Sergio Leone’s Spaghetti Westerns have long been a guilty pleasure for fi lm buffs all over the world. By subverting the stylistic and narrative conventions of the genre, Leone managed to leave a personal imprint on his fi lms that did not go unnoticed by western fans. The alternation between extreme close-ups and wide-angled shots; the use of stylized acting, often interspersed with slow-motion effects to create a perception of expanded time; and the dominance of music over spoken dialogue within the overall conglomerate of fi lm semiotics are some of the most recognizable features
of Leone’s ‘visual style’ (Cumbow 1985). But while acknowledging Leone’s infl uence on later fi lms and the Italian director’s capacity to appropriate the ultimate American cultural idiom (Cumbow ibid.), fi lm critics and genre purists have levelled trenchant criticisms at the artistic excesses of his anti-classicist style. Among these, it is Leone’s idiosyncratic use of sound and dubbing that I intend to concentrate on in the coming paragraphs.