"Sergio Leone and the Spaghetti Western"

Written by Sarah Anne Polsinelli

Clint Eastwood should have thanked Italy's film industry when accepting his second Best Director Oscar for this year's critically acclaimed Million Dollar Baby, because withoutrepparttar advent ofrepparttar 138004 Italian-born Spaghetti Western inrepparttar 138005 1960s, Eastwood wouldn't have a career. Italians didn't inventrepparttar 138006 Western, but they took an American staple and made it their own. By 1960, US film production companies had exhaustedrepparttar 138007 good-guy-fighting-for-justice storyline, and film sales dwindled. Italian filmmakers capitalized onrepparttar 138008 lucrative American market by tweakingrepparttar 138009 conventional plot, adding a few crucial stylistic elements (including memorable musical scores) and selling them back torepparttar 138010 Americans.

It wasrepparttar 138011 golden age of Italian Cinema (1956-1971) and betweenrepparttar 138012 years 1963 and 1973, over 400 Italian-style Westerns (dubbed "Spaghetti Westerns" by American audiences) were made.

Italian Western director Sergio Leone gotrepparttar 138013 tumbleweed rolling. He wasrepparttar 138014 first to make a huge impact inrepparttar 138015 United States, withrepparttar 138016 quintessential Spaghetti Western The Good,repparttar 138017 Bad, andrepparttar 138018 Ugly, making a star out of a young, relatively unknown (but incredibly handsome) American TV actor named Clint Eastwood.

The graphic violence attributed torepparttar 138019 series of films that Leone would complete may have had something to do withrepparttar 138020 Vietnam War, which took place during this phenomenon.

Leone's first film, 1964's breakthrough hit A Fistful of Dollars (Per un Pugno di Dollari) was based on Akira Kurosawa's samurai epic Yojimbo. Leone was a postmodern mannerist, exaggerating artistic elements of a film to make a profound impact onrepparttar 138021 viewer, like close-up shots that would fill uprepparttar 138022 entire screen and exceedingly slow movements.

In contrast torepparttar 138023 Spaghetti Western genre, American Westerns abided by an unwritten ethical code calledrepparttar 138024 Hays Code, which preventedrepparttar 138025 shooter andrepparttar 138026 victim from being inrepparttar 138027 same frame together (so ifrepparttar 138028 frame was focused onrepparttar 138029 victim,repparttar 138030 shot would come from off-screen for example). But with an eye for arresting violence, Leone had a different view on censorship. The Roman director once said: "My representation of death is moral as well as intellectual."

Takerepparttar 138031 psychedelic opening sequence for A Fistful of Dollars: It begins with a hazy white spot on a blood-red screen, accompanied byrepparttar 138032 sound of gunshots combined with Ennio Morricone's unique music. Morricone became instantly famous for his one of a kind musical scores - The Good,repparttar 138033 Bad andrepparttar 138034 Ugly theme isrepparttar 138035 most familiar of these.

"Beatles for Dummies"

Written by Sarah Anne Polsinelli

When someone says "The Beatles", what images come to mind? I see a black and white picture of four guys onstage, sporting mop-top haircuts and grey collarless suits. To many people, that's what The Beatles are - a black and white TV image of their performance on The Ed Sullivan Show. Inrepparttar spirit of unbiased journalism and avoiding clichés, I will not tell you that The Beatles wererepparttar 138003 greatest and most influential rock band ever. Nor will I tell you that their talents have been unrivalled for 35 years, since their breakup in 1970. I prefer facts, so here's one: The Beatles arerepparttar 138004 best-selling group of all time, with worldwide sales exceeding 1.3 billion records Here's another one: Duringrepparttar 138005 record-breaking week of April 4, 1964, singles by The Beatles were inrepparttar 138006 Billboard's top five positions inrepparttar 138007 singles chart -"Can't Buy Me Love", "Twist and Shout", "She Loves You", "I Want to Hold Your Hand", and "Please Please Me". The following week, 14 of their songs were inrepparttar 138008 Billboard Hot 100.

Beatlemania exploded in America in February, 1964, just months after President Kennedy's assassination, when John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr arrived at New York's JFK airport. They were greeted by thousands of screaming teen girls, andrepparttar 138009 foursome had no idea that they were there for them. They appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show later that week to an audience of 73 million people, still one ofrepparttar 138010 highest-rated programs of all time.

Withinrepparttar 138011 first few months of Beatlemania in 1964, United Artists quickly produced A Hard Day's Night to capitalize on their infectious popularity. The comedy starred all four Beatles, and is an exaggerated version of 36 hours inrepparttar 138012 life of The Beatles. It was a massive hit and was followed by Help!repparttar 138013 next year, which was produced in colour, but not nearly as "colourful" asrepparttar 138014 first.

They toured for only a few years, recording their albums inrepparttar 138015 interim. To escaperepparttar 138016 throng of hysterical young girls that followed them around, they were forced to sneak out of bathroom windows and swiftly duck into limousines. Many of their concerts were even drowned out byrepparttar 138017 high-pitched shrieks and squeals of girls.

In a March 1966 interview with The London Standard, John Lennon said, "Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn't argue with that; I'm right and I will be proved right. We're more popular than Jesus now; I don't know which will go first? Rock ‘n' roll or Christianity".

Naturally, this upset a lot of people, despiterepparttar 138018 fact that Lennon's tongue-in-cheek remark had been quoted out of context. Lennon was making a social commentary about an overall decline of Christian faith, but nonetheless radio stations inrepparttar 138019 South and Midwestern US banned their music. The Vatican denounced Lennon's words and South Africa banned Beatles music fromrepparttar 138020 radio. The media circus surroundingrepparttar 138021 event andrepparttar 138022 stress from touring led torepparttar 138023 band's decision to quit performing live, and in August 1966 they put their final "official" live concert.

They spentrepparttar 138024 rest of their career as a band, writing and recording music, takingrepparttar 138025 best elements of rock, pop, folk and psychedelia and making it their own. On June 2, 1967, they released Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band,repparttar 138026 first popular concept album. This wasrepparttar 138027 album that raised their reputations as musical innovators and was a big catalyst, startingrepparttar 138028 art rock movement while remaining incredibly popular.

Butrepparttar 138029 feelings of success fromrepparttar 138030 album quickly turned to sorrow when long-time manager Brian Epstein died on August 27, 1967. He wasrepparttar 138031 proverbial glue that held them together. There are many different rumours pertaining torepparttar 138032 breakup ofrepparttar 138033 band, but this wasrepparttar 138034 key event that eventually led to their demise.

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