Plot Summary: Before he was Dirty Harry, Clint Eastwood was ‘the man with no name’ in spaghetti westerns like this 1967 classic by director Sergio Leone. Riding a bounty hunter’s trail with Lee Van Cleef, Clint’s rough, tough and not too talkative.
Music by: Ennio Morricone
Writers: Leone (scenario & screenplay), Fulvio Morsella (scenario), Luciano Vincenzoni (screenplay and English-version dialogue), Fernando Di Leo (uncredited), Sergio Donati (uncredited)
Also Stars: Gian Maria Volonté
Serious Jest: (Must See) I enjoyed the swagger of A Fistful of Dollars, but had some reservations about the quality of its script. This second installment in the “Dollars Trilogy” thematic series had all the swagger of Fistful, including awesome music and sick camera work, but also improved in the quality of script. It seemed that this story was more thought out, including plot twists and better character development, whereas Fistful’s story appeared to be put in place merely to set up cool tag lines and posturing between Eastwood and Volonté. There was pretty heavy action in this second film, too: the total kill count was 30.
Eastwood continued to show the world why he would eventually be regarded as one of the baddest mofos to ever grace the silver screen. Volonté was crazier and more ruthless in this film than he was in the first, and I loved it! Last but not least, Van Cleef may have stolen the show as the man in black, veteran bounty hunter Col. Douglas Mortimer…it wasn’t clear who the bigger badass was. In fact, Van Cleef claimed to be faster on the draw than Eastwood. He only took three frames of film (one eighth of a second) to draw, cock and fire!
All in all, this film is a classic, and a great representative of what the spaghetti Western has to offer. About midway through, the pace dramatically slowed to an almost-boring pace (although my perception may have been a bit clouded by beer-induced sleepiness), but it soon picked back up again, and the movie ended very strongly. I recommend that you set aside some time to watch this flick at some point, preferably with some alcohol and a friend that enjoys spaghetti Westerns, B movies, or campy films.