03 August, 2021

A Fistful Of Ennio

With his fusion of genres, unconventional instrumentation and choral flourishes, Morricone changed how cinematic scores were composed

A Fistful Of Ennio

Aah-eee-aah-eee-aah. A coyote’s wail-like whistling, the twang of a guitar, a haunting chime from a bell, a chorus of yodelling, barking voices and trumpets crescendoing—these are the sounds of the catchy theme that a generation of Indian moviegoers in the seventies can still hear in their heads, even if they can’t name the movie they heard it in. It was the main theme from The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, composed by the Italian maestro Ennio Morricone.

Back then, everybody assumed it and others of its ilk were Hollywood flicks, but, of course, they were Italian ‘spaghetti’ westerns, often shoddily voice-dubbed from Italian into English and released even in non-English speaking countries. Besides, like most ‘English’ (foreign) films that released in India, these were already several years old. I know that in Bangalore alone, there would be subsequent reruns of the worn-out prints of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (1966) or For A Few Dollars More (1965), both directed by Sergio Leone, almost every year. They ran for a week each in...

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