My Name Is Nobody

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My Name is Nobody
(Il mio nome è Nessuno)
My name is nobody.jpg
film poster by Renato Casaro
Directed by Tonino Valerii
Sergio Leone (Uncredited)
Produced by Fulvio Morsella
Claudio Mancini
Written by Ernesto Gastaldi
Story by Sergio Leone
Fulvio Morsella
Ernesto Gastaldi
Starring Terence Hill
Henry Fonda
Jean Martin
Music by Ennio Morricone
Cinematography Giuseppe Ruzzolini
Armando Nannuzzi (USA)
Edited by Nino Baragli
Production
company
Rafran Cinematografica
Les Films Jacques Leitienne
Imp.Ex.Ci.
Alcinter
Rialto Film Preben-Philipsen
Distributed by Titanus Distribuzione (Italy)
Universal Pictures (US)
Release dates
  • December 1973 (1973-12)
Running time
116 minutes
Country Italy
France
West Germany[1][2]
Language Italian

My Name is Nobody (Italian: ''Il mio nome è Nessuno''), also known as Gellert, is a 1973 Spaghetti Western comedy film. The film was directed by Tonino Valerii and, in some scenes, by Sergio Leone.[3] It was written by Leone, Fulvio Morsella and Ernesto Gastaldi. Leone was also the uncredited executive producer. The cast includes Terence Hill, Henry Fonda, and Jean Martin.[4]

The title of the movie alludes to the reply Odysseus gave when Polyphemus the Cyclops asked his name.

Plot[edit]

Jack Beauregard (Henry Fonda) is an aging legendary gunslinger who wants to retire in peace in Europe to get away from young gunmen constantly trying to test themselves against the master. The film opens with three gunmen attempting to ambush Beauregard in a barbershop. After Beauregard has dispatched them, the barber's son asks his father if there is anyone in the world faster than Beauregard, to which the barber replies "Faster than him? Nobody!"

After getting off a river ferry Beauregard watches a bum (Terence Hill) trying to catch fish. He then carries on to an old goldmine, only to find a dying acquaintance (Red), who has just been shot by a gang. Beauregard asks what happened and about the whereabouts of a certain Nevada, but Red only manages to disclose Nevada's village (Acoma).

At a horse relay station the bum is asked by three men to deliver a basket to a certain person inside. It turns out to be Beauregard, who is being informed by the post office boy that his ship to Europe will sail within sixteen days from New Orleans, at a ticket price of $500. The bum impresses Beauregard with his knowledge of the latter's track record, and then throws the basket outside. A bomb inside the basket explodes, leaving the three men in disarray. The bum identifies himself as "Nobody". "Nobody" idolizes Beauregard and wants him to increase his fame by facing off the Wild Bunch single-handed. The Wild Bunch are a gang of 150 bandits who use a fake goldmine to launder their train robbery gold loot. The owner of the goldmine (Sullivan) has a hunch Beauregard is out to kill him, so he tries to get to him first. Hence the two previous attacks on Beauregard. The Wild Bunch however want Sullivan to focus on keeping his reputation clean.

At Acoma, Beauregard is awaited by Nobody, who reveals that Nevada is dead by showing him his grave. It turns out that Nevada was Beauregard's brother. Again Nobody challenges him to face the Wild Bunch. Again Beauregard declines, and notices that Nobody's saddle is decorated with mirrored conchas.

Nobody arrives at a saloon town. After humiliating the local gunslingers with his drawing speed and accuracy, he is summoned to a private poker room up in the saloon. There he is awaited by Sullivan, who offers him a lavish bounty to kill Beauregard. Nobody agrees, but Sullivan doesn't trust him, and sets up some men of his own around town as a back-up plan. When Beauregard arrives in town, Nobody indeed has no intention of killing him, but on the contrary helps him do away with Sullivan's men. Then, the Wild Bunch rides into town, to collect sticks of dynamite, caching them in their saddles bags, which are decorated with mirrored conchas (much like Nobody's). They ride out again, uninterested in Beauregard and Nobody.

An old resident of the town then tells Beauregard that he was bought out of a derelict gold mine by Nevada and Red, only to see them make a deal with Sullivan afterwards. Miraculously, the mine then started producing prodigious amounts of gold. Nobody walks in, again urging Beauregard to face the Wild Bunch, for sport. Beauregard hurries off to the gold mine.

At the gold mine, he catches Sullivan loading sacks of gold powder. Sullivan, afraid Beauregard is about to revenge his brother, tells him that it was Red who killed Nevada. He offers Beauregard Nevada's share in the mine. Beauregard tells him he couldn't care less about his despicable brother, and just takes two sacks, and $500 out of Sullivan's wallet. He asks where he can catch a train to New Orleans, and then leaves.

A train is being loaded with bars of gold, under the protection of US troops. Nobody tricks the driver and manages to steal the train under their noses. In the mean time, Beauregard has arrived at the train stop, an open spot in the middle of the desert, but the Wild Bunch turn up before the train and he chases away his horse to prepare making a last stand against them. Nobody turns up with the stolen train but refuses to let him on it, insisting he must fight. Beauregard smiles and returns to his shooting station. Then, as Nobody had anticipated, he suddenly remembers the mirroring conchas, and aims at them. One by one they explode, blowing up most of the Wild Bunch. He escapes with Nobody on the train. However, Nobody tells Beauregard that he still has to die.

In New Orleans, Beauregard and Nobody finally face each other in a street duel, with lots of spectators and even a photographer. Nobody draws faster and Beauregard falls to the ground, apparently dead. A few days later, Nobody walks by the ship that was to take Beauregard to Europe. A sign with the text "Jack Beauregard, 1848 - 1899. Nobody was faster on the draw." has been erected. However, it is revealed that Beauregard is in his cabin, awaiting departure. He and Nobody staged his death, allowing him to retire peacefully in Europe. Thinking Beauregard is actually dead, the Wild Bunch turn their attention to Nobody, who playfully eludes their attacks. Beauregard writes Nobody a fond farewell letter, reflecting on changing times and the gone romanticism of gunslinging.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

By the 1970s, the spaghetti Western had almost become a parody of itself. The serious westerns were primarily violent, low-budget films that were barely distributed outside of Italy. Meanwhile, slapstick parodies of the genre were becoming more popular. Sergio Leone and his team decided that if anyone was going to make the ultimate "joke" version of the genre, they should be the ones. Terence Hill was cast not only for box-office, but because he had in a short time become something of an icon of the genre. Hill had started the comedy spaghetti craze with the hugely successful movies They Call Me Trinity and its sequel Trinity Is Still My Name. With the casting of the classic Westerner Henry Fonda, the contrast between the old and new (dying) West was clear.

Inside jokes in the film include invocations of director Sam Peckinpah: his name on a tombstone, the villains being known as "the Wild Bunch", and use of the duster coats which Peckinpah vigorously espoused on screen.

R.G. Armstrong (erroneously credited with middle initial "K"), Geoffrey Lewis, and Steve Kanaly also appear in the film, which was shot in New Mexico, New Orleans, and Leone's favorite Spanish locales in Almeria. This is the second time Fonda worked with Leone, the former being Fonda's first turn as a villain, in the classic Once Upon a Time in the West. Noted French actor Jean Martin plays the film's main antagonist.

Leone directed several scenes of the film, including the opening scene and the final showdown with the Wild Bunch, but Tonino Valerii was the overall director. After the film's release, it was promoted as a Sergio Leone film, much to the frustration of both men.

Music[edit]

The musical score, by longtime Leone collaborator Ennio Morricone, is a very eclectic one and incorporates a large range of styles.

The main theme for the Nobody character presages many of his later non-Western scores. Morricone's adaptation of Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries, which combines with the wailing voices from The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly for the Wild Bunch's theme is typical of the movie's sense of humor. Traces of music from "Once Upon a Time in the West" can also be heard.

The main theme was later used for the 2004 BBC3 black comedy Nighty Night.

Release and influence[edit]

It was released under various names in Italy, America, France, and West Germany.

The film was Fonda's final western, filmed in Mogollon, Acoma Pueblo and Gallup, New Mexico; Colorado; New Orleans, Louisiana; and Spain. Hill has said it remains his favorite film among those in which he starred, largely because of Sergio Leone's involvement.

A loose sequel, titled A Genius, Two Partners and a Dupe (also called Nobody's the Greatest), was released in 1975.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Il Mio Nome e Essuno". British Film Institute. Retrieved November 11, 2012. 
  2. ^ Erickson, Hal. "My Name is Nobody". Allmovie. Retrieved November 11, 2012. 
  3. ^ Frayling, Christopher. Sergio Leone: Something to Do With Death , Faber & Faber, 2000. ISBN 0-571-16438-2
  4. ^ The New York Times

External links[edit]