Bill Shaffer, Spaghetti Western scholar and TV producer, presented a public paper in Kansas titled ‘A Fistful of Dollars at 50: the Impact of the Spaghetti Western’. Bill’s paper detailed the production process that led to the creation of A Fistful of Dollars (Sergio Leone, Italy/Spain/West Germany, 1964) before considering the influence that the film subsequently had on the Western genre. The paper also critically contrasted A Fistful of Dollars with Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo (Japan, 1961) in order to highlight the similarities that the two films share. Bill, who earned his Master’s Degree from the University of Kansas in 1978 with an enormous thesis on the films of Sergio Leone, also discussed whether A Fistful of Dollars should be considered a ‘game changer’ within Italian cinema and World Cinema more generally.
The talk took place at the Kansas City Public Library (Plaza Branch) on 17 July 2014, which marked the fiftieth anniversary of A Fistful of Dollars’ first release in Italy.