For a Few Dollars More
For a Few Dollars More (Italian: Per qualche dollaro in più) is a 1965 spaghetti Western film directed by Sergio Leone. It stars Clint Eastwood and Lee Van Cleef as bounty hunters and Gian Maria Volontè as the primary villain. German actor Klaus Kinski plays a supporting role as a secondary villain. The film was an international co-production between Italy, West Germany, and Spain. 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. The films catapulted Eastwood and Van Cleef into stardom.
|For a Few Dollars More|
Italian theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Sergio Leone|
|Produced by||Alberto Grimaldi|
|Screenplay by||Luciano Vincenzoni
|Story by||Sergio Leone
Fernando Di Leo
Lee Van Cleef
Gian Maria Volontè
|Music by||Ennio Morricone|
|Edited by||Eugenio Alabiso
|Distributed by||PEA (Italy)
United Artists (US & UK)
|Box office||$15 million|
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."
The film opens with the caption "Where life had no value, death, sometimes, had its price. That is why the bounty killers appeared". Colonel Douglas Mortimer (Van Cleef) and Manco (Eastwood) are separately introduced as two bounty killers who hunt down and kill wanted outlaws to collect the rewards issued for them. Meanwhile, a gang of outlaws breaks into a prison to free their leader — the clever, ruthless and psychotic "El Indio" (Volonte) — killing the warden and most of the guards. When news of the escape is released, Mortimer and Manco are interested in the large reward announced.
Indio has a musical pocketwatch that he plays before engaging in gun duels: "When the chimes finish, begin," he says. Flashbacks reveal that he took the watch from a young woman (Rosemary Dexter) whom he found in bed with her husband. He killed the husband and raped her, but she shot herself while he was doing it. Her photograph is inside the watch cover. Indio is haunted by the incident and smokes an addictive drug to cloud his memory. Mortimer states that Indio is "a complete madman" but later qualifies it by admitting that "he's no idiot".
Indio plans to rob the Bank of El Paso which has a disguised safe containing "almost a million dollars". Manco arrives in the town and becomes aware of Mortimer, who arrived earlier. He sees Mortimer deliberately insult the hunchback Wild (Kinski), who is reconnoitring the bank. Manco confronts Mortimer and, as neither will give way, they decide to work together. Mortimer persuades Manco to join Indio's gang and "get him between two fires". Manco frees a friend of Indio from prison and, despite Indio's suspicions, is accepted into the gang.
Indio sends Manco and three others to rob the bank in nearby Santa Cruz. Manco guns down the three bandits and sends a false telegraphic alarm to rouse the El Paso sheriff and his posse, who ride to Santa Cruz. The gang blast the wall at the rear of the El Paso bank and steal the safe but are unable to open it. Groggy (Luigi Pistilli) is angry when Manco is the only one to return from Santa Cruz, but Indio accepts Manco's version of events. The gang ride to the small border town of Agua Caliente. Mortimer, who has anticipated Indio's movements, is already there. Wild recognises Mortimer, forcing a showdown. Mortimer kills him and then cracks open the safe without using explosives. Indio locks the money in a strongbox and says the loot will be divided after a month.
Manco and Mortimer break into the strongbox and hide the money but are caught immediately afterwards and are beaten up. Mortimer has secured the strongbox lock, however, and Indio believes the money is still there. At night, Indio's lieutenant Niño (Mario Brega) kills their guard and releases Manco and Mortimer. Indio frames Cuchillo (Aldo Sambrell) and shoots him, telling the gang that Cuchillo released Manco and Mortimer. He orders the gang to pursue the bounty hunters, hoping all will kill each other while he and Niño take the loot. Groggy realises what Indio intends and kills Niño. He forces Indio to open the strongbox, but the money is no longer there.
Next morning, still in Agua Caliente, Mortimer asks Manco to "leave Indio to me". Indio's men are killed one by one. Apparently alone, Mortimer shoots Groggy as he runs for cover, but then his gun is shot out of his hand by Indio. Now knowing Mortimer's identity, Indio plays the pocketwatch music and challenges the unarmed Mortimer to try and kill him when it ends. As it ends, an identical pocketwatch tune begins. Manco, holding this watch, has a rifle trained on Indio. Mortimer realises that Manco has taken his watch. Manco gives his own gunbelt and pistol to Mortimer and says: "Now we start". The music plays to completion and Mortimer shoots first, killing Indio.
Mortimer takes Indio's watch and Manco remarks on the resemblance in the two photographs. "Naturally", Mortimer replies, "between brother and sister". His revenge complete, Mortimer declines his share of the bounty and leaves. Manco tosses the bodies of Indio and his men into a wagon and, after recovering the stolen money from its hiding place, rides away.
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. Instead, Lee Van Cleef accepted the role. Eastwood received $50,000 for returning in the sequel, while Van Cleef received $17,000.
Screenwriter Luciano Vincenzoni wrote the film in nine days. However, Leone was dissatisfied with some of the script's dialogue, and hired Sergio Donati to work as an uncredited script doctor.
The film was shot in Almería, Spain, with interiors done at Rome's Cinecittà Studios. The production designer Carlo Simi built the town of "El Paso" in the Almería desert: it still exists, as a tourist attraction Mini Hollywood. 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.
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. 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.
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. 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. "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."
|For a Few Dollars More|
|Soundtrack album by Ennio Morricone|
|Released||1965 (Original album)|
|Ennio Morricone chronology|
A soundtrack album was originally released in Italy by RCA Italiana. 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.
|1.||"La Resa Dei Conti"||3:06|
|3.||"Il Vizio Di Uccidere"||2:24|
|6.||"Per Qualche Dollaro In Più"||2:50|
Release and receptionEdit
For a Few Dollars More was released in Italy in December 1965 as Per Qualche Dollaro in Più. In the United States, the film debuted on 10 May 1967, four months after the release of A Fistful of Dollars, grossing $5 million.
At the time of its Italian release, the film proved to be even more commercially successful than its predecessor. By 1967, the film became the highest-grossing film of any nationality in the history of Italian cinema.
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." 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."
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."
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." 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."
British journalist Kim Newman has pointed out that the film changed the way bounty hunters were viewed by audiences. It moved them away from a "profession to be ashamed of", one with a "(ranking) lower than a card sharp on the Western scale of worthwhile citizens", to one of heroic respectability.
In popular cultureEdit
- Cox, 2009
- Hughes, p. 8
- Munn, p. 54
- "For a Few Dollars More, Box Office Information". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 22 January 2013.
- Variety film review; 16 February 1966, p. 6
- Dolores Martinez (25 May 2009). Remaking Kurosawa: Translations and Permutations in Global Cinema. Palgrave Macmillan US. pp. 206–. ISBN 978-0-230-62167-1.
- John White (30 November 2010). Westerns. Taylor & Francis. pp. 48–. ISBN 978-1-136-85559-7.
- McGilligan, Patrick (2015). Clint: The Life and Legend (updated and revised). New York: OR Books. ISBN 978-1-939293-96-1.
- Cox, Alex. "Blood, Guts, and Bullets". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 July 2016.
- Munn, p. 53
- Schwartz, John (25 September 2013). "Luciano Vincenzoni, Screenwriter, Dies at 87". The New York Times. Retrieved 7 January 2014.
- For a Few Dollars More (Tre Voci - For a Few Dollars More) (Blu-ray disc). Los Angeles, California: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. 1967.
- Munn, p. 56
- Frayling, Christopher (2006) . "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.
- Munn, p. 57
- Sir Christopher Frayling, For a Few Dollars More audio commentary. Retrieved 1 June 2014
- Hodgkinson, Will (14 July 2006). "A Fistful of Dollars? It's my worst ever score'". The Guardian. Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
- 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.
- Doran, John (8 April 2010). "Ennio Morricone Interviewed: "Compared To Bach, I'm Practically Unemployed"". The Quietus. Retrieved 16 March 2015.
- Smith, Jeffrey (15 November 1998). The Sounds of Commerce: Marketing Popular Film Music. Columbia University Press. p. 135.
- Hughes, p. 10
- Hughes, Howard (9 December 2004). Once Upon a Time in the Italian West: A Filmgoer's Guide to Spaghetti Westerns. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 53.
- Smith, Jeffrey Paul (15 November 1998). The Sounds of Commerce: Marketing Popular Film Music. Columbia University Press. p. 135. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
- "French Box Office 1966". Box Office Story.
- 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.
- Ebert, Roger (15 May 1967). "For a Few Dollars More (1967)". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
- "For a Few Dollars More (Per Qualche Dollaro in Più)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved 16 March 2015.
- Martinovic, Paul (18 January 2013). "Looking back at Sergio Leone's Dollars trilogy". Den of Geek. Dennis Publishing. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
- Sardinas, Paolo (21 September 2009). "For a Few Dollars More DVD". MovieWeb. WATCHR Media. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
- Newman, Kim (1990). Wild West Movies: How the West was found, won, lost, lied about, filmed and forgotten. London: Bloomsbury. pp. 127–128. ISBN 0747507473.
- Newman, p. 127.
- Cox, Alex (2009). 10,000 Ways to Die: A Director's Take on the Spaghetti Western. Oldcastle Books. ISBN 978-1842433041.
- Hughes, Howard (2009). Aim for the Heart. London: I.B. Tauris. ISBN 978-1-84511-902-7.
- Munn, Michael (1992). Clint Eastwood: Hollywood's Loner. London: Robson Books. ISBN 0-86051-790-X.