For a Few Dollars More (1965)

For a Few Dollars More (1965), directed by Sergio Leone.

Two bounty hunters mix it up with a gang of bank robbers led by a certifiable psycho. The bounty hunter in black is after something more than money.

This is my favorite of the Leone westerns before Duck, You Sucker (1971). They've established the mythology with the first film and now have a bigger budget and can be more expansive without going to the epic excessiveness of The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1966) or the leisurely tough guy posturing of Once Upon a Time in the West (1968).

It has the usual sadism and ritual violence, the clear division of the cool hard men and cowering bystanders, but also many comic scenes which parody western conventions.

Somehow I got in to to see this at a young age and was shocked at Indio's fond memories of the time he murdered a man and raped his woman, who then killed herself with his pistol. This is his Precious Moment and he often returns to it. "Adults are so strange", thought I.

Ennio Morricone's score is the finest of the series. I remember it had radio play at the time. This is the first time I have noticed that the musical watch theme plays before the watches appear: it's what ties Mortimer and Indio together and is a haunting element of the story.

The Man With No Name's name: Manco.

Available on Blu-ray with a informative commentary track by a Leone biographer: great background information on the production, influences and people involved. His story of Lee Van Cleef is remarkable. He'd done only small parts and was broke and pretty much retired after an auto accident when Leone showed up with a suitcase of money. He remembered Van Cleef's face and wanted him for the film. He worked for a couple of decades thereafter and became a superstar in Europe. Here his performance is so confident, so spot-on, it sticks in the mind.

The Blu-ray has that sort of sharpening that makes faces seem shiny. I presume this is from edge enhancement ringing (the white halos) around skin pores and whiskers. I try not to notice, but once seen it becomes distracting.