Upbeat Cynicism

what do you mean i lost my mind?

For A Few Dollars More, 1965

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Oddly enough, I had never seen this all the way through. I had definitely seen snatches of it, out of sequence and out of context, because various parts of the movie were quite familiar, and the music as well. But as a whole, I had never seen it, and I’ve seen most of Leone’s work.

And lo, it is a classic. Oh, sure, it’s overshadowed by The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly and Once Upon A Time In The West. But put it next to almost anything else, and it holds its own, or more likely stomps all over the competition.

In For A Few Dollars More, Clint Eastwood returns as The Man Who Has A Name But It’s Not Very Important. ((Sorry, but he has a name in every one of the “Man With No Name” trilogy, and it’s different in each.)) He’s a “bounty killer”, a guy who hunts down wanted men and brings them back dead for the reward.

However, he’s got some competition — another bounty killer named Colonel Mortimer (Lee Van Cleef).

When a desperado named Indio busts out of prison, a reward of $10,000 is posted, and both bounty killers start after him. They eventually meet up and forge an uneasy alliance.

Yeah, Van Cleef is a good guy in this one. In fact, he’s more the lead than Eastwood, which rather surprised me.

What surprised me a bit was that I’d always thought this was a loose remake of Kurosawa’s Sanjuro. I’m not sure where I got that impression. Sanjuro is Kurosawa’s sequel to Yojimbo, and Yojimbo is, of course, the story that Leone copied, virtually point by point, for A Fistful of Dollars, so maybe I just figured Leone did the same schtick twice.

But it’s not, not at all. The story is original (at least, as original as Leone gets), and good.

I think the only reason that Ennio Morricone’s score is not considered one of the best ever is that he did The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly just a year later, and outdid himself.

And Lee Van Cleef is, as usual, simply awesome.


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