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FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE (1965) ****

Clint Eastwood returns as The Man with No Name in Sergio Leone’s dynamic sequel to A Fistful of Dollars.  This time he’s a bounty hunter who teams up with a rival named Mortimer (Lee Van Cleef) to catch a despicable criminal named Indio (Gian Maria Volonte).  The Man with No Name infiltrates Indio’s gang and helps them rob a few banks to up the reward money while Mortimer watches his back from the outside.  Naturally it ends in a violent shootout.

 

Whereas the first film was a remake of Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo, this one is wholly original and frees Leone up to do whatever the Hell he wants, which is a good thing.  Although I prefer the original to For A Few Dollars More, this one is bigger and bolder than its predecessor and is equally as fun.  The opening scenes where Van Cleef and Eastwood collect various bounties on an assortment of greasy villains are awesome.  Leone takes his time to establish the two characters and their ingenuity and cold-bloodedness help to endear them to the audience.  The shootouts are all over the top, violent, and drawn out (the climatic showdown in particular), but in a good way.  This way you get to savor every melodramatic eye squint, every little bead of sweat, and every note of Ennio Morricone’s wonderful score.  The film’s most memorable set piece comes when Eastwood and Van Cleef show off their stuff by shooting each other’s hats.

 

Eastwood is yet again magnificent in the role of The Man with No Name.  You just can’t say enough good things about the man, especially in the Dollars movies.  The welcome addition of Van Cleef to the series adds another layer to the film.  Even though Van Cleef is almost solely out for revenge, he gives his character a measure of dignity and pathos and he’s particularly good in his scenes with Eastwood.  As the villain Indio, Gian Maria Volonte also delivers more depth than you would expect and the way that he plays his music box during each shootout is quite unnerving.  The supporting performances are also memorable with special mention going to Klaus Kinski as the hunchback, Joseph Eggar as the train hating prospector, and Luigi (Twitch of the Death Nerve) Pistilli, as Indio’s second in command.    

 

Leone would up the ante yet again the following year with The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

 

According to The Video Vacuum, For a Few Dollars More is the best movie of 1965, sitting on top of such classics as Faster, Pussycat!  Kill!  Kill! and The Sons of Katie Elder.

 

AKA:  A Few Dollars More.  AKA:  For Some Dollars More.

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