (1968, Paramount, 165 min.) Leone's vast, mournful, brilliantly poetic epic of the rape and conquest of the American West stars Charles Bronson as a soft-spoken, harmonica-blowing gunslinger bent on revenge against corporate railroad assassin Henry Fonda, in one of the most chilling portraits of consummate evil ever put on screen. Co-starring the phenomenal Claudia Cardinale as a mail-order bride who proves more than a match for the men who would claim her, and Jason Robards as a wry, wiley bandido with an agenda of his own. Co-written by (are you ready for this?) Dario Argento and Bernardo Bertolucci - ! Note: This is a rare print of the full-length, director's cut version of the film. Next on the same bill is DUCK YOU SUCKER aka A FISTFUL OF DYNAMITE (GIU LA TESTA), (1971, MGM/UA, 138 min.) The last-and least-seen-of Sergio Leone's epic Westerns: earthy peasant Rod Steiger and Irishman James Coburn (hiding from the I.R.A.) find themselves tossed into the middle of the Mexican Revolution. Widely ignored on its release, DUCK YOU SUCKER looks better and better with each year: Leone's blend of explosive action and boozy poetry is just strange enough to work. Music by Ennio Morricone.

BLACK AND WHITE FILM STILLS ARE AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST BY E-MAIL.

WE DO NOT HAVE GUARANTEED PRESS PASSES TO PUBLIC SCREENINGS. IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT YOU TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE ADVANCE PRESS SCREENINGS.

A complete calendar/flyer listing of these films is available on our website.

General Admission is $9. 24-Hour information: 323.466.FILM

MOST OF THE FILMS IN THIS SERIES ARE AVAILABLE ON VIDEOTAPE (NTSC) COMMERCIALLY AT LOCAL VIDEOSTORES. FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE CALL MARGOT GERBER AT 323.461.2020, ext. 115 or Mary McIlwain at ext. 116 THANK YOU.

Eddie Brandt's Saturday Matinee (Burbank) Walk in only no phone.

VideoActive (2522 Hyperion, SilverLake - 323.669.8544)

Jerry's Video (1904 Hillhurst, Los Feliz - 323.666.7471)

Rocket Video (726 N. La Brea - 323.965.1100)

Cinefile (11280 Santa Monica Blvd. - Corner of Sawtelle Ave. - 310.312.8836)

Vidiots (302 Pico Blvd, Santa Monica - 310.392.8508)

* NEW TICKET PRICES AS OF JANUARY 2, 2003: $9 General; $6 Cinematheque Members. $8 Seniors (65+ years) and students with valid ID card. Must be shown at box office at time of purchase.

REQUESTS FOR PRESS TICKETS TO PUBLIC SCREENINGS AND INTERVIEW REQUESTS:

* TICKET REQUESTS MUST BE IN WRITING AND SHOULD BE FAXED TO 323.461.9737 ATTN: MARGOT GERBER, 24 HOURS PRIOR TO SHOW TIME. THURSDAY AT 6 PM IS THE ABSOLUTE DEADLINE FOR REQUESTS FOR WEEKEND SCREENINGS. PLEASE INCLUDE INFORMATION ABOUT WHEN YOUR COVERAGE WILL APPEAR AND A DESCRIPTION OF YOUR MEDIA OUTLET. JOURNALISTS WISHING TO AUDIO OR VIDEOTAPE DISCUSSIONS MUST ALSO SEND A FAXED REQUEST. IF YOUR REQUEST IS ACCEPTED, YOU WILL PICK UP YOUR TICKETS THE NIGHT OF THE SHOW AT THE BOX OFFICE. Details at: http://www.americancinematheque.com/pressreleases/pressticketpolicies.htm

* INTERVIEW REQUESTS MUST ALSO BE IN WRITING. WE WILL FORWARD YOUR REQUEST TO THE FILMMAKER/ACTOR AND HIS/HER REPRESENTATIVE (OR YOU CAN CONTACT THEM DIRECTLY). WE CAN NOT INFLUENCE THEIR DECISION TO GRANT AN INTERVIEW.

THE PROGRAM IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE WITHOUT NOTICE.

* If you would like to receive press screening notices, schedule changes and press releases by e-mail, please e-mail publicity@americancinemathque.com and you will be added to our e-mail list.

* Our permanent daily attraction film FOREVER HOLLYWOOD is screens Saturdays & Sundays at 2 PM & 3:30 PM. For press passes to see it for review purposes, please call Margot Gerber at 323.461.2020, ext. 115.

American Cinematheque, 1800 North Highland Avenue, Suite 717, Hollywood, CA 90028

(tel) 323.466-FILM (fax) 323.461.9737 On the web: http://www.egyptiantheatre.com