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FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE

SYNOPSIS:
In the Old West, a gang of bandits led by the grandstanding Indio (Gian Maria Volente) is pursued by two bounty hunters, Manko (Clint Eastwood) and Colonel Douglas Mortimer (Lee van Cleef) who establish a wary friendship and decide to team up and attack simultaneously, “one on the outside, one on the inside”. However, as Manko joins Indio’s gang prior to an ambitious bank robbery they have planned, the two find themselves competing against each other as well as the men they’re trying to hunt down.


Review by Jake Wilson:
More a follow-up than a literal sequel to Fistful of Dollars, For A Few Dollars More keeps many of the same stylistic moves but raises the stakes. Where the original film had a single lone gunman, this one has two, creating many more opportunities for comedy – it’s the story of a friendship between two men whose mutual respect doesn’t stop them from relentlessly trying to outfox one another. 

Perhaps because Leone felt that the Eastwood myth was established once and for all in the first film, this one really belongs to Lee van Cleef, who gives a lovely performance – with his air of amused caution, he’s a very human embodiment of ruthlessness, and a nice contrast to Eastwood’s avenging angel (whose motivations here are cryptic, to say the least). Considering when the film was made the violence quotient is remarkably high, but equally striking is Leone’s respect for intelligence: the cunning of his two protagonists is matched by his own skill at staying one step ahead of the viewer, as we try to figure out who has the upper hand at each moment. 

Looser and more relaxed as well as more elaborate than Fistful, the film is best appreciated as a series of outrageous set-pieces, from a shooting contest between the two leads to a parody of Christianity (the gang boss preaches to his men like Jesus at the Last Supper) that recalls the calculated blasphemies of Luis Bunuel. 

There’s also a sketched-out version of Leone’s beloved flashback structure, used in subsequent films to increasingly Gothic effect. Here the joking about death is sardonic more than truly ghastly – for cheerful black humour, the final riding-off-into-the-sunset gag can’t be beat. As a double feature, this and the earlier film are excellent value, though to my mind Leone didn’t hit his peak till The Good The Bad And The Ugly – where a third member of the triangle, the wonderful Eli Wallach, takes over the narrative and raises the stakes once again.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS
THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE (M)
(Italy/Spain/Germany/Monaco, 1965)

Per qualche dollaro in più

CAST: Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, Gian Maria Volonté, Mara Krupp, Luigi Pistilli, Klaus Kinski, Joseph Egger, Panos Papadopulos, Benito Stefanelli

PRODUCER: Alberto Grimaldi

DIRECTOR: Sergio Leone

SCRIPT: Sergio Leone, Luciano Vincenzoni, Fernando Di Leo, Sergio Donati (story by Sergio Leone, Fulvio Morsella)

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Massimo Dallamano

EDITOR: Eugenio Alabiso, Adriana Novelli, Giorgio Serrallonga

MUSIC: Ennio Morricone

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Carlo Simi

OTHER: Language - Italian

RUNNING TIME: 130 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Chapel Distribution

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: Melbourne: February 19, 2004; Sydney: tba







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