AUG. 22-SEPT. 4

In the history of the Hollywood B-movie’s transformation into today’s hyperstylized international thriller, the name Sergio Leone is often excluded. Perhaps that’s because, unlike such French contemporaries as Godard and Truffaut, Leone was no art-house theorist. A movie brat, he grew up around the biz and began working in it at 18. He opened his directing career with an accepted Italian genre of the time, the sword-and-sandal epic, making 1961’s The Colossus of Rhodes (at 6:35 and 9 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 26). He then moved to the CinemaScope “spaghetti Western,” creating Clint Eastwood’s big-screen career with 1964’s A Fistful of Dollars (at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 22; 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 24; and 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 27, & Thursday, Aug. 28), an unauthorized remake of Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo. The centerpiece of this retrospective is a restoration of 1966’s The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (daily shows Aug. 22-Sept. 4; Eli Wallach will speak at the Wednesday, Aug. 27, screening), in which Eastwood and two other desperadoes search for buried gold as the Civil War rages around them. At an extended 180 minutes (the refurbished version adds 15 minutes of footage never before seen in the United States), The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly is now even longer than 1968’s Once Upon a Time in the West (pictured; at 1:45 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 23; 7:40 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 24; and 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 27, & Thursday, Aug. 28). The latter, however, is Leone’s ultimate epic, an eye-popping distillation of the Western genre that balances grandeur with visual wit. The series starts Friday, Aug. 22 (see Showtimes for a complete schedule), at the American Film Institute’s Silver Theatre and Cultural Center, 8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring. $8.50. (301) 495-6700. (Mark Jenkins)

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