Two bounty hunters are in pursuit of "El Indio," one of the most wanted fugitives in the western territories, and his gang.
I was worried about you - all alone, with so many problems to solve... The middle part of Sergio Leone's dollars trilogy sandwich is a mighty hunk of meat and pasta. Plot has Clint Eastwood and Lee Van Cleef as bounty hunters who form a very uneasy alliance to bring down violent bandit El Indio (Gian Maria Volontè) and his gang. As befitting Leone in this sub-genre, the pic positively oozes charisma and class. His compositions are as striking as the coolness he wrings out from his lead actors, the characterisations bristling with a calm grizzle factor that beguiles as the story jumps from violence to suspense, from humour to misery, with surprises is store as well. The screenplay adheres to some clichés of the Western formula, but never at a cost to suspense and mystery, such as with the finale that looks set to be formulaic, but joyfully brings its own identity whilst simultaneously adding extra layers to the protags and antag. The dialogue (Leone and Luciano Vincenzoni) pings with literacy, something which is a pleasant mercy in the Spaghetti Western world, while Morricone fills the key scenes with aural shards of atmospheric delight. A great film in its own standalone right, but also a super precursor to The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. 9/10
I'd rank it slightly below the original, but that's unimportant as 'For a Few Dollars More' is still a lot of fun. Clint Eastwood is tremendous again as the lead character, while Gian Maria Volonté reappears as a different character - usually I'm not a fan of actors playing different characters in a series, but I must make an exception here as Volonté is terrific; just as he is in the preceding 1964 film. One newcomer to the cast is Lee Van Cleef, who is brilliant too. A story regarding bounty hunting was always going to be enjoyable, which is most definitely the case here. The aforementioned trio are massively entertaining. I particularly found the ending to be one of the best parts of this. I was excited to check out 'The Good, the Bad and the Ugly' even prior to watching the first two films, given it's the one I knew most of beforehand, but its two predecessors really have wet the appetite and then some!
This is a waste of some wit. Of the dollar trilogy, this one had some wit to it, but it's wasted. There's an ongoing weird counting that the bounty hunters perform, which finally makes sense in the end. There's an interesting bit about the chimes, and drawing when the chime ends. And we get a name for No Name. But it's wasted on a movie that Leone made during what must have been the days when he really hated some brunette who scorned him. He spends most of the movie contriving so many ways to kill brunettes that he obviously is seeking a Nazi merit badge. He stopped worshiping Adolf and Eva soon after the dollar trilogy, though. There's no way to get past his Nazi ideology in this movie, and it ruins the movie. Not to mention the lack of credible characters and lack of credible motivation. Again, it's a case of everyone in the West is either a homicidal maniac or the first victims of homicidal maniacs, no exceptions. The weakest part, and part that makes anyone with an IQ over 15 groan, is that Leone is not subtle about his message that the more of a homicidal maniac a man is, the more of a demigod he is, and more immortal he is. Only another demigod can kill a demigod, and only a homicidal maniac can be a demigod. It appears the only way to be a god is to be the biggest homicidal maniac. If everyone was like this, there would be no one left to be like this. A waste of wit, which is bad, because this is the only one of the Leone Westerns which made any attempt at wit.