When Clint Eastwood arrived on the set, he was struck by how little the Italian crew and writers knew about the American West they were filming about. For example, he had to point out that coonskin caps were worn by frontiersmen and trappers in the Davy Crockett era, circa the 1820s, not by gunfighters and townsmen in the American West and Mexico of the 1870s, as the scriptwriters had written
Prior to this picture, in American films, whenever a person was shot, one camera was focused on the shooter, who fired his weapon, and a split second later, the director quickly cut to the victim who could be seen being hit and falling to the ground or whatever. Clint Eastwood knew this had always been the way such scenes were shot in the States, but didn't bother to tell Sergio Leone. Leone shot the first scene involving any kind of major violence in this picture, with the camera shooting from over Eastwood's shoulder, as though the viewer was right there watching.
According to "Once Upon a Time in the Italian West" by Howard Hughes, Sergio Leone spotted a tree, while on location, that he thought would be perfect for the hanging tree at the beginning of the film, so the tree was dug up and relocated. |