Spaghetti and Macaroni … Westerns?

The spaghetti western refers to the genre of Western movies from the mid 1960s usually with an Italian director (Sergio Leone comes to mind) and often a mixture of Italian and Spanish crew and cast. A well-known example is “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly“, as it is called in the United States, “Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo”, (The good, the ugly, the bad) as it is originally known in Italian, which stars Clint Eastwood.

Now the interesting thing is that the spaghetti western is known as the macaroni western in Japan. The reason behind the difference goes back to the time Leone’s A Fistful of Dollars was released in Japan (the first of the Man With No Name/Dollars trilogy, which was followed by “For a Few Dollars More” and “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”) around 1964. (Apparently there are claims that the plot to “A Fistful of Dollars” was lifted from Akira Kurosawa’s 1961 “Yojimbo” 1). It was the prominent Japanese film critic Yodogawa Nagaharu who said:

spaghettis are thin and meager

and thus he referred to them as macaroni westerns, a name which stuck, at least in Japan. Never mind the fact that macaronis are hollow!

1 For further details, read a BBC comparison of the two movies.

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