Making a few extra dollars honestly in the Wild West is not a problem if you have a trusted colt and a permit from the authorities to shoot gangsters. That’s the way professional bounty hunters “The Man With No Name” and Colonel Mortimer go side by side, whose common target is the criminal gang of the Mexican Indio.
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The hallmark of Sergio Leone’s best films is their adherence to the “one-breath” rule. Here is For a Few Dollars More, “the golden mean of the dollar trilogy,” a film that can be credited to the great Italian and is watched with breathtaking ecstasy. From the first chords of the inimitable musical theme by Maestro Morricone, which accompanies the traditionally animated credits, to the final “The End” (to the same tune), the viewer completely dissolves into the action. He plunges into the famous atmosphere of spaghetti westerns. He enters a Wild West swarming with greedy thugs who place no value on human life and heroes who bring justice but do not forget about their own gain!
“Where life is worthless, sometimes death has its value. That is why murderous hunters have appeared.” This is the opening line that sketches the direction that the gradually unfolding flywheel of events will take us. Meet Colonel Mortimer, the owner of an imperturbable appearance and an impressive gun arsenal. Bounty hunter number one. By order of appearance in the film, but not by status. Though he personally does not doubt his superiority, there is a Man With No Name ready to argue with that. Meet: another bounty hunter, nevertheless bearing the pseudonym “Manco” (translated from Italian as “one-armed”), wearing his trademark poncho and hat, with the traditional cigar in his mouth. Both protagonists are no strangers to the dirty and unsafe work of shooting criminals of all sorts and stripes. They welcome any opportunity to get a few dollars more. And the colonel has his own special interest in this business.
Meanwhile, a group of recidivist gangsters comes into play. The leader is a rare scoundrel nicknamed “Indian”. Under his command there have gathered about ten and a half men, for the head of each of which the sum of money is due. The Indian manages to free himself from unreliable prison, takes vicious revenge on his abuser, and begins planning to rob a major bank.
It is clear that a meeting between the Colonel and the “Man with No Name” and the members of this gang cannot be avoided. All that remains are the details. On them, on these nuances, periodically using his trademark tricks, appropriately imposing terrific music of Morricone’s classmate, playing with the plot and the audience interest, Leone builds his film. Watching it in the same breath and for four decades now, it’s been astonishing.
Leone has always paid great attention to drawing out the characters, as well as revealing the motives and aspects of their conflict. The maddening, eye-rolling, laughter of the Indian. The uncompromising, instilling confusion and fear in the bandit souls of the bounty hunters. All of them, bad and good, are brutal to the point of trembling at the knees, marked to admiring amazement, desperately bold and determined. All have a temper, steeper than the cliffs of the Grand Canyon (despite the fact that the film was shot far away from them: on another continent, in sunny Spain). Most of the shots in the film are fired with filigree precision, balancing on the edge between mild exaggeration and outright hyperbole. Although there is “empty fire”, i.e. not following the principle “one shot – one victim”, but it is sporadic and made only by the statistic bandits. Yes, those details and touches again. They’re the juice of the story.
The conflict of the three main characters takes different forms over the course of the action, reveals new details and is only finally resolved in the final minutes. Supported by the use of flashbacks and pumped up the occasional melody of a pocket watch intrigue leads to not much original, but certainly heartfelt ending.
In conclusion, I want to talk about the very much appreciated by fans of the “trilogy” ligament of Eastwood and Van Cleef’s characters. In the pursuit of the long dollar, they join forces. After all, the members of the Indian gang, these living trophies, a lot, and to hold detention with the elements of disarming will be much easier on the pair. Such an alliance couldn’t help but astonish those viewers who, by the will of fate, were first introduced to “The Good, the Bad, the Evil.” And maybe some of them were inspired by a fantasy along the lines of “I wish Blondie and Angel Eyes were on the same side of the barricades!” Dreams come true.
Menko and Colonel Mortimer. They are doubly faster, more accurate, and smarter. Of course, they are not invincible, but they are very, very dangerous. Interestingly enough, with only five years of age difference between the actors, throughout the film they ironically refer to each other as “old man” and “boy” in joint scenes. Well, how about the unforgettable “bravo!” Eastwood, accompanying every successful action of the colonel. Their relationship is permeated by mutual rivalry and, at the same time, great respect. In one of the final dialogues, when one asks, “How about a partnership?” the other replies, “Maybe another time!” But there won’t be another time. In the plot of “The Good, the Bad, the Evil,” they will turn out to be adversaries. So we’re left to seize the moment, enjoying the on-screen duo of Eastwood and Van Cleef, empathizing with their adventures with all our hearts. We are rewarded with a delightfully suspenseful and relaxing ending with some entertaining arithmetic.
Codec: HEVC / H.265 (85.0 Mb/s)
Resolution: Native 4K (2160p)
Original aspect ratio: 2.35:1
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit)
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono (48kHz, 24-bit)
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono (48kHz, 16-bit)
English: Dolby Digital 5.1