Format: Amazon Watch Party
Viewing: Unknown. Probably fourth or fifth
Director: Sergio Leone
It had been maybe 15 years since I last watched For a Few Dollars More (1965), the second in the Man With No Name trilogy, which catapulted Clint Eastwood to stardom, made Leone an unlikely star director, and gave me some movies to be blown away by in my last teens/ early 20's.
It's an interesting bridge between the solo adventure of a Fistful of Dollars, which is also maybe a bit rougher from a technical standpoint, and the groundbreaking filmmaking that would come with The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and explode into masterpiece filmmaking with Once Upon a Time in the West.
I may like Leone's work. Sue me.
The film isn't *that* different to characters and bears from A Fistful of Dollars, but it does insert Lee Van Cleef as the variable in the experiment, and to great effect. It's not hard to track how Leone went from this film to the three character structure of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly in the next film, giving chances for shifting alliances based on the character's self interests and motivations. Flashbacks in this film presage similar from the finale from OUATITW.
It's a gorgeous film, and the pacing and characters are happily breaking the conventions of Westerns of the prior 60 years of film, pointing the way for what we would come to expect from an American action film. To the point that, with no knowledge of film history, what people coming to this movie for the first time would even think. But this is 1965 - we're barely two steps from Hopalong Cassidy, chronologically.
If you think you don't like westerns (a statement I think just basically means: I don't like movies about people without cars, as "western" is a nonsense category of a movie), give the Man With No Name Trilogy a shot. It's amazing stuff.