Thursday, July 19, 2007

For a Few Dollars More

What I just finished watching this afternoon:

What most people talk about with the Sergio Leone Westerns is their look: the constant shifting back and forth between the wide and tight shots. Fans of The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly will also note here the strong resemblance to the setting for the final duel in that film to the setting for this one. But to me what's really impressive in this scene is Morricone's score: the clocks' chimes, a little surf guitar, mariachi trumpets . . . and yet it works somehow.

As an added bonus, here is the final shootout in A Fistful of Dollars. Just to establish a bit of context for the scene: the bad guys had earlier beaten the tar out of The Man with No Name; he's since escaped from them, and now no one knows where he is. All that makes Eastwood's appearance here--especially in those pre-CGI days--very, very cool.


Joel said...

What a coincidence! Last night I watched part of the MST3K version of "Master Ninja 1" — starring Lee Van Cleef as ... the ninja.

John B. said...

I can totally see Mr. Van Cleef as a ninja.

Even from the safe distance of him on my television screen and me on the couch, I still feel compelled to address him as "Mr." Or maybe "Mister."

emawkc said...

I just (re)watched The Good, The Bad and The Ugly from the Western Channel (thank you Time Warner DVR). Probably my second favorite Eastwood movie (Unforgiven is my fav).

I still think of Van Cleef as Angel Eyes.

John B. said...

I just (re)watched TGTB&TU last night, too. This bears some research on my part, but while I know that it and Fistful and Few Dollars More are thought of as a trilogy, the latter two feel more closely linked to each other than to the first. Morricone's scoring the second and third films, but not the first, has much to do with that--last night, for example, I noticed that the watch chimes used in AFDM are reprised in TGtB&tU's final duel. But Van Cleef's characters serve as another tie between the two. I've already commented longer than I intended, but they seem to be dopplegangers of each other. Eastwood's character, meanwhile, seems constant to me throughout the 3: below his unabashed pursuit of money is some core decency ("Because I once knew someone like you and there was no one there to help," he tells the couple in AFoD) that, it almost seems, his pursuit of money provides a cover for--we wouldn't want anyone to think our boy is, like, "good," now would we? Our postmodern times wouldn't allow for such things.

Ah well. That's enough for now. But yeah: Van Cleef in TGtB&tU and Robert Mitchum in the first Cape Fear are right up there on the list of Sixties Cinematic Sumbitches.

John B. said...


Morricone also scored AFoD (Wikipedia)


emawkc said...

Speaking of classic Westerns, The Magnificent Seven was on last night. Unfortunately I only got to watch about 30 minutes before my supermodel wife gained control of the teevilizer (our word for the TV remote control).

John B. said...

I know you love your wife and all, but I think she needs to receive instruction in the exact nature of the wrong she committed. She will be chastened but wiser for it.