My Name Is Nobody

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My Name Is Nobody
(Il mio nome è Nessuno)
My name is nobody.jpg
Directed by Tonino Valerii
Uncredited:
Sergio Leone
Produced by Fulvio Morsella
Claudio Mancini
Screenplay by Ernesto Gastaldi
Story by Fulvio Morsella
Ernesto Gastaldi
From an idea by:
Sergio Leone
Starring Terence Hill
Henry Fonda
Music by Ennio Morricone
Cinematography Giuseppe Ruzzolini
Armando Nannuzzi
Edited by Nino Baragli
Production
company
Rafran Cinematografica
Les Films Jacques Leitienne
La Société Imp.Ex.Ci.
La Société 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) is a 1973 Italian 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 film's title alludes to the reply Odysseus gave when Polyphemus the Cyclops asked his name.

Plot[edit]

Jack Beauregard (Henry Fonda) is an aging gunslinger who wants to retire peacefully to Europe. The film opens with three gunmen attempting to ambush him in a barbershop. After he 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!"

Beauregard pauses on his way to watch a bum (Terence Hill) catching 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 about the whereabouts of a certain Nevada, but Red only manages to disclose Nevada's village.

At a horse relay station, the bum is asked by three men to deliver a basket to someone inside who turns out to be Beauregard. The bum impresses Beauregard with his knowledge of the latter's track record, and then throws the basket outside. This contained a bomb and explodes. The bum identifies himself as ‘Nobody’. He idolizes Beauregard and wants him to increase his fame by facing off the 150 members of the Wild Bunch single-handed. The bandits are using a fake goldmine to launder their train loot. The mine owner (Sullivan) thinks Beauregard is out to kill him, and so tries to get him first. The Wild Bunch, however, want Sullivan to focus on keeping his reputation clean.

At Nevada’s village, Beauregard is awaited by ‘Nobody’, who reveals that Nevada is dead. It turns out that Nevada was Beauregard's brother. Again ‘Nobody’ challenges him to face the Wild Bunch. Again Beauregard declines, and chides ‘Nobody’ for drawing attention to himself with his shining saddle decorations.

‘Nobody’ arrives at a saloon town where Sullivan tries to bribe him to kill Beauregard. Instead he helps Beauregard to do away with Sullivan's men. Then the Wild Bunch rides into town to collect sticks of dynamite, caching them in their saddles bags. Later an old resident tells Beauregard that he was bought out of a derelict gold mine by Nevada and Red, only to find the mine producing prodigious amounts of gold afterwards. Beauregard hurries off to the mine and catches Sullivan loading sacks of gold powder. Sullivan offers Beauregard Nevada's share in the mine but Beauregard tells him he couldn't care less about his brother, and just takes two sacks, as well as $500 out of Sullivan's wallet to pay for his passage to Europe. He then leaves to catch a train to New Orleans.

A train is being loaded at a station with bars of gold, under the protection of US troops, when ‘Nobody’ arrives, tricks the engineer and steals the train. Beauregard is waiting down the line when the Wild Bunch advances over the desert. ‘Nobody’ arrives with the stolen train but refuses to rescue Beauregard until he ‘makes his name in the history books’. Remembering the mirrored conchas on the gang’s dynamite-filled saddlebags, Beauregard aims at them. One by one they explode, blowing up most of the charging gang until ‘Nobody’ allows him to escape.

In New Orleans, Beauregard and Nobody finally face each other in a street duel, with a photographer on hand and lots of spectators. ‘Nobody’ draws faster and Beauregard falls to the ground. A sign is put up reading "Jack Beauregard, 1848–1899, Nobody was faster on the draw”, which the remaining members of the Wild Bunch see and transfer their search to the anonymous ‘Nobody’. Three days later ‘Nobody’ walks by the ship that was to take Beauregard to Europe. However, it is revealed that Beauregard is in his cabin writing ‘Nobody’ an affectionate farewell and leaving him to survive in his own playful and unheroic way.

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 for his box-office draw and because he had already starred in the successful spaghetti films They Call Me Trinity and its sequel Trinity Is Still My Name.

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]