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The Showdown. As integral to the Western as hats and horses, bat wing doors and the piano player who stops when a stranger walks into the saloon. For a Few Dollars More is a movie by a director fascinated by the possibilities of the showdown - two men facing one another, until one finally pulls his gun and shoots his opponent dead.
For A Few Dollars More is Sergio Leone's equivalent of the first movement of Beethoven's Fifth, endlessly thrashing out different variations of the same few notes until he reaches some sort of catharsis.
The middle installment of Leone's legendary Dollars Trilogy, ...More tells the story of a very bad man. El Indio (Gian Maria Volonte) is a vicious bandit, murderer and rapist sprung from prison by his ragged, sweaty gang of desperados.
On Indio's trail are two men, bounty hunters, with very different motives. One is the Man with No Name (Clint Eastwood), concerned only with the price on Indio's head. The other is Colonel Douglas Mortimer (Lee van Cleef), linked to Indio by something other than material rewards. Both men are in possession of a silver pocket watch, which contain the picture of the same woman, and play the same melancholy chime...
In Unforgiven, Eastwood's aging, haunted Will Munny ruminates on killing someone: "It's a hell of a thing, killing a man. Take away all he's got and all he's ever gonna have."
Indio is a far worse antagonist. He takes away all a man has before he kills them, and it is his relationship with Mortimer which gives the film its heart. A Fistful of Dollars was groundbreaking and announced Leone's arrival on the scene with his spaghetti westerns, and many critics cite The Good, The Bad and The Ugly as the superior film of the three.
I'm sticking with For a Few Dollars More, because it means something more personal, and is more moving. Everyone has loved ones, everyone can empathize with the characters unfortunate enough to veer into Indio's path.
Because of Indio's fondness for starting his duels at the last chime of the watch, the question is repeatedly asked: If a bad man came along and took everything dear to you, and you had the chance to kill him, would you, could you be quick enough to take it?
Indio is a complicated character, played with such lustful, malignant intensity by Volonte. Leone's camera loves looking at him, with his strange blue eyes and wisp of white hair. His goal appears to be his date with destiny, and Mortimer, rather than the vast material rewards of the film's central set piece, the heist at El Paso.
It is clear that Indio was in love with the girl in the pocket watch portrait. Unfortunately, in true movie psycho tradition, he skipped flowers and an invitation to dinner and went straight for the gunning down of her young husband and rape.
The other half of this relationship founded in grief is Lee van Cleef as Mortimer. The aging colonel turned bounty hunter carries himself with extreme dignity, and is not concerned with the large sum of money offered for Indio.
The man with no name is initially perturbed to find there is another man on Indio's trail, an older, more calculating gent with superior firepower and an even harder squint than himself.
Eastwood, well on his way to being a huge star, has relatively little to do in this movie. He looks cool in his poncho and his battered jeans, but has little to do but referee between two men with real passion and motives.
Eastwood's star was forged somewhere between a sheriff's badge plucked off a lily-livered town custodian in the Dollars Trilogy and a San Francisco police badge tossed into a pond in Dirty Harry, but for most of For A Few Dollars More, he is a laconic onlooker.
Then there is Leone and his fascination with the showdown. He plays through a series of intriguingly inventive variations on the motif, from the comic to the tragic before he finds his catharsis in the final, elegant, mournful standoff.
Firstly, consider No Name and Mortimer's initial confrontation. Trying to run the older man out of town, No Name sends a frightened Chinese immigrant into Mortimer's room to pack his bags and take it "To the station".
Out in the street, the classic location for a showdown, No Name shoots the hat off Mortimer's head, and again as the elder tries to pick it up, until he is out of range. Mortimer then retaliates, playing keepy-uppy with No Name's hat with his superior artillery from a longer distance.
Later, when the two are united and riding into down, some local bad asses step out to confront them. Rather than get into a gunfight, the two demonstrate their prowess by helping a couple of village scrumpers, shooting apples out of a tree. A pause, and the local bad asses think better of it, and retreat.
At the other end of the scale is Indio's fateful visit to the grass who sent him to jail. Indio has the snitch's wife and baby dragged outside and shot. Close up on the snitch's agonized, tear stained face. Indio's men free the victim's hands, and the chimes play. The newly bereaved husband and father has his chance of vengeance...
Throughout the sequence, the camera not only crash zooms on the duelist's faces, but also flits between members of Indio's band, registering amusement, apprehension and distaste. They may be in allegiance with Indio, and may be murderous scum themselves, but you get the sense that none believe they are as hell bent as Indio in that moment.
Ennio Morricone's score is indelible, not only counterpointing the action - for much of the film, it is the action. Packed with springs sproinging, shotguns ratcheting, organs piping, horns blaring and pocket watches tinkling, it is impossible to imagine the movie being so evocative without his fine work.
Morricone's score matches Leone's direction stride for stride, accompanying the bawdy and grotesque moments of humour, to the drama of the operatic final showdown, where the last few moments of two men's lives are chimed away by the relic of a long dead loved one.
Critics can have their Good, the Bad and the Ugly, or their Once Upon a Time in America. For a Few Dollars More hits me harder at an emotional level. It may be set 150 years ago, but it concerns a simple, heart-rending truth that anyone can relate to. Not only my favourite western, but also one of my favourite films of all time.
(This article was first published on my blog, Video Krypt - http://videokrypt.wordpress.com/)
For a Few Dollars More is another hugely successful and enjoyable Western from Western maestro Sergio Leone, and again it stars Clint Eastwood in his 'Man with No Name' role. Again, Leone used his own, violent version of the west rather than the all preachy American style, and again the results are brilliant, even if this doesn't quite match up to the first film. However, it does boast a very good support actor in Lee Van Cleef, who is often referred to as the Man in Black. Both he and Eastwood lap up every second of screen presence there is in this film, and coupled with some stunning action and camerawork, For a Few Dollars More is another fabulous western entry.
The Man with No Name (Eastwood) and The Man in Black (Van Cleef) are two bounty hunters out to make money. The difference between the two is that The Man with No Name is more spontaneous, whereas the Man in Black is more of a careful planner. However, both men end up chasing after the same man, known as El Indio, and his gang who are worth a fortune.
Initially, the two men do not get along. The Man in Black is aware that he needs help to take the gang down, and tries to convince The Man with No Name. But The Man with No Name thinks he can do it himself. Soon though, after a show from each man to prove their worth to each other, they start a partnership and both go after El Indio.
The Man with No Name sneaks his way into the gang, while The Man in Black pretends to be a safecracker. Together, they get closer and closer to El Indio, discovering each others motives along the way, leading to a classic Sergio Leone climax that is full of tension.
Once again, Leone proves why he is considered to be one of the finest Western directors of all time. This is another example of how a film should be made. Sergio Leone's flair for visual direction is again very evident in this film, with some long takes that seem to blend effortlessly in with the scenery, some close up shots that truly highlight the character and some tense, violent action that shows how the west was. As with a Fistful of Dollars, this isn't really about good and evil. This is more about men trying to find their way however they can, bad or good. And Leone does it almost to perfection.
However, at times this film can lack a little pace which does slow it down. There are some scenes in the middle that are just a little too long, and it is noticeable at times. The other problem is that it's a little too much like A Fisful of Dollarsat points. But don't let that stop you from watching it.
Clint Eastwood is a force to be reckon with in this film, and as always has a presence that can't be beaten. He does't really need any lines to get his point across, and with the few he does have, he once again comes across as the coolest man there ever was in the west. But this time, he does have some competition from the outstanding character actor Lee Van Cleef, who is the mysterious Man in Black. Clint Eastwood is more of a statue in this, and his acting style is often very cool and collected. Van Cleef is more of a character actor, and the two men really do spark each other at all times right up to the final scene as the cool but spontaneous man and the deep, driven man, both of whom will not stop.
So, once again, we have another masterful piece of directing from an outstanding director and outstanding cast. And even though it's not quite as good as the first, it's still better that most films ever made.
Spaghetti Westerns were all the rage and the in thing in the 1960's and none made the headlines more than the trilogy of movies made by Sergio Leone and starrting Clint Eastwood. For a few Dollars more was the sequel to the first movie in this trilogy, A Fistful of Dollars and the lead up to the final movie 'The Good the Bad and the Ugly'. I watched all of these a few years back now when I was younger and was a big fan of them despite there never being much of a storyline. This for me was the best of the three and most entertaining.
After the success of the first movie which sort of reinvented the Western style film and launched Clint Eastwoods's movie career in a big way, Director Sergio Leone wrote the second part.
For a Few Dollars More has a simple enough plot about two men on the hunt for a ruthless bandit who has been killing many pepole with his gang. Clint Eastwood returns playing the Man with No Name. In this movie he is teamed up with Lee Van Cleef who plays a fellow bounty hunter named Colonel Douglas Mortimer.
I found this movie was more ambitious that the first in the series in that it was more visually stunning with the set locations and also was more violent than before.
The film is essentially about two men who are hell bent on going after the same man who has a bounty on his head for money. However, for Douglas Mortimer it comes down to more than just that. His motives are different as we find out in a flashback that involves the death of a man and raping of a woman.
Lee Van Cleef is fantastic in his role as Colonel Douglas Mortimer and he is cool under pressure and witty as well. He also brings that experienced factor to his character and an older head. Clint Eastwood puts in a normal, reliable performance as his character. He has some great one-liners and really kept me interested throughout the movie.
For a Few Dollars More is an action packed, exciting epic movie from Sergio Leone. The performances of Clint Eastwood and Lee Van Cleef make this movie what it is too. If you love these westerns then you have to watch this second in the trilogy.
For A Few Dollars More is the second film in a trilogy by Italian director Sergio Leone, a trio of films dubbed "spaghetti westerns" that brought about a lease of life to the Western genre. For A Few Dollars More seems to use a bigger budget than it's fore-runner "A Fistful of Dollars", there's more characters key to the plot, more villains and another bounty hunter in the form of Colonel Dough Mortimer (Lee Van Cleef), an army man from one of the Carolinas who has just as much confidence about him as Clint, is a better shot and the older and wiser of the two.
Whilst I thought Fistful of Dollars was a great film, I can see a few failings in For A Few Dollars More, the character that we've come to know as a skilled shot and lone wanderer from Fistful of Dollars, is all of a sudden made to look a bit ordinary by his older counterpart, he's willing to play second-fiddle to him and whilst he undoubtedly succeeds, you no longer get the feeling that he's invincible.
This is plausible but it changes the way you think of the character (Man with No Name) slightly, the other thing that I find a bit kitschy is that the main villain has an obsession with his musical locket of a lover that killed herself which of course turns out to be Mortimer's sister.
This part of the plot which I find a little unconvincing but the part that lets this film down in my book is the fact that by increasing the members of cast, there's more poor actors on the screen and their acting at times is just terrible, this is certainly the case for most of the villains
The storyline itself though is rather good and the two bounty hunters are a joy to watch, it's still a pretty good film but I prefer "Fistful of Dollars" more, perhaps because of the isolated feel that the town where it takes place has.
This is obviously a spaghetti western film due to the fact that it's set in a very dry arid desert area and that it's directed by the Italian Sergio Leone, also another thing that suggests that it's a spaghetti western is the fact that Clint Eastwood stars in it who is quite famous for starring in westerns. In this scene it starts of with Clint Eastwood wearing a poncho and a cowboy hat. drinking out of a well when he see's a young boy wearing dirty clothes run towards a house and climbs through the window and is immediately chased out by two fat greasy Mexicans with bandoliers around their backs, the important thing about this shot is there is a women who is presumably the child's mother runs to the window but there are bars in the way which represents the women's need to protect the child but the bars are preventing her from doing that. The music in this clip is very high pitched whistling which fits the clip quite well because it emphasises the emptiness of the land. One other point is there are two buildings each facing each other one with the bad guys in and the other with the little kid in and is father, and this represents good and bad, but Clint Eastwood's character is in the middle of them which shows that he's between good and bad.
The surprising success of A Fistful of Dollars in 1964 was a wake-up call for many other Italian filmmakers. The stylish, violent and devil-may-care attitude of filmmaking was something that hit hard in the Italian film industry and many directors were ready to jump on the bandwagon to produce similarly themed and stylised Westerns of their own, though the real boom didn't properly get underway until 1966. But A Fistful of Dollars had shown something new and fresh, something that was different to what Westerns of the past and the old great role models, the American Westerns, had provided. It brought out a new type of hero who wasn't that concerned with honour and dignity, and was more like a bad guy himself with the only difference being that the other bad guys simply were worse, thus making the main character still seemingly a hero. But as much as A Fistful of Dollars made a statement for this type of new film, it wasn't until the following year that the style of filmmaking really started to be noticed as something new, exciting and worth pursuing. After his first Western, director Sergio Leone immediately set out to do another Western, providing the screenplay himself with Luciano Vincenzoni, and upping the sense of spectacle which was to become a habit for Leone on future productions. Thus For a Few Dollars More came into being.
The film once more stars Clint Eastwood, this time as a man named Monco (or Manco, meaning one-handed), a young, hot shot bounty killer out for rewards in the plains of the old West. This time instead of being alone on his own, he ends up coming into grips with another bounty hunter named Colonel Douglas Mortimer (Lee Van Cleef), an older and more experienced man in his field, while Gian Maria Volontè makes a follow up performance from Fistful as the main bad guy El Indio, a deranged and dangerous man with some serious mental issues, not unlike his previous role as Ramón. The plot itself is once more extremely simple with Indio planning to rob a bank and the two bounty hunters are out to get him through various means of infiltration. It's not a hugely original storyline, but once more Leone makes the most out of it simply with style and an attitude that made the first film so successful, carrying the 132 minute film forward effortlessly. What's significantly different when compared to the previous film, though, is that For a Few Dollars More is considerably more character oriented. The story itself is almost by design a simple one, there only to highlight the characters' psychology more than the actual story.
This is particularly evident with Volontè's Indio, who is often seen either being a maniac with no sense of morals or compassion of any kind (he'd even kill women and children without as much as flinching), while at the same time he is haunted by some distant event in his past he visits in the stupor brought about by a marijuana joint. The story of Indio thus is slowly unravelled by showing his descent into complete madness while punctuated by him always playing the haunting tune of his chiming pocket watch that bares some deep importance to him, while a couple of flashbacks explain the significance of both the object as well as Indio's state of mind. On the other side is Lee Van Cleef as the specialist bounty hunter, whose connection to Indio is played with extremely subtle hints throughout the story. You'll never really get to know of this connection until the very end of the film, but for any astute observer, the hints are easy to pick up on when one knows where to look. It is Van Cleef's performance that particularly shines in this film, and considering that it was his first starring role (he had previously been accustomed to playing smaller henchmen in other westerns), the confidence he displays while tackling the role of Mortimer is one that'd make you think he had already had a lot of practice being in the limelight beforehand. And his looks certainly are memorable, that it is no wonder he became one of the most prolific spaghetti Western actors in the 1960s and 70s.
Eastwood's character by comparison is perhaps left a bit over-shadowed by both Van Cleef's cunning presence and Volontè's over-the-top performance, but retains the same air of cool he already had in A Fistful of Dollars, making the film seem more like a sequel than it in actuality really was (this also compounded by him again wearing the same clothing he had brought along with him from California all the way to him smoking those thin cigars). But what Eastwood may loose in not having the limelight on him so squarely this time is more than compensated by his interaction with Van Cleef, and the two make for a surprisingly effective and fun pair to watch. The general rivalry, the cocky behaviour of Eastwood's "less talk, more action" attitude, and Van Cleef's calculating and technical plotting make the two interesting to see at times working together, and at others - usually through Eastwood's actions - separating before ending up again back to helping each other out, while never really relinquishing their sense of rivalry. Also one should mention Indio's gang, which in itself is also interestingly colourful, such as Klaus Kinski's humpbacked Wild One that Mortimer likes to tease, Luigi Pistelli's more calculating Groggy, not entirely trusting of Indio, and Mario Brega's loyal Nino among others, make for a varied group of personal looking faces, many of whom were also to become mainstays of the Italian Western iconography.
The wider issues of a changing climate of the 1960s is also something Leone likes to lap on and at times parody, with the youth movements starting to bare down on the older establishments, which is clearly seen in the contrasts of Eastwood's rough and hewn rebel, and the more experienced, immaculate and thoughtful old school Van Cleef, who changes more and more toward the hero of the older, honour-bound West as the film progresses, ultimately going down as far as to bow down and ride off into the sunset like the heroes of the old. Also there is plenty of rather carnivalesque, crude humour on the expense of some of the side characters, as in the guesthouse scene as Eastwood evicts another person from a room he wants to stay in, Leone poking fun at the pathetic rich man's underwear, the short size of the guesthouse owner, and the unattractive appearance of the woman behind the counter who incidentally proves to be a lot taller than the innkeeper once the outlook changes. The same irreverence is also extended to moments of religion, where Indio pretty much becomes a symbolic Jesus Christ within his little group of disciples. This is particularly emphasised in the sermon he keeps in a church pulpit, detailing a story of a carpenter who knew of a special safe he designed, and which story he imparted to Indio in jail, while his flock listen intently. Even a major duel he has with a former informant in a church is underscored by a monstrously powerful organ, emphasising the ritual setting within the spheres of taking place on holy ground. It is things like this that provide those little moments of surrealism that mixes both the old, archaic world together with the newly coming uncaring freedom, rebelliousness, and cynicism-on-the-rise.
The production design and cinematography continue in the same style of A Fistful of Dollars, combining wide panorama-like shots, in which Leone uses the 2.35:1 aspect ratio to its fullest capacity, and the Techniscope method, which allowed for the extreme close-ups of his characters' faces, only this time the larger budget also allowed for more scope to make this film considerably more grandiose than the previous one. Ennio Morricone's music also plays a vital part in the narrative, and not only as underscore for the action this time. The pocket watch melody in particular is the first in a Leone film to actively involve the music as part of the narrative as Indio uses it as his means for a countdown in his duels, as well as a reminder of his past. Likewise the score uses the theme as a subtle device to give hints on the story behind the story, which works wonderfully as a permeating plot device tying together everything to a more cohesive whole. Likewise Leone doesn't shy away in allowing for long stretches of the music to dominate the scene, most notably in the major duel scenes that move with the epic slowness of a ritual, and which conversely are over within only short moments. On the whole, For a Few Dollars More is a considerable jump up in quality from A Fistful of Dollars, and shows the rapid development of Leone's filmic style, as well as his rising confidence. It is perhaps the first spaghetti western to truly develop its style to its full height and it is no wonder that it still stands the test of time and remains one of the most revered classics of its genre. Certainly Sergio Leone proved his initial success wasn't just a fluke.
© berlioz, 2009
Made in 1965 this is the second instalment of Sergio Leone's classic spaghetti western'Dollars' trilogy sarted in 1964 with 'A Fistful of Dollars' and featuring Clint Eastwood as the 'man with no name'. ***BACKGROUND*** After the success of 'Fistful of Dollars' (previously reviewed 29.11.01) Leone embarked on a follow-up, not exactly a sequel, with a bigger budget of $600,000 and greater ambition. Eastwood was re-hired to again play the role of 'the stranger' the man with no name, for a fee of $50,000, a Ferrari and a share of the film's takings. Gian Maria Volonte who had almost stolen the show in 'Fistful' playing the evil gunslinger Ramon Rojo was back to play a pot smoking villain, Indio. The original working title for the film was 'Two Magnificent Strangers' and Leone initially wanted Lee Marvin to play Col Mortimer, the second 'stranger' but Marvin was unavailable due to his commitment to filming 'Cat Ballou'. Leone then turned to a B movie actor Lee van Cleef, that he remembered playing various baddies in low budget westerns. Van Cleef had been ill for many years and had just come out of hospital; he had been out of work for some time. Leone met him and was immediately impressed by van Cleef's looks, 'a man who could give you a profile while staring directly at you'. Leone knew he had the actor perfect for the role. Even after the success of 'Fistful' the studio was still worried about the idea of an Italian western. Just as they had done in the first film they changed the names of the Italian actors and the director to American aliases to lead the audience to think that this was really an 'American western'. Leone was credited as Bob Robertson and Volonte as John Wels. The outdoor sequences were filmed in the sesert regions of Spain and the interior at the Cinecitta studios in Rome. ***CAST*** Clint E
astwood?The Man with No Name (Manco) Lee Van Cleef?Colonel Douglas Mortimer Gian Maria Volonté... El Indio Mario Brega?Nino Klaus Kinski? Juan, the Hunchback Joseph Egger?Old Prophet Luigi Pistilli... Groce ***THE PLOT ***(some spoilers) At the beginning of the film we are introduced to the two main characters in turn. The 'Man With No Name' paradoxically known as 'Manco' and Col Mortimer. Both are bounty hunters and from the first few scenes in the film we know that they are both adept at their job as we see them gunning down villains and bagging their rewards. We next meet Indio a ruthless 'bandido' who is sprung out of jail by his gang. Again there is no room for doubt that this man is evil when we see him kill his cellmate just before escaping. The reward for Indio's capture now increased to $10,000 and both bounty hunters want to catch him. At this point we are made aware of some connection between Mortimer and Indio. The both seem to own the same kind of chiming watches and these hold a very special meaning to both men. We see Indio in a drug-crazed state remembering some event in his past involving a woman as he listened to the sound of the watch chimes. While in prison Indio has learnt from his cell mate, a cabinet maker, that the safe holding all the money at the notorious El Paso Bank is hidden in a wooden cabinet and that the main safe in the bank is merely a decoy. Since the bank is said to hold over a million dollars it becomes an irresistible target for Indio and his gang. Col Mortimer and Manco independently guess that this will be Indio's next target and both head for El Paso. In El Paso Mortimer and Manco become aware of each other and at first try to scare each other off. Eventually they decide that working together they might stand a better chance of cashing in the reward. Their plan is for Manco to infiltrate the gang to find out whe
n they plan the robbery. Manco springs another of Indio's men from prison to get in with them. Partially accepted as part of the gang but not totally trusted Manco is sent with three other men to a nearby town to rob a bank and create a diversion. There he kills the gang members with him and then returns to El Paso to meet up with Mortimer. They hope to catch Indio as he robs the bank, however Indio outwits them and steal the safe. Mortimer now introduces himself to the gang, as an explosives expert needed to open the safe without destroying the money inside. He opens the safe for them and then Indio hides the money away until the heat over the robbery has died down. Trying to retrieve the money Manco and Mortimer are caught by Indio he has them beaten up but doesn't kill them. He then releases them telling the rest of the gang that they have stolen the money. He hopes that his men and the bounty hunters will kill themselves off and he can keep all the loot. Things don't go quite to plan and in the final scenes Indio comes up against Mortimer while Manco fights the rest of the gang. ***THEMES*** In Leone's view of the 'Old West' the main motivation for men's actions was money, not as money to spend on goods but money as a prize in itself. In more traditional views of the west money had to be earned or stolen to buy property, cattle, the well worn cliché is of the gunfighter who longs to make one last big deal so he can settle down buy a ranch and raise a family. In Leone's films money is there to be worshipped it is an end in itself. The character of the 'Man with no name' returns in this film still wandering from town to town, now a bounty hunter still killing for a living. Leone is making a point about the value of money in this kind of society and how that equates to the value of life- 'Where life had no value death, sometimes, had a price' This could be seen as cri
ticism of the lack of morality present in a totally capitalist society, an extreme version of the US in general. In this film compared to 'A Fistful of Dollars' we are presented with a more complex plot structure. The Eastwood character is still the mysterious stranger that we met in the first film, his motivation again seems clear, money and catching Indio and his gang is they way he can achieve his goal. However this time he has a rival the older Col Mortimer. Right from the beginning Mortimer as a character has more depth than Manco. We know that he is ex-military and from his manner a well to do gentleman. We also get a clue to his past from the picture of the woman in his pocket watch. We don't know what the relationship is between them but we soon realise that she was very close to him and that she is dead. We guess that Mortimer's hunt for Indio is more personal than professional, vengeance becomes a powerful motive for killing just as the acquisition of money is. Leone had a keen knowledge of traditional Sicilian puppet theatre 'the Puparri' and he used the stories and themes seen in these shows as inspiration for his westerns including 'For a Few Dollars More'. He saw many similarities between these marionette shows and the traditional western stories. The details and locations obviously differed but the adventure described were in essence the same. Just as in the puppet shows the elements are linear the action taking place in the main street rather like a stage and the story is encapsulated in short episodes that eventually build up to a climax set piece. The character of 'the man with no name' is pivotal to the dollars trilogy and can be seen as being equivalent to the 'trickster' character in the marionette shows or a Harlequin figure of the traditional theatre. He is devoid of history and has no relationships; he never makes any moral political or social choices. The act of vengean
ce that Col Mortimer is seeking also perfectly ties in with Sicilian tradition. Leone set up a strong contrast between Manco and Mortimer, Manco is young, scruffilly dressed with less of a moral outlook on life, Mortimer is older wiser and immaculately turned out. These will make unlikely allies and this fact adds to the dynamic of the story. There is a memorable sequence were the two men meet for the first time and decide to out do each other by showing off their shooting prowess in the street. Manco shoots Mortimer's hat off his head and each time Mortimer tries to pick it up he shoots it further down the street. Eventually the hat is out of range and Mortimer calmly picks it up and places it on his head, he then proceeds to get his more powerful hand gun out and shoots Manco's hat off and keeps it in the air by repeated shots. This scenes sets up the men's credentials as gunfighters and gives them mutual respect for each other although trust still doesn't exist between them. Taking in to account that this film was made in the late 60's a time when youth culture was going head to head against the older establishment this relationship between the two men resonates very well with audiences at the time. The uneasy alliance can be seen as a sort of father son relationship, Manco constantly referring to Mortimer as 'Old Man'. Indio is also an interesting creation, on the surface he is a psychotic villain but again there is considerable depth to the character, more so than we are used to seeing in traditional westerns. He smokes pot and seems to be haunted by an event in his past. In a neat touch he also blesses hi gun with holy water before he kills people. One final point to note is the lack of relationships between any of the characters. Everyone is alone in this film even within the gang the camaraderie is only on the surface Indio betrays without any regrets his men including Nino who he seems very close to
. Even the friendship between Manco and Mortimer is borne out of necessity and convenience nothing more. Leone to some extent symbolises this isolation of the characters by using the scenes of the desert at the beginning and end of the film. The films itself can be seen to be an instant in time, a story which is isolated in both time and space and has no connection to the wider world. The result is a portrayal of the west as a very brutal, immoral place a time without honour in stark contrast with the Hollywood westerns of the 50's. ***WHY IS IT SO GOOD?*** With 'For a Few Dollars More' Leone expanded his vision of the old west. It is noticeable in the film how Leone draws a much sharper contrast between the big outdoor spaces and the almost claustrophobic indoor scenes. The trademark close ups, and odd slanted camera angles are still in evidence, at times the characters seem to communicate with just menacing looks and grunts. The scenes are often, melodramatic and the use of Morricone idiosyncratic soundtrack transforms the film in to an operatic vision of the colonial west. Leone is technically more experimental in this film. There is rapid cross cutting at certain points most notably when we move to and from Indio's wanted poster and a close up of Col Mortimer's eyes, gunshots firing in the background in time with the movement. In the sequences showing Indio's pot-induced memories or illusions (we don't know for sure until the end) the scenes are shot through a red filter. This serves to some extent to disguise the violence of the rape and murder of the young woman but also adds an ethereal feel to the images that obviously are meant to complement Indio's drugged state. The film is full of brilliantly structured and realised set piece scenes, the shooting contest between Manco and Mortimer, the confrontation inn the cantina as Mortimer lights his pipe on the Hunchback's (Klaus Kinsky) bac
k and the tense final shoot out. Ennio Morricone's musical score is as usual right in the forefront of the film. It powerfully interacts directly with the action rather then being purely in the background. This is best illustrated in the use of the simple but haunting melody that the pocket watch plays in the final showdown between Mortimer and Indio. This is a trick that Leone later adapted in 'Once Upon a Time In The West' using the sound of a mouth harmonica. The film is a tribute to Leone's ability to bring together the essential elements of the western genre and to adapt them to reflect the pervading influences and attitudes of the time. By incorporating into the story a feel of the general atmosphere of anti establishment and rebellion within youth culture present in the mid to late 60's he was able to create a new form of the western one which was more brutal, cynical and visually realistic than it's predecessors. This new form of western was to be copied not only by other makers of spaghetti westerns but eventually by the American directors. The western as a film genre was in decline in the early sixties and thanks to Leone's re-invention it once again surfaced in the late sixties and beyond as a popular film form. Thanks for reading and rating this opinion © Mauri 2002
Directed By - Sergio Leone Starring - Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, Gian Maria Volonte, Klaus Kinski Length - 130 minutes Part of the Spaghetti western Dollars trilogy, For A Few Dollars More is the second of the series. And although not known at the time, the film is very cool! The story is a simple one. A criminal by the name of Indio (Volonte) has escaped from prison. Two bounty hunters are keen to track him down. One (Van Cleef) has a personal vendetta on his mind; the other (Eastwood) is just interested in a few more dollars. With both men after the same thing (more or less) they join together as partners, but have a few differences to get used to. From the absurdly opening title sequence where a complete stranger is just killed off the movie immediately starts with its horrifically shaky opening credits, looking very much like some kind of horror movie gone wrong. It's very funny but probably for all the wrong reasons. In fact you could get away with describing the whole movie like that as well! One thing about the film you just can't ignore is the dubbing. Thankfully not every character is dubbed, but it's unusual to see how it works well on some and looks horrible on others. The quick and dodgy editing might also raise a few questions. It's the performances from the three main stars that'll most likely keep the audiences watching. Eastwood lights the screen as the character with no name (but known as Monco). His gunplay is quick and cool and one-liner remarks are at times very odd. Van Cleef in one of his best roles lights up the screen playing former soldier Mortimer, with his quick gunplay and quicker remarks. And then there's Maria Volonta… um… also doing something similar! In fact Volonta's character Indio is a great villain and he plays him very well indeed. Like a violent and depressive winner who is slowly losing. The most memorable thing about hi
m is his obsession with a gold watch and it's melody and how he duels his enemies till the chimes stop. To me there was one thing that stood out more then the performances in this movie and that was the musical score by Ennio Morricone. From the crazy opening title theme of the movie to the final showdown, the music is a real memorable masterpiece. "Sixty Seconds To What" is the piece that accompanies the showdown duel between Mortimer and Indio and I myself see it as a real stand out track with its haunting chimes and over the top pipe organ! A soundtrack purchase looks to be necessary! To sum it up, For A Few Dollars More is a violent western that's high on the performances and even higher in the musical department! Points of Interest: The films original title - "Per qualche dollaro in più"
For a Few Dollars More allowed director Sergio Leone to expand his ideas and his budget and this movie shows. Better plotting, directing and acting ensure For A... to be the second best of the series. Here, not only do we get the great Clint Eastwood but also Lee Van Cleef! Both turn in shining performances and the end shoot-out scene is one of the tensest in movie history. The final bounty counting scene by Eastwood is one of the best moments of black comedy I've ever seen. This isn't as good as The Good, The Bad and The Ugly but it certainly is a great film.
The film in the middle of the "dollars" triolgy is often overlooked, but is quite rightly a classic in itself. The Man-with-no-name action is spiced up by the addition of experience bounty hunter Lee Van Cleef, who is even more calculating than Clint. The two find themselves on the trail of the same escaped bandit and end up shooting each other's hats in a superb display of masculine bullshit. This results in an impasse as the two are clearly equally accomplished at airborne millinary destruction, and so they team up and agree to share the bounty. As you'd expect, the two subsequently attempt to doublecross each other throughout the story and end up landing themselves in deep shit. Fortunately for them, the bad guy is particularly demented and the two manage to settle their differences in time for the classic showdown. Popular music fans will recognise the music box tune from a recent dodgy remix, but the original score is awarded rather more gravitas thanks to the box's significance to one of our gun slinging "heroes". Then there's the small problem of dividing the bounty... It's an absolute classic and you'll be quick drawing the remote control for weeks after watching it. Just watch it, ok?
Inevitably in the shadow of the first and third films in the 'Man with no name' series of westerns that Leone and Eastwood made, this benefits from the addition of Lee Van Cleef as Eastwood's partner in bounty hunting, if anything even more terse and ruthless than the 'hero', another atmospheric score, and little gems like Klaus Kinski as one of the villain's henchmen. It's quite polished in comparison with the previous film, and while it does seem a bit over-familiar, it's still an icy little horse opera, and just as good at attacking the petty greed and brutality of the outlaw life.
Two bounty hunters with completely different intentions make an unlikely team to track down a wanted outlaw way out west.