FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE
(aka: Per qualche dollaro in piu)
(director/writer: Sergio Leone; screenwriter: Fulvio Morsella; cinematographer: Massimo Dallamano; editors: Eugenio Alabiso/Adriana Novelli/Giorgio Serrallonga; music: Ennio Morricone; cast: Clint Eastwood (The Man With No Name), Lee Van Cleef (Col. Douglas Mortimer), Gian Maria Volonte (Indio), Josef Egger (Old Man Over Railway), Rosemarie Dexter (Colonel’s Sister), Mara Krup (Hotel Manager’s Wife), Klaus Kinski (Wild, hunchback); Runtime: 130; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Arturo González/Alberto Grimaldi; MGM/UA Home Entertainment; 1965)
“The amoral film should give the less hardy pause as to its relevance or worth or endorsement for vigilante justice.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
This is the second and better crafted film in Sergio Leone’s “Dollar” trilogy, with A Fistful of Dollars before and The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly to follow. It’s an over-the-top in sadistic violence spaghetti western, that carves out a new antihero niche in the western genre from those more straight-laced heroic formulaic good guy ones that starred such safe white hatted icons as Gene Autry, Roy Rogers and John Wayne. The film is a prime example of style over substance, as it uses a jarringly fast-moving pace to keep things pulsating. But with so many killings, including the gratuitous killing of a woman and a baby, the amoral film should give the less hardy pause as to its relevance or worth or endorsement for vigilante justice.
Two bounty hunters, the laconic and cynical The Man with No Name (Clint Eastwood) and the revenge seeking Colonel Douglas Mortimer (Lee Van Cleef), are soulless men who believe “where life has no value, death, sometimes, has its price.” The men are consumed with collecting reward money and individually pursue wanted homicidal maniac El Indio (Gian Maria Volonte), until they realize that they are after the same man and form a shaky partnership, where each doesn’t completely trust the other. The partners help Indio bust out of jail. After their man robs the fortress-like El Paso Bank, while riding with a vicious gang, the partners become outsiders working with the gang. In the final shootout we learn the Colonel’s motivation for pursuing Indio is more than just money–Indio raped and killed the Colonel’s sister. According to the filmmaker, the sicko is worth taking out vigilante style because he’s such a bad dude who is willing to kill his own gang just for kicks or to kill them to get a bigger share of the booty or kill anyone because that’s his nature.
It’s overlong, the characters are cartoonish and its ode to violence is not suitable for all tastes, but if you can somehow get by these faults you can revel in such set piece delights as Van Cleef striking a match on the back of an outlaw hunchback’s neck. The hunchback is none other than Klaus Kinski.
REVIEWED ON 7/20/2007 GRADE: B-