Venice's Spaghetti Western sidebar a buffet


LOCARNO, Switzerland -- The Venice Film Festival's Secret History of Italian Cinema sidebar on Spaghetti Westerns is getting bigger, with an expanded program that will include films made before the genre's heyday along with several contemporary films influenced by the Italian-made Westerns.

In July, festival organizers announced a lineup that included about 30 titles from the 1960s and '70s. An expanded program will now include John Ford's newly restored 1924 silent film "The Iron Horse" -- his first Western -- about the transcontinental railroad, plus five recently discovered and refurbished films from famed Westerns director Budd Boetticher, including the 1959 classic "Ride Lonesome," which starred James Coburn and Boetticher regular Randolph Scott.

The program also includes Nick Redman's documentary "Becoming John Ford," about the life of the influential four-time Oscar winning director, who died in 1973, two years after winning a career Golden Lion award in Venice.

Those films join a Venice program that also includes three contemporary films: the in competition world premiere of Andrew Dominik's "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford," starring Brad Pitt as Jesse James; Takashi Miike's "Sukiyaki Western Django," also in competition; and "Searchers 2.0," in the Horizon's sidebar. All three films are said to be influenced by Italian-made Westerns.

The 64th edition of the Venice festival runs Aug. 29-Sept. 8.