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Few would nominate Fistful of Dynamite as Leone's greatest film, though many might herald it as his most underrated. Leone did not intend to direct it and did not bring the same concentration to the film that he did the others. By this time Leone had entered the last phase of his career, a 20-year Puccini-like period of vacillation during which he found it very difficult to settle on a project and pursue it with confidence and efficiency.
(Source)

Can you tell me why the past perfect is used in my excerpt. Leone entered the last phase of his career after the mentioned movie (Fistful of Dynamite) having been realized. Could it be sufficient just the simple past?

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  • I think the past perfect is used because they're saying that when Leone directed Fistful of Dynamite, he had already entered the last phase of his career. But it's not 100% clear, because it's not clear exactly what "this time" refers to.
    – stangdon
    Sep 22 '17 at 17:05
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    You really should learn to master cut&paste for contexts like this. The couple of errors you introduced by manually copying the cited text led me to believe it might not have come from a competent native speaker, since the missing article after career completely invalidates the syntax of the sentence in a way no native speaker would be likely to do. Sep 22 '17 at 17:33
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    I apologize for errors that I made. I rewrote the text from Google Books and was careless. Except your mentioned missing article what was the other mistake?
    – bart-leby
    Sep 22 '17 at 17:48
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'Reference Time' (RT)—the time the author is talking about—is the time at which Leone directed Fistful of Dynamite. The author's use of the past perfect signifies that at RT Leone had already entered the last phase of his career: that phase began before he directed Fistful of Dynamite.

Leone died in '89, and Dynamite was released in '71, so the author appears to consider Leone's last phase as having begun after the release of Once Upon a Time in the West in '68.

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