My oh my. How time does fly.
If you don’t write, you lose your touch.
And anyway, we lose our nerve.
Nerve. This film is all about nerve.
This was the second collaboration between Sergio Leone and Clint Eastwood.
This time, another strong element was added: Lee Van Cleef.
The name may not sound familiar, but if you see this film you will never forget this iconic actor.
In truth, this picture is very similar to the first Leone/Eastwood collaboration.
Most of the novelty here can be found in the director having a third variable (Van Cleef) with which to work.
Gian Maria Volonté is back, but he’s not the same villain he was last time. He is and he isn’t.
Same for Eastwood. The same, but different.
Leone, though, had grown as a filmmaker. Maybe not by leaps and bounds, but there are flashes of brilliance which catch the desert sun differently here than in A Fistful of Dollars.
And why do I insist on the Italian title? Because this really is a sophisticated Western.
In other words, it is foreign to the mainstream of English language movies.
Though the genre is American, the craft is distinctly European.
Klaus Kinski has a relatively minor role in this film as a hunchback.
Really, I would advise starting with A Fistful of Dollars and then moving on to this film.
This one is really for those who couldn’t get enough the first time around.
I count myself among those.
In other words, this film does not necessarily “stand alone” very well unless you have the experience of A Fistful of Dollars under your belt.
I should really mention Ennio Morricone. He is, without doubt, one of the greatest film composers to ever live. Witness, for instance, his deft compositional touch as he weaves the film score around the sound of a musical pocket watch which is chiming during a tense standoff. There is a real magic–a synergy between Morricone and Leone.
Though I could dissect this movie as a precursor to the Reaper vs. Predator drones, I’ll leave that for another time. Though I could let the title, For a Few Dollars More, lead me into a diatribe about the Greek debt crisis and the venal German/IMF response, I shall leave that for other political film critics reviewing Spaghetti Westerns this week.
What we have here is a movie. I’m tired. I don’t want a war.
A movie with a prerequisite, sophisticated Western, a movie above any political parallels. 🙂
Fascinating point about this being a kind of foreign Western. It is interesting how much atmosphere accounts for.
Anyway, I loved the predecessor, but never saw this one. I should probably get around to it. Especially with Morricone. I don’t know his work extensively, but I remember liking a few things he did.
Great review, as ever.
Great quote: “If you don’t write, you lose your touch.”
“Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect.” Vince Lombardi
I watched High Plains Drifter (1973) recently. It would be interesting to compare The Stranger with The Man With No Name.
Thank you, my friend! Yes, Lombardi had the right idea!! I’m hoping to review Hang ’em High at some point. I look forward to your unique reviews! –Paul