Once Upon a Time in America is one of my all-time favorite films, and Once Upon a Time in the West is my favorite western, so I guess you could call me a fan of Sergio Leone. I can't remember when I was first introduced to him, but I'm fairly certain that the first films of his I watched were those in the "Dollars" or "Man With No Name" trilogy, and much like the early work of Godard or Scorsese, they were a shot in the arm to conventional depictions of their subjects, both in terms of form and content. Newly released on Blu-ray in a three disc set, The Man With No Name Trilogy continues to inform and redefine the idea of both genre and filmmaking form, and this collection celebrates the films' collective achievements by offering superlative presentation as well as an extensive slate of bonus materials.
Even with the amount of literature and discussion already devoted to Sergio Leone over the past 40 years, it's hard to overestimate his importance in cinema history. As sole credited director, Leone helmed only seven films during his three-plus decade career, but five are confirmed classics (the other two less so primarily because of their comparative obscurity), and all of them bear influential, inspirational stylistic hallmarks. But suffice it to say that there are few films as deserving of multiple perspectives as the culmination of Leone's 'Dollars' trilogy, and what emerges from the set is not merely a chronological progression in Leone's career or an expanding scale of classic westerns, but a true artistic trajectory for a filmmaker who not only revolutionized the Western genre but in a very real way changed the face of modern movies.