For a Few Dollars More

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For a Few Dollars More
For a Few Dollars More-ita-poster.jpg
Italian theatrical release poster
Directed by Sergio Leone
Produced by Alberto Grimaldi
Screenplay by Luciano Vincenzoni
Sergio Leone
Uncredited:
Sergio Donati
English Version:
Luciano Vincenzoni[1]
Story by Sergio Leone
Fulvio Morsella
Uncredited:
Enzo Dell'Aquila
Fernando Di Leo[1]
Starring Clint Eastwood
Lee Van Cleef
Gian Maria Volontè
Luigi Pistilli
Aldo Sambrell
Klaus Kinski
Mario Brega
Music by Ennio Morricone
Cinematography Massimo Dallamano
Edited by Eugenio Alabiso
Giorgio Serrallonga
Production
company
Produzioni Europee Associati (PEA)
Arturo González Producciones Cinematográficas
Distributed by PEA (Italy)
United Artists (US & UK)
Release date
  • 18 November 1965 (1965-11-18) (Italy)
Running time
132 minutes
Country Italy
Spain
Language Italian
English
Budget $600,000[2][3]
Box office $15 million[4]

For a Few Dollars More (Italian: Per qualche dollaro in più) is a 1965 Italian-Spanish spaghetti western film directed by Sergio Leone and starring Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, and Gian Maria Volontè.[5] German actor Klaus Kinski also plays a supporting role as a secondary villain. The film was released in the United States in 1967, and is the second part of what is commonly known as the Dollars Trilogy, following A Fistful of Dollars and preceding The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. These three films catapulted Eastwood into stardom.[6]

Film historian Richard Schickel, in his biography of Clint Eastwood, believed that this was the best film in the trilogy, arguing that it was "more elegant and complex than A Fistful of Dollars and more tense and compressed than The Good, the Bad and the Ugly." Director Alex Cox considered the church scene to be one of "the most horrible deaths" of any Western, describing Volontè's Indio as the "most diabolical Western villain of all time."[7]

Plot[edit]

Manco (the Man with No Name) and Colonel Douglas Mortimer are two bounty killers who join in pursuit of the ruthless, clever and brutal criminal, "El Indio". He has a musical pocketwatch that he plays before engaging in gun duels: "When the chimes finish, begin," he says. Flashbacks reveal that El Indio took the watch from a young woman whom he found with her lover. He killed the lover and raped the woman, during which she killed herself. There is a photograph of the woman inside the cover of the watch.

Mortimer and Manco are then shown in separate incidents hunting down and killing criminals and collecting bounty on them. Meanwhile, El Indio's gang break into the prison where he is being held and free him, killing the warden and most of the guards. El Indio's next target is the Bank of El Paso and its disguised safe containing "almost a million dollars." The two bounty hunters arrive separately in the town and, after competing against each other, decide to team up against El Indio and his gang. As part of their strategy, Mortimer persuades Manco to join El Indio for the robbery in order to "get him between two fires." So as to be admitted to the gang, Manco breaks one of Indio's friends out of prison.

El Indio's plan includes Manco and others in the gang providing a distraction by robbing another bank in another town, but Manco guns down the gang members and sends a false telegraphic alarm. Once the El Paso sheriff and his posse leave, El Indio and the rest of his gang blast the wall out of the rear of the closely guarded bank and steal the safe but are unable to open it. They ride to the small border town of Agua Caliente, where they see Mortimer. One of El Indio's men, the hunchback Wild, recognizes Mortimer from a previous encounter in which Mortimer had deliberately insulted him. He forces a showdown and Mortimer kills him. Mortimer then proves his worth to El Indio by cracking open the safe without using explosives. El Indio says that he will wait a month before dividing the loot so as to allow the furore over the bank robbery to die down.

When Manco and Mortimer attempt to steal the money, they are caught in the act and beaten. Later, Niño, on orders from El Indio, kills their guard and releases them. El Indio informs his gang that Manco and Mortimer have escaped and sends the men in pursuit, intending to let both sides kill each other while he and Niño take all the loot for themselves. However, Groggy, one of the more intelligent members of the gang, figures out what El Indio is up to and kills Niño. Before he can kill El Indio, he finds that Mortimer has already removed the stolen money.

Next morning, El Indio's men confront Manco and Mortimer in the streets of Agua Caliente and are killed one by one. Standing alone, Mortimer shoots Groggy as he runs for cover, but then has his gun shot out of his hand by El Indio. El Indio then takes out his pocket watch and starts it playing. As the music nears the end, Manco suddenly appears with an identical pocket watch, which plays the same tune as El Indio's and which Mortimer realizes that Manco had taken from him earlier. Now Manco forces El Indio to wait while he gives his own belt and pistol to Mortimer, evening the odds. As the music finishes, Mortimer shoots and kills El Indio.

As Mortimer takes El Indio's pocket watch, Manco remarks on a family resemblance between him and the identical photo in both watch covers. Mortimer replies, "Naturally, between brother and sister". With his revenge complete, he declines his share of the bounty and rides away. Manco tosses the bodies of El Indio and his men into a wagon and, recovering the money stolen from where he had thrown it the night before, rides off into the distance.

Cast[edit]

Leads[edit]

Indio's gang[edit]

Other characters[edit]

  • Dante Maggio as Carpenter in cell with El Indio
  • Diana Rabito as Calloway's girl in tub
  • Giovanni Tarallo as Santa Cruz telegraphist
  • Joseph Egger as Old Prophet
  • Lorenzo Robledo as Tomaso, El Indio's traitor
  • Mara Krupp as Mary, hotel manager's wife
  • Mario Meniconi as Train conductor
  • Roberto Camardiel as Station clerk
  • Sergio Mendizábal as Tucumcari's bank manager
  • Tomás Blanco as Tucumcari's sheriff
  • Antoñito Ruiz as Fernando, Manco's El Paso informant (uncredited)
  • Carlo Simi as El Paso's bank manager (uncredited)
  • Jesús Guzmán as Carpetbagger on train (uncredited)
  • José Terrón as Guy Calloway (uncredited)
  • José Marco as Red "Baby" Cavanagh (uncredited)
  • Guillermo Méndez as White Rocks' sheriff (uncredited)
  • Román Ariznavarreta as Half-Shaved bounty hunter (uncredited)
  • Antonio Palombi as El Paso bartender (uncredited)
  • Diana Faenza as Tomaso's wife (uncredited)
  • Francesca Leone as Tomaso's baby son (uncredited)
  • Kurt Zips as Hotel manager (uncredited)
  • Rosemary Dexter as Mortimer's Sister (uncredited)
  • Peter Lee Lawrence as Mortimer's Brother-in-Law (uncredited)
  • Sergio Leone as Whistling bounty hunter (voice, uncredited)[9]

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

After the box-office success of A Fistful of Dollars in Italy, director Sergio Leone and his new producer, Alberto Grimaldi, wanted to begin production of a sequel, but they needed to get Clint Eastwood to agree to star in it. Eastwood was not ready to commit to a second film when he had not even seen the first. Quickly, the filmmakers rushed an Italian-language print (a U.S. version did not yet exist) of Per un pugno di dollari to him. The star then gathered a group of friends for a debut screening at CBS Production Center and, not knowing what to expect, tried to keep expectations low by downplaying the film. As the reels unspooled, however, Eastwood's concerns proved to be unfounded. The audience may not have understood Italian, but in terms of style and action, the film spoke volumes. "Everybody enjoyed it just as much as if it had been in English", Eastwood recalled. Soon, he was on the phone with the filmmakers' representative: "Yeah, I'll work for that director again", he said. Charles Bronson was again approached for a starring role but he passed, citing that the sequel's script was like the first film.[10] Instead, Lee Van Cleef accepted the role. Eastwood received $50,000 for returning in the sequel, while Van Cleef received $17,000.[2]

Screenwriter Luciano Vincenzoni wrote the film in nine days.[11] However, Leone was dissatisfied with some of the script's dialogue, and hired Sergio Donati to act as an uncredited script doctor.[12]

Production[edit]

The film was shot in Almería, Spain, with interiors done at Rome's Cinecittà Studios.[2] The production designer Carlo Simi built the town of "El Paso" in the Almería desert:[13] it still exists, as a tourist attraction Mini Hollywood.[14] The town of Agua Caliente, where Indio and his gang flee after the bank robbery, is Albaricoques, a small "pueblo blanco" on the Níjar plain.

Post-production[edit]

As all of the film's footage was shot MOS (i.e. without recording sound at time of shooting), Eastwood and Van Cleef returned to Italy where they dubbed over their dialogue, and sound effects were added.[15] Although it is explicitly stated in the movie that the Colonel Mortimer character is originally from the Carolinas, Van Cleef opted to perform his dialogue using his native New Jersey accent rather than a Southern accent.[16]

Music[edit]

The musical score was composed by Ennio Morricone, who previously collaborated with director Leone on A Fistful of Dollars. Under Leone's explicit direction, Morricone began writing the score before production had started, as Leone often shot to the music on set.[17] The music is notable for its blend of diegetic and non-diegetic moments through a recurring motif that originates from the identical pocket watches belonging to El Indio and Colonel Mortimer.[18] "The music that the watch makes transfers your thought to a different place," said Morricone. "The character itself comes out through the watch but in a different situation every time it appears."[19]

For a Few Dollars More
Soundtrack album by Ennio Morricone
Released 1965 (Original album)
Genre Soundtrack
Label RCA Italiana
Ennio Morricone chronology
Se non avessi più te
(1965)Se non avessi più te1965
For a Few Dollars More
(1965)
Idoli controluce
(1966)Idoli controluce1966

A soundtrack album was originally released in Italy by RCA Italiana.[20] In the United States, Hugo Montenegro released a cover version as did Billy Strange and Leroy Holmes who released a cover version of the soundtrack album with the original American poster art. Maurizio Graf sang a vocal "Occhio Per Occhio"/"Eye For An Eye" to the music of the cue "Sixty Seconds to What" track that did not appear in the film but was released as a tie-in 45rpm record.

All tracks written by Ennio Morricone.

Track listing
No. Title Length
1. "La Resa Dei Conti" 3:06
2. "Osservatori Osservati" 2:01
3. "Il Vizio Di Uccidere" 2:24
4. "Il Colpo" 2:21
5. "Addio Colonnello" 1:44
6. "Per Qualche Dollaro In Più" 2:50
7. "Poker D'Assi" 1:15
8. "Carillon" 1:10

Release and reception[edit]

Box office[edit]

For a Few Dollars More was released in Italy in December 1965 as Per Qualche Dollaro in Più.[21] In the United States, the film debuted on 10 May 1967, four months after the release of A Fistful of Dollars, grossing $5 million.[21]

At the time of its Italian release, the film proved to be even more commercially successful than its predecessor.[22] By 1967, the film became the highest-grossing film of any nationality in the history of Italian cinema.[23]

It was the seventh most popular movie at the French box office in 1966, after La Grande Vadrouille, Dr Zhivago, Is Paris Burning?, A Fistful of Dollars and Lost Command and A Man and a Woman.[24]

Critical reception[edit]

Although, it initially received mediocre reviews from critics. Bosley Crowther of The New York Times said, "The fact that this film is constructed to endorse the exercise of murderers, to emphasize killer bravado and generate glee in frantic manifestations of death is, to my mind, a sharp indictment of it as so-called entertainment in this day."[25] Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times described the film as "one great old Western cliché after another" and that the film "is composed of situations and not plots."[26]

The film has since grown in popularity, while also gaining more positive feedback from contemporary critics. The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reports a 94% approval rating with an average rating of 7.8/10 based on 33 reviews. The website's consensus reads, "With Clint Eastwood in the lead, Ennio Morricone on the score, and Sergio Leone's stylish direction, For a Few Dollars More earns its recognition as a genre classic."[27]

In a retrospective review of the Dollars Trilogy, Paul Martinovic of Den of Geek said, "For A Few Dollars More is often overlooked in the trilogy, awkwardly sandwiched between both the original film and the best-known, but it's a stunning film in its own right."[28] Paolo Sardinas of MovieWeb said, "Eastwood gives it his all and turns in another iconic performance along with scene stealer Lee Van Cleef, who helps make For a Few Dollars More twice as good as its predecessor."[29]

In popular culture[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Cox, 2009
  2. ^ a b c Hughes, p. 8
  3. ^ Munn, p. 54
  4. ^ "For a Few Dollars More, Box Office Information". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 22 January 2013. 
  5. ^ Variety film review; 16 February 1966, p. 6
  6. ^ McGilligan, Patrick (2015). Clint: The Life and Legend (updated and revised). New York: OR Books. ISBN 978-1-939293-96-1. 
  7. ^ Cox, Alex. "Blood, Guts, and Bullets". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 July 2016. 
  8. ^ Sergio Leone Web Board. Retrieved 26 January 2010
  9. ^ Sir Christopher Frayling, For a Few Dollars More audio commentary. Retrieved 3 May 2014
  10. ^ Munn, p. 53
  11. ^ Schwartz, John (25 September 2013). "Luciano Vincenzoni, Screenwriter, Dies at 87". The New York Times. Retrieved 7 January 2014. 
  12. ^ For a Few Dollars More (Tre Voci - For a Few Dollars More) (Blu-ray disc). Los Angeles, California: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. 1967. 
  13. ^ Munn, p. 56
  14. ^ Frayling, Christopher (2006) [1981]. "Preface". Spaghetti Westerns: Cowboys and Europeans from Karl May to Sergio Leone. New York, USA: I.B. Tauris. p. ix. ISBN 1-84511-207-5. 
  15. ^ Munn, p. 57
  16. ^ Sir Christopher Frayling, For a Few Dollars More audio commentary. Retrieved 1 June 2014
  17. ^ Hodgkinson, Will (14 July 2006). "A Fistful of Dollars? It's my worst ever score'". The Guardian. Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 15 March 2015. 
  18. ^ Leinberger, Charles (1 September 2004). Ennio Morricone's The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: A Film Score Guide. Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press. p. 35. 
  19. ^ Doran, John (8 April 2010). "Ennio Morricone Interviewed: "Compared To Bach, I'm Practically Unemployed"". The Quietus. Retrieved 16 March 2015. 
  20. ^ Smith, Jeffrey (15 November 1998). The Sounds of Commerce: Marketing Popular Film Music. Columbia University Press. p. 135. 
  21. ^ a b c Hughes, p. 10
  22. ^ Hughes, Howard (9 December 2004). Once Upon a Time in the Italian West: A Filmgoer's Guide to Spaghetti Westerns. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 53. 
  23. ^ Smith, Jeffrey Paul (15 November 1998). The Sounds of Commerce: Marketing Popular Film Music. Columbia University Press. p. 135. Retrieved 17 March 2015. 
  24. ^ "French Box Office 1966". Box Office Story. 
  25. ^ Crowther, Bosley (4 July 1967). "Screen: 'For Few Dollars More' Opens: Trans-Lux West Shows New Eastwood Film 2 Rivals in Murder Are Presented as Heroes". The New York Times. Retrieved 17 March 2015. 
  26. ^ Ebert, Roger (15 May 1967). "For a Few Dollars More (1967)". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 17 March 2015. 
  27. ^ "For a Few Dollars More (Per Qualche Dollaro in Più)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved 16 March 2015. 
  28. ^ Martinovic, Paul (18 January 2013). "Looking back at Sergio Leone’s Dollars trilogy". Den of Geek. Dennis Publishing. Retrieved 17 March 2015. 
  29. ^ Sardinas, Paolo (21 September 2009). "For a Few Dollars More DVD". MovieWeb. WATCHR Media. Retrieved 17 March 2015. 

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]