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For a Few Dollars More (1965)
Two bounty hunters are after the same man, Indio. At first, they go their own ways, but eventually get together to try and find him. But are they after him for the same reason?
Clint Eastwood ... Monco
Lee Van Cleef ... Col. Douglas Mortimer
Gian Maria Volontè ... El Indio
Mara Krupp ... Mary (as Mara Krup)
Luigi Pistilli ... Groggy
Klaus Kinski ... Wild (the hunchback)
Joseph Egger ... Old Prophet (as Josef Egger)
Panos Papadopulos ... Sancho Perez (as Panos Papadopoulos)
Benito Stefanelli ... Luke
Roberto Camardiel ... Station clerk (as Robert Camardiel)
Aldo Sambrell ... Cuccillo
Luis Rodríguez ... Gangmember (as Luis Rodriguez)
Tomás Blanco ... Santa Cruz Telegrapher (as Tomas Blanco)
Lorenzo Robledo ... Tomaso
Sergio Mendizábal ... Tucumcari bank manager (as Sergio Mendizabal)
\"For a Few Dollars More,\" the middle installment of the iconic Sergio Leone/Clint Eastwood \"Dollars\" trilogy, is the most brutal of all three films. Throughout the movie, ruthless bounty hunters, all of who seem to have no respect for human life, often perform cold-blooded murders. The bounty hunters use the \"wild west\" as a free range: they track, they kill, and they collect.
One of these bounty hunters happens to be The Man with No Name (Eastwood), who returns to us now after his introduction in \"A Fistful of Dollars,\" which was the first movie of the trilogy. (An interesting observation is that the \"man with no name\" actually does have a name in each installment -- here, his name is Manco, but this is a fact that is often forgotten.)
The Man with No Name/Manco is on a mission to find the criminal Indio (Gian Maria Volonté), whose capture is worth a large sum of money. It is quickly set up that local law enforcement is weak. Sheriffs are cowards. Only the vicious bounty hunters know how to drag in the criminals: dead or alive. Along for the journey is a fellow bounty hunter named Mortimer (Lee Van Cleef), whose own reasons for seeking the man differ from Manco\'s. At first, the two killers go their own separate ways, and then decide to team up together and improve their chances of finding Indio -- despite the fact that their intentions for his capture are different.
Not only are the two men\'s intentions different, but also their methods. Mortimer is a ruthless, cold-blooded murderer whose self-confidence is revealed through his barbaric actions. Manco, the hero, is less of a murderer and more of a law enforcer. Leone quickly sets this up through a sequence of shots: Mortimer\'s introduction, for example, begins with his search for a criminal, which finally comes to a finish as Mortimer confronts the man (who is hiding in a brothel). His foe manages to escape through a window, leaping onto a horse and galloping away through town. The images that follow reveal an insight into Mortimer\'s own self-confidence and startlingly calm nature.
Manco\'s appearance is even more dramatic. He tracks down his own victim, and corners him in a saloon, only to see three cowboys appear out of nowhere and block off all exits. In one quick motion he swings around and fires three successive shots, each bullet finding its target.
Here it is established that Manco is an underdog; therefore, our story\'s hero. He isn\'t as ruthless as Mortimer (who mercilessly picks his prey off from a distance) and his actions are somewhat admirable. The cowboys who tried to kill him were the bad guys. Manco was the good guy.
Its lesser admirers often describe the film as being \"too long\". It\'s true that the film contains some unnecessary scenes, and these are often dragged out for dramatic effect -- but that is the point. The movie, directed by one of cinema\'s most ambitious and visionary directors (Sergio Leone, 1929 - 1989), is all about long passages of close-ups and wide-lense shots. Along with its predecessor and particularly its sequel, the \"Dollars\" trilogy revolutionized the derogatory \"spaghetti western\" description. In the years to come, Hollywood would actually aim to create films similar to the \"Dollars\" movies -- all of which were inferior. The entire \"Dollars\" trilogy has such scope, and ambition, that its Hollywood counterparts pale in comparison.
Leone\'s direction is magnificent and would later inspire -- of all people -- Quentin Tarantino (whose \"Kill Bill\" movies owe something to the \"Dollars\" trilogy). Long, wide lenses and extreme close-ups only accentuate the fear of the men. There is a particular sequence of shots that clips back and forth between Mortimer and a wanted notice pinned to the exterior of a building. Leone slowly builds up the back-and-forth shots until they burst into a pattern of super-speed images, distinctly closed with the sound of gunshots. It\'s this sort of blazing, distinct style that makes the film so infectious and enjoyable.
The acting cannot be criticized, although the English dubbing is sometimes rather laughable. Eastwood is one of the only actors whose voice is not dubbed -- but he rarely speaks. His face does all the talking. Lee Van Cleef (who was re-cast by Leone as a separate character in \"The Good, the Bad and the Ugly\") manages to turn Mortimer into one of the quintessential bad guys of cinema. Although the dubbing can occasionally detract from the flow of scenes and dialogue, the two lead performances by Eastwood and Van Cleef more than compensate for this slight flaw.
Hollywood was cautious about releasing \"Dollars.\" Eastwood, known for his role in the television series \"Rawhide,\" was the only marketable star. The director was an unknown Italian with no commercial successes. As its predecessor before it, \"For a Few Dollars More\" was delayed release in the States, where it was deemed \"unworthy.\"
However, the movie was a huge success in Italy, in particular; Clint Eastwood quickly gained a cult fan base overseas, but it was not until May 1967 -- after the US release of \"The Good, the Bad and the Ugly\" -- that \"For a Few Dollars More\" and its predecessor would open to critical accolade and deserved celebration in the United States. Now, almost forty years later, it\'s still a fascinating piece of classic cinema.
As the second of the three films legendary filmmaker Sergio Leone collaborated on with Clint Eastwood (not to mention his first with Lee Van Cleef and his second with \'Fistful\' actor Gian Maria Volonte), For a Few Dollars More gets well earned respect from the fans of the director and the groundbreaking star. And yet, occasionally there are those who\'ll not even know this film from Leone and Clint exists since it does sometimes get under the shadow of their two most infamous works, Fistful of Dollars (which for the most part introduced Clint and Leone to the public\'s awareness) and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (which solidified Clint as a Western icon and gave Leone a similar status for film buffs). But taken as a film unto itself, aside from its place in the trilogy, this is a Western that simply delivers the goods, and it does so with a spectacular marriage of style and substance.
The story begins by introducing our two (anti) heroes, bounty hunters Douglas Mortimer (Cleef), former Colonel, and Monco (Eastwood), a drifter. They both set their sights on the leader of a gang of bandits named Indio (Volonte), who is plotting to go after over a million locked in a bank in El Paso. At first, Monco and Mortimer seem like their after Indio for the same reason- reward money- though there seems to be more than each man counted on with him and his gang.
From the opening scenes with Cleef and Eastwood, to the scenes in El Paso, and then into the set pieces in the stone ruins in the Mexico desert(s), For a Few Dollars More displays the utmost skill by Leone in his storytelling, as well as in his use of the camera. Using Fistful\'s camera-man Massimo Dallamano, Leone does what he does best in his spaghetti westerns- he creates a perfectly in sync mood with his characters: each look in a scene, whether it\'s intense waiting for guns to be drawn, or just regular conversation, the look of the film draws the viewer in without over-doing it. Some points are made bold or repetitious (like Ennio Morricone\'s score, that keeps its whistling theme and serene watch theme completely in check), though it\'s not done to any degree of annoyance or by accident.
In fact, that\'s what makes his westerns such fun, is that you take them seriously as films, yet he always reminds you that it\'s all in the \'movie-world\' just by the way Mortimer or Monco strikes up a match. As for the actors themselves, Eastwood and Cleef are total pros in this genre, so ever line of dialog comes out naturally, and the supporting actors (however dubbed over from original Italian) all contribute great notes as well. At the least, it can appeal to a new generation of kids looking back to older movies, which may look at this and consider it more modernly crafted than a John Ford oldie. A+
\"For a Few Dollars More\" has become the template for which most Spaghetti Westerns derive.
As Leone went along, his films got more daring and complex, exploring new ideas and raising not only the bar for Spaghetti Westerns (which, contrary to popular belief, were around before \"A Fistful of Dollars\") but for Westerns in general. However, this exploration at times affected the quality of his films. Leone was a popcorn director - a visual stylist who always entertained first and maybe provoked a thought or two second. However, his films were never think pieces so when he tried to integrate depth into his films the results became uneven.
\"For a Few Dollars More\" is his best film because it catches Leone in his most transitional period. At once the film is more complex and stylized than \"A Fistful...\" and more tight and efficient than \"The Good, the Bad and The Ugly\" (which is almost on par with \"For a Few...\"). The revenge sub-plot involving Colonel Mortimer is more compelling than the similar one in Leone\'s \"Once Upon a Time in the West\" because Mortimer is more developed as a character than the Harmonica Player (which is not to insult the great Charles Bronson).
And hell, it has Lee Van Cleef as one of the biggest bad-asses of all time. The mere presence of Colonel Douglas Mortimer elevates the film to a new level. He steals the film from \"Manco\" completely. And Van Cleef\'s theft of the film is what makes it a cut above \"A Fistful...\". As a character, \"The Man With No Name\" (who in actuality has three: Joe, Manco and Blondie) isn\'t very interesting and there always needs to be a counterpoint to play off of him. That\'s why \"A Fistful...\" isn\'t nearly as good as this film or \"The Good...\" (which had the great Eli Wallach in one of the best scenery munching performances ever).
So in closing, \"For a Few...\" is a tight masterpiece of fluff Western entertainment. It\'s mean, violent and immoral, just the way any good Spaghetti Western should be.
# Sergio Leone originally wanted Lee Marvin for the role of Douglas Mortimer.
# Aldo Sambrell\'s character name \"Cochelio\" is the English spelling of the Spanish word \"cuchillo\", which means knife.
# Lee Van Cleef claimed to be faster on the draw than Clint Eastwood. He took three frames of film (one eighth of a second) to draw, cock and fire
# The safe that Indio robs with his gang in El Paso contains Confederate dollar notes.
# The Man With No Name (Clint Eastwood) calls himself Monco in this film. \"Monco\" is Italian for \"one handed\" or \"one armed\", which is pretty appropriate considering his habit of fighting, drinking, etc with his left hand only. His right hand always remains on his gun underneath his trademark poncho.
# Although Clint Eastwood\'s poncho was never washed during the production of the \"Dollar\" trilogy, it was mended. In the final scene of Per un pugno di dollari (1964), the poncho is pierced by seven bullets from Ramon\'s Winchester. In the sequel, Eastwood wears the same poncho back-to-front and the mending of the bullet holes is clearly visible in several scenes. The mended area, originally on the left breast, is now worn over the right shoulder blade.
# \"Monco\" is NOT the same character as \"Joe\" in Per un pugno di dollari (1964). This was the finding of an Italian court that adjudicated the lawsuit brought by Jolly Films, producer of \"A Fistful of Dollars\". After the release of the first film, director Sergio Leone had a falling out with the producers and made this sequel with a different producer, Alberto Grimaldi. Jolly Films sued, claiming ownership of the \"Joe\" character, but lost when the court decided that the western gunfighter\'s persona, characterized by the costume and mannerisms, belonged to the public domain\'s folklore.
# Sergio Leone also considered Robert Ryan for the role of Col. Mortimer, being a fan of his performance in The Naked Spur (1953).
# On its 1969 re-release it was double-billed with \"A Fistful of Dollars.\"