Written by: Michael Den Boer on June 27th, 2004
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, December 18th, 1965
Director: Sergio Leone
Writers: Sergio Leone, Sergio Donati, Luciano Vincenzoni, Fernando Di Leo, Fulvio Morsella
Cast: Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, Gian Maria Volonté, Klaus Kinski
DVD released: July 28th, 1998
Approximate running time: 131 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.20:1 Non-Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English, Dolby Digital Mono French
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
DVD Release: MGM
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $9.99
The man with no name is back… The man in black is waiting… a walking arsenal – he uncoils, strikes and kills!
The man with no name/Monco (Clint Eastwood), and Colonel Mortimer (Lee Van Cleef), are two bounty hunters with whom you won’t want to mess with. Monco likes a challenge when hunting outlaws while Mortimer likes to show off his hunting ability with gadgets that he uses to bring his man down. The infamous bandit Indio (Gian Maria Volonté), is busted out of prison and 10 grand is placed on his head the two bounty hunters set out to catch Indio. Colonel Mortimer has personal reasons for wanting to see Indio dead since Indio raped and killed Mortimer’s sister. When Monco and Colonel Mortimer paths cross they size up the job and decide to form a partnership. Still things aren’t what they seem and just like in Leone’s The Good, The Bad and The Ugly alliances change quickly, no one can be trusted. Their plan is too infiltrate Indio’s gang and help them rob the bank of El Paso.
After the success of a Fistful of Dollars that films producers would convince Sergio Leone to direct a sequel. For a few Dollars more would also see Clint Eastwood return as the man with no name. Were a Fistful of Dollars was about an outsider stirring up trouble between two rival clans For a Few Dollars more would shift its focus to the world of the bounty hunters. This time around Leone would put together a solid cast of veteran character actors Lee Van Cleef, Gian Maria Volonté, Klaus Kinski and with more time and money then he had before he would craft, For a Few Dollars More what is arguably the best film in The Man With no Name Trilogy.
Clint Eastwood and Gian Maria Volonté are both carry over from a Fistful of dollars and are essentially playing the same parts only they are more comfortable in their roles this time. Lee Van Cleef is the new man on the scene and as Colonel Mortimer he embodies cool as he in a scene with Klaus Kinski playing Wild, the Hunchback casually lights a match using Kinski’s back. Leone plays with every Western cliché even inventing a few new tricks as he further develops his style.
For a Few Dollars More moves at a leisurely pace even by Leone’s own standards with long dawn out scenes and the deliberate movement of characters with their stylized posturing adds an aura to the characters. Ennio Morricone returns For a Few Dollars More and he not only expands on musical ideas from the previous film this time around his score is more avant-garde as he uses twangs and similar punctuation marks at every opportunity. The flash back sequence in which Morricone used a organ score, Pocket watch and string effects to accentuate Indio’s madness as he murders Colonel Mortimer’s sister takes the scene to another level and in the hands of a lesser composer the impact of the scene might have been lessened.
Through out the film their is a lot of killing as bullets fly and bodies hit the floor, still through all this carnage Leone manages to show very little blood. My favorite scene in the whole film has to be Indio’s final flashback, Morricone’s music and Gian Maria Volonté tragic performance gets me every time. Leone found success with a Fistful of dollars this time around more confident he would hit the mother load with For a Few Dollars More crafting one of the truly great westerns ever made.
MGM’s DVD is framed at about 2:20:1 which is slightly cropped from its original Techniscope 2:35:1 aspect ratio and it hasn’t been anamorphic enhanced. Sourced from a very good print this DVD transfer has occasional scratches still it for the most part remains Sharpe and full of detail. The color is nicely rendered and the flesh tones are fairly accurate through out most the movie.
The are two audio options on this DVD English and French Dolby Digital mono and as with most Italian productions at the time the soundtrack was created in postproduction. There was an occasional crackle on the track and some minor hiss overall this soundtrack is respectable. Morricone’s sound design and music cues For a Few Dollars more have never sounded better on home video.
Extras that are on this DVD are seriously lacking, included in the films original trailer and an eight page booklet that contains cast and production notes. Too bad MGM didn’t put more effort into this DVD and give the SE treatment. With MGM’s recent SE DVD release of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly we can only hope that For a Few Dollars more gets the same treatment some where down the road. For a Few Dollars may not be as epic as The Good, The Bad, and The ugly, or Once Upon a Time in The West. What we get from Leone is his most refined movie that feels like an epic yet it doesn’t fall into the traps of most epic films by being overlong. MGM’s DVD can be found relatively cheap and For a Few Dollars More is a masterpiece that should be in every Spaghetti Western fans collection.