Sunday, 8 June 2014

For A Few Dollars More (1965)

The success of A Fistful of Dollars naturally spawned a sequel.  This film puts Eastwood's Man With No Name (referred to as 'Manco' by characters on-screen, and hereafter in this review) on the trail of a crazed bandit named El Indio.

Also on the trail of El Indio is Mortimer, a black-clad gunman some twenty years older than Manco.  Mortimer is played by Lee Van Cleef, and is frankly the best thing in the film.  Nobody does steely-eyed quite like him.

It takes a surprisingly long time for the two bounty hunters to cross paths, though it's clear from the first few scenes that it's going to happen.  Actually, the length of time things take to happen in the movie is a minor but recurring problem.  It's a little over two hours in run time, and it feels just a little bit too too long to me.  Cutting a scene or two, and trimming some time out of two or three others, would I think create a leaner film.

Anyway, when Manco and Mortimer finally meet, Manco isn't too keen on having competition for the reward.  Mortimer's skill with a gun, however, persuades him to attempt a partnership.  After all, there's plenty of money to be made from El Indio and his gang, and said gang is 14-strong.

So the two men set in train a plan to lure El Indio into a track and bag the richest bounty of their lives.  But of course, El Indio didn't become the subject of such a large bounty by being easy to catch ...

This film shows the same strong visual style as the first of Sergio Leone's westerns, and again has a solid soundtrack.  The acting's decent enough too, though the fact that the moved was filmed silent and the dialog recorded later is sometimes a little obvious.

I don't rate this film quite as highly as its predecessor, but it's still a well-executed tale of double-crosses and gunfights.  Worth a look if you like your heroes a bit on the 'anti' side.

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