Saturday, April 10, 2010
"For a Few Dollars More" and the lesson about a fair fight for justice
Title: For a Few Dollars More
Genre: Spaghetti Western, part 2
Notable for: Cementing Clint's international stardom
Clint's subliminal message: "No sophomore jinx here."
Right from the start we reject the idea "For a Few Dollars More" is Clint's first sequel. It is not a sequel.
The movie poster said "The Man with No Name is Back," which is a lie on two fronts. Once again, Clint's character has a name. He's "Monco." He is identified by name early in the film. Second, even though Monco dresses and acts the same as Clint's character in "A Fistful of Dollars," Monco is a well-known "bounty killer." There was never a clue Clint had that profession in the first movie.
Most telling, the same actor who played the evil Ramon in the first movie, Gian Maria Volonte, is back as a different villain, the evil Indio. A sequel would have to make Indio out to be Ramon's twin brother seeking revenge on Clint, or something equally asinine.
But perhaps we are a tad too anal on this point.
"For A Few Dollars More" has the same director, Sergio Leone, and all the same general ingredients as "Fistful of Dollars" except for low expectations.
This second effort did not disappoint anyone but critics of the era, who were stupidly intent on failing to see Clint's character was more than selfish and murderous.
Casual viewers must be smarter than critics, because they saw Clint had more than homicide in his character.
Clint sets out after Indio and his gang of vicious misfits, who have huge rewards on their heads. He quickly encounters a second bounty killer played magnificently by Lee Van Cleef. Their first encounter is a great scene where each man calmly shoots the other man's hat, with Van Cleef besting Clint in firepower. They join up to pursue Indio in what seems a partnership destined to end in betrayal.
But it does not end in betrayal. It ends in a real sense of honor, and maybe even friendship.
Along the way, Clint figures out that Van Cleef has personal reasons to want revenge on Indio. Indio once raped Van Cleef's sister, who committed suicide by shooting herself in mid rape. Indio is such a creep he pines for the dead rape victim.
Indio gets the advantage on Van Cleef and is about to kill him near the end of the film. That's when Clint comes to the rescue. Instead of shooting Indio dead, Clint evens the playing field between Van Cleef and Indio, then sits down to watch their gunfight.
Naturally, Van Cleef kills the scumbag. He then tells Clint to keep all the bounty money.
Only then does the audience see this was not a movie about killing for money. It was a movie about finding justice, or at least just revenge.
The lesson from Clint's character was real men recognize justice and want it to have a fair fight. They also enjoy kick-ass theme music heavy on whistling.
Next up: "The Witches."