Friday, November 7, 2008

For a Few Dollars More

Per Qualche Dollaro in Piu; Western, Italy/ Spain/ Germany, 1965; D: Sergio Leone, S: Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, Gian Maria Volontè, Mara Krupp, Luigi Pistilli, Klaus Kinski

Dressed in black, Colonel Douglas Mortimer is a bounty hunter. He exits from a train, kills a bandit and gets 1.000 $ for him. The blond cowboy without a name is also a bounty hunter and collects a 2.000 $ award for a dead bandit. Both of them are attracted by gangster Indio who escaped from prison and whose bounty is set at record 10.000 $. In order to get him, the cowboy joins his gang, freeing his friend from prison. The gang storms a bank and takes the safe with them. When Douglas introduces himself as a safe cracker, they see through him and tie him up together with the cowboy. But they escape and kills them all. Indio raped Douglas' sister. Thus Douglas leaves all the corpses to the cowboy.

After he made a big hit with "A Fistful of Dollars", director Sergio Leone decided that his his 3rd feature film should be it's sequel. "For a Few Dollars More" seems like a stupid western in a trash production equipped with a brilliant director. And indeed it is. Leone chooses primitive despots and irritating characters as his protagonists to create a "rough" and ugly feel, yet he cleverly rounds them up in a harmonic whole, thus breaking a lot of disapproval of critics from his first film. "For a Few Dollars More" is even better than the following "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" and has a very confident and often comical style. Among the bad guys is also the excellent Klaus Kinski: he doesn't have a lot of dialogs, but is hilarious in the tense scene where Douglas enters the saloon with a pipe in his mouth and lights his match on his back - but Kinski's character then turns around and daringly extinguishes it. What happens next is something that has to be seen. There's also a neat scene where a revolver shoots and starts the wheel with the first shot and stops it with his second one. Leone's ideas and icons were obviously so influential that Eastwood spent the next 30 years of his career imitating him in westerns where he would direct himself, but rarely with such grace as here. Great rhythm and editing that give it class, even though the dramatic moments of Douglas' killed sister are unsuccessfully cold.


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