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In Italy, the American West as a dramatic setting for spectacles goes back at least as far as Giacomo Puccini's 1910 opera La fanciulla del West; it is sometimes considered to be the first Spaghetti Western.The first Italian Western movie was La Vampira Indiana (1913) – a combination of Western and vampire film.Christopher Frayling, in his noted book on the Italian Western, describes American critical reception of the Spaghetti Western cycle as, to "a large extent, confined to a sterile debate about the 'cultural roots' of the American/Hollywood Western." He remarks that few critics dared admit that they were, in fact, "bored with an exhausted Hollywood genre." Pauline Kael, he notes, was willing to acknowledge this critical ennui and thus appreciate how a film such as Akira Kurosawa's Yojimbo (1961) "could exploit the conventions of the Western genre, while debunking its morality." Frayling and other film scholars such as Bondanella argue that this revisionism was the key to Leone's success and, to some degree, to that of the Spaghetti Western genre as a whole. The Lumière brothers made their first public screening of films in 1895 and already in 1896 Gabriel Veyre shot Repas d'Indien ("Indian Banquet") for them.Joe Hamman starred as Arizona Bill in films made in the French horse country of Camargue 1911–12.The first American-British western filmed in Spain was The Sheriff of Fractured Jaw (1958), directed by Raoul Walsh.
Leone later moved from borrowing, and established his own oft-imitated style and plots.This was seen in Leone's next two Westerns, with their emphasis on unstable partnerships.In the last phase of the Spaghetti Western, with the Trinity films, the Leone legacy had been transformed almost beyond recognition, as terror and deadly violence gave way to harmless brawling and low comedy.For many critics, Sergio Leone's films were part of the problem.Leone's Dollars Trilogy (1964–1966) was not the beginning of the "Spaghetti Western" cycle in Italy, but for Americans Leone's films represented the true beginning of the Italian invasion of an American genre.
It was directed by Vincenzo Leone, father of Sergio Leone, and starred his mother Bice Walerian in the title role as Indian princess Fatale.