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Once Upon A Time In the West 4K                       review by Bobby Blakey

Paramount has a long history with some iconic films in their vast library. Over the last few years they have been digging into that library and offering up a new selection of releases in their Paramount Presents collection. The latest getting the treatment is the 1968 Sergio Leone western classic Once Upon A Time In The West starring Claudia Cardinale, Henry Fonda, Jason Robards, and Charles Bronson. Could this classic film hold up or will it get lost on the plains of the old west?


Once Upon A Time In the West follows the story of a young woman, Mrs. McBain, who moves from New Orleans to frontier Utah, on the very edge of the American West. She arrives to find her new husband and family slaughtered, but by whom? The prime suspect, coffee-lover Cheyenne, befriends her and offers to go after the real killer, assassin gang leader Frank, in her honor. He is accompanied by Harmonica, a man already on a quest to get even.

There are few directors that can hold a candle to the legendary Sergio Leone regarding the western genre. OF them all I think this might be one of the only ones I had never seen all the way through. One issue with his films and what makes them so unique and great is that they are often seemingly all over the place. This is usually by design with it all coming together by the end.

This story wastes no time to get right into the meat of it with a fun silent western style intro that sets the mystery and tone of Bronson’s character. From there it brings varying scenes to introduce the main cast and give the audience an idea of how good or bad they are, which often walks a grey line. The one thing clear is that everyone has some sort of agenda, and no one trusts anyone.

Initially I was digging the film, but the disjointed storytelling was aggravating me with characters seemingly at odds and then together at the drop of a hat. As it plays out and you learn more it finds its direction and starts to bring it all together in a great way. All of the performances are excellent and more so reminds you how awesome Bronson always was. It’s a slow burn tale that still brings in some classic western tropes and shoot outs that are well executed.

I love the visual style Leone brings to his films that has a bright, but gritty look that fully brings you into the old west. Everyone is sweaty and dirty whether they are rich or not. The subtle changes in looks still let you know of the period and fully grasp onto it to pull you into every inch of it. This is a great flick that might not be perfect, but still a master class in filmmaking and a genre that we just don’t get enough of these days in such a great way. This new 4K transfer looks fantastic and brings the visual perfection to another level that fans will no doubt love.

In addition to the classic western in 4K, this release offers bonus content including commentary, trailer, production gallery, featurettes and more. Grab your copy of Sergio Leone’s western classic Once Upon A Time In The West available now on 4K for the first time every from Paramount Home Entertainment.

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