|For a Few Dollars More|
Italian theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Sergio Leone|
|Produced by||Alberto Grimaldi|
|Music by||Ennio Morricone|
|Distributed by||PEA (Italy)
United Artists (US & UK)
|Box office||$15 million|
For a Few Dollars More (Italian: Per qualche dollaro in più) is a 1965 spaghetti Western film directed by Sergio Leone. It stars Clint Eastwood and Lee Van Cleef as bounty hunters and Gian Maria Volontè as the primary villain. German actor Klaus Kinski plays a supporting role as a secondary villain. The film was an international co-production among Italy, West Germany, and Spain. The film was released in the United States in 1967, and is the second part of what is commonly known as the Dollars Trilogy, following A Fistful of Dollars and preceding The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. The films catapulted Eastwood and Van Cleef into stardom.
Film historian Richard Schickel, in his biography of Clint Eastwood, believed that this was the best film in the trilogy, arguing that it was “more elegant and complex than A Fistful of Dollars and more tense and compressed than The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.” Director Alex Cox considered the church scene to be one of “the most horrible deaths” of any Western, describing Volontè’s Indio as the “most diabolical Western villain of all time.”
The man many call Manco (Eastwood) is a bounty killer who makes a living collecting rewards issued for wanted outlaws, a profession shared by a former member of the army named Colonel Douglas Mortimer (Van Cleef). Eventually, the two learn that a ruthless psychopath named “El Indio” (Volonte) was broken out of prison by his gang, slaughtering all but one of his jailers. While murdering the family of the man who captured him, Indio carries a musical pocketwatch that was a memento of his youth, using it to time the duel. Flashbacks reveal that he had taken the watch from a young woman (Rosemary Dexter), who had shot herself as he was raping her after having murdered her husband. The incident has haunted Indio, and he smokes an addictive drug to cloud his memory.
Indio plans to rob the Bank of El Paso, which has a disguised safe containing “almost a million dollars”. Manco arrives in the town and becomes aware of Mortimer, who had arrived earlier. He sees Mortimer deliberately insult the hunchback Wild (Kinski), who is reconnoitering the bank. Manco confronts Mortimer after the two have studied each other, and they decide to work together as neither intends to back down. Mortimer persuades Manco to join Indio’s gang and “get him between two fires”. Manco achieves this by freeing a friend of Indio from prison despite Indio’s suspicions.
Indio sends Manco and three others to rob the bank in nearby Santa Cruz. Manco guns down the three bandits and sends a false telegraphic alarm to rouse the El Paso sheriff and his posse, who ride to Santa Cruz. The gang blast the wall at the rear of the El Paso bank and steal the safe, but are unable to open it. Groggy (Luigi Pistilli) is angry when Manco is the only one to return from Santa Cruz, but Indio accepts Manco’s version of events thanks to Mortimer having given Manco a convincing wound. Manco manages to convince the gang to ride to the small border town of Agua Caliente rather than travel through Rio Bravo. Mortimer, who anticipated Manco would deviate from their planned ambush, is already there. Wild recognises Mortimer, forcing a showdown that results in the hunchback’s death before Mortimer offers his services to Indio to crack open the safe without using explosives. Indio locks the money in a strongbox and says that the loot will be divided after a month.
Manco and Mortimer break into the strongbox and hide the money, only to be caught immediately afterwards and beaten up. Mortimer has secured the strongbox lock, however, and Indio believes that the money is still there. Later that night, Indio has his lieutenant Niño (Mario Brega) kill the guard stationed to guard Manco and Mortimer with a knife belonging to Cuchillo (Aldo Sambrell). Once Niño frees the prisoners, Indio reveals that he knew they are bounty hunters and executes Cuchillo to make it appear he betrayed the gang, while sending his men after Manco and Mortimer in hopes they would all kill each other so that he can split the money just between Niño and himself. But Groggy realizes the scheme and forces Indio to open the strong box after killing Niño, only for the two to find the money not there. Eventually, after he and Manco kill the bandits, Mortimer calls out Indio while revealing his full name. Mortimer shoots Groggy as he runs for cover, but is disarmed by Indio who plays the pocketwatch while challenging the bounty hunter to regain his weapon and kill him when the music ends. But as the music ends, the same tune begins from an identical pocketwatch which Manco had pilfered from Mortimer. Manco gives his own gunbelt and pistol to Mortimer, saying: “Now we start”. The music plays to completion and Mortimer shoots first, killing Indio.
Mortimer takes Indio’s watch and Manco remarks on Mortimer’s resemblance to the woman in the photographs. Mortimer reveals himself as her brother and with his revenge complete, declines his share of the bounty and leaves. Manco tosses the bodies of Indio and his men into a wagon, finally adding Groggy’s body after killing him, and rides off to collect the bounties on them all, before briefly pausing to recover the stolen money from its hiding place.
- Clint Eastwood as Manco
- Lee Van Cleef as Colonel Douglas Mortimer
- Gian Maria Volontè as El Indio
- Mario Brega as Niño
- Luigi Pistilli as Groggy
- Aldo Sambrell as Cuchillo
- Klaus Kinski as Wild
- Benito Stefanelli as Hughie
- Panos Papadopulos as Sancho Perez
- Robert Camardiel as Tucumcari station clerk
- Josef Egger as Old Prophet
- Tomás Blanco as Tucumcari sheriff
- Lorenzo Robledo as Tomaso, Indio’s Traitor
- Dante Maggio as Carpenter in cell with El Indio
- Werner Abrolat as Slim, Member of Indio’s Gang
- Joseph Bradley as El Paso Tavern Keeper
- Frank Braña as Blackie, Member of Indio’s Gang
- José Canalejas as Chico, Member of Indio’s Gang
- Rosemary Dexter as Mortimer’s Sister
- Fernando Di Leo as Cigar Smoking Card Player
- Eduardo García as Member of Indio’s Gang
- Jesús Guzmán as Carpetbagger on Train
- Peter Lee Lawrence as Mortimer’s Brother-in-Law
- Sergio Leone as Whistling Bounty Hunter
- Antonio Molino Rojo as Frisco, Member of Indio’s Gang
- Ricardo Palacios as Tucumcari Saloon Keeper
- Carlo Simi as El Paso Bank Manager
After the box-office success of A Fistful of Dollars in Italy, director Sergio Leone and his new producer, Alberto Grimaldi, wanted to begin production of a sequel, but they needed to get Clint Eastwood to agree to star in it. Eastwood was not ready to commit to a second film when he had not even seen the first. Quickly, the filmmakers rushed an Italian-language print (a U.S. version did not yet exist) of Per un pugno di dollari to him. The star then gathered a group of friends for a debut screening at CBS Production Center and, not knowing what to expect, tried to keep expectations low by downplaying the film. As the reels unspooled, however, Eastwood’s concerns proved to be unfounded. The audience may not have understood Italian, but in terms of style and action, the film spoke volumes. “Everybody enjoyed it just as much as if it had been in English”, Eastwood recalled. Soon, he was on the phone with the filmmakers’ representative: “Yeah, I’ll work for that director again”, he said. Charles Bronson was again approached for a starring role but he passed, citing that the sequel’s script was like the first film. Instead, Lee Van Cleef accepted the role. Eastwood received $50,000 for returning in the sequel, while Van Cleef received $17,000.
The film was shot in Almería, Spain, with interiors done at Rome’s Cinecittà Studios. The production designer Carlo Simi built the town of “El Paso” in the Almería desert: it still exists, as the tourist attraction Mini Hollywood. The town of Agua Caliente, where Indio and his gang flee after the bank robbery, is Albaricoques, a small “pueblo blanco” on the Níjar plain.
As all of the film’s footage was shot MOS (i.e. without recording sound at time of shooting), Eastwood and Van Cleef returned to Italy where they dubbed over their dialogue, and sound effects were added. Although it is explicitly stated in the movie that the Colonel Mortimer character is originally from the Carolinas, Van Cleef opted to perform his dialogue using his native New Jersey accent rather than a Southern accent.
The musical score was composed by Ennio Morricone, who had previously collaborated with director Leone on A Fistful of Dollars. Under Leone’s explicit direction, Morricone began writing the score before production had started, as Leone often shot to the music on set. The music is notable for its blend of diegetic and non-diegetic moments through a recurring motif that originates from the identical pocket watches belonging to El Indio and Colonel Mortimer. “The music that the watch makes transfers your thought to a different place,” said Morricone. “The character itself comes out through the watch but in a different situation every time it appears.”
|For a Few Dollars More|
|Soundtrack album by Ennio Morricone|
|Released||1965 (Original album)|
|Ennio Morricone chronology|
A soundtrack album was originally released in Italy by RCA Italiana. In the United States, Hugo Montenegro released a cover version as did Billy Strange and Leroy Holmes who released a cover version of the soundtrack album with the original American poster art. Maurizio Graf sang a vocal “Occhio Per Occhio”/”Eye For An Eye” to the music of the cue “Sixty Seconds to What” track that did not appear in the film but was released as a tie-in 45rpm record.
All tracks written by Ennio Morricone.
|1.||“La Resa Dei Conti”||3:06|
|3.||“Il Vizio Di Uccidere”||2:24|
|6.||“Per Qualche Dollaro In Più”||2:50|
Release and reception
For a Few Dollars More was released in Italy in December 1965 as Per Qualche Dollaro in Più. In the United States, the film debuted on 10 May 1967, four months after the release of A Fistful of Dollars, grossing $5 million.
At the time of its Italian release, the film proved to be even more commercially successful than its predecessor. By 1967, the film became the highest-grossing film of any nationality in the history of Italian cinema.
It initially received mediocre reviews from critics. Bosley Crowther of The New York Times said, “The fact that this film is constructed to endorse the exercise of murderers, to emphasize killer bravado and generate glee in frantic manifestations of death is, to my mind, a sharp indictment of it as so-called entertainment in this day.” Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times described the film as “one great old Western cliché after another” and that the film “is composed of situations and not plots.”
The film has since grown in popularity, while also gaining more positive feedback from contemporary critics. The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reports a 94% approval rating with an average rating of 7.8/10 based on 33 reviews. The website’s consensus reads, “With Clint Eastwood in the lead, Ennio Morricone on the score, and Sergio Leone’s stylish direction, For a Few Dollars More earns its recognition as a genre classic.”
In a retrospective review of the Dollars Trilogy, Paul Martinovic of Den of Geek said, “For A Few Dollars More is often overlooked in the trilogy, awkwardly sandwiched between both the original film and the best-known, but it’s a stunning film in its own right.” Paolo Sardinas of MovieWeb said, “Eastwood gives it his all and turns in another iconic performance along with scene stealer Lee Van Cleef, who helps make For a Few Dollars More twice as good as its predecessor.”
British journalist Kim Newman has pointed out that the film changed the way bounty hunters were viewed by audiences. It moved them away from a “profession to be ashamed of”, one with a “(ranking) lower than a card sharp on the Western scale of worthwhile citizens”, to one of heroic respectability.
In popular culture
- Hughes, p. 8
- Munn, p. 54
- “For a Few Dollars More, Box Office Information”. Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 22 January 2013.
- Variety film review; 16 February 1966, p. 6
- Dolores Martinez (25 May 2009). Remaking Kurosawa: Translations and Permutations in Global Cinema. Palgrave Macmillan US. pp. 206–. ISBN 978-0-230-62167-1.
- John White (30 November 2010). Westerns. Taylor & Francis. pp. 48–. ISBN 978-1-136-85559-7.
- McGilligan, Patrick (2015). Clint: The Life and Legend (updated and revised). New York: OR Books. ISBN 978-1-939293-96-1.
- Cox, Alex. “Blood, Guts, and Bullets”. The Guardian. Retrieved 9 July 2016.
- Munn, p. 53
- Schwartz, John (25 September 2013). “Luciano Vincenzoni, Screenwriter, Dies at 87”. The New York Times. Retrieved 7 January2014.
- For a Few Dollars More (Tre Voci – For a Few Dollars More) (Blu-ray disc). Los Angeles, California: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. 1967.
- Munn, p. 56
- Frayling, Christopher (2006) . “Preface”. Spaghetti Westerns: Cowboys and Europeans from Karl May to Sergio Leone. New York, USA: I.B. Tauris. p. ix. ISBN 1-84511-207-5.
- Munn, p. 57
- Sir Christopher Frayling, For a Few Dollars More audio commentary. Retrieved 1 June 2014
- Hodgkinson, Will (14 July 2006). “A Fistful of Dollars? It’s my worst ever score‘“. The Guardian. Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
- Leinberger, Charles (1 September 2004). Ennio Morricone’s The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: A Film Score Guide. Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press. p. 35.
- Doran, John (8 April 2010). “Ennio Morricone Interviewed: “Compared To Bach, I’m Practically Unemployed““. The Quietus. Retrieved 16 March 2015.
- Smith, Jeffrey (15 November 1998). The Sounds of Commerce: Marketing Popular Film Music. Columbia University Press. p. 135.
- Hughes, p. 10
- Hughes, Howard (9 December 2004). Once Upon a Time in the Italian West: A Filmgoer’s Guide to Spaghetti Westerns. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 53.
- Smith, Jeffrey Paul (15 November 1998). The Sounds of Commerce: Marketing Popular Film Music. Columbia University Press. p. 135. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
- “French Box Office 1966”. Box Office Story.
- Crowther, Bosley (4 July 1967). “Screen: ‘For Few Dollars More’ Opens: Trans-Lux West Shows New Eastwood Film 2 Rivals in Murder Are Presented as Heroes”. The New York Times. Retrieved 17 March2015.
- Ebert, Roger (15 May 1967). “For a Few Dollars More (1967)”. Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
- “For a Few Dollars More (Per Qualche Dollaro in Più)”. Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved 16 March 2015.
- Martinovic, Paul (18 January 2013). “Looking back at Sergio Leone’s Dollars trilogy”. Den of Geek. Dennis Publishing. Retrieved 17 March2015.
- Sardinas, Paolo (21 September 2009). “For a Few Dollars More DVD”. MovieWeb. WATCHR Media. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
- Newman, Kim (1990). Wild West Movies: How the West was found, won, lost, lied about, filmed and forgotten. London: Bloomsbury. pp. 127–128. ISBN 0747507473.
- Newman, p. 127.
- Cox, Alex (2009). 10,000 Ways to Die: A Director’s Take on the Spaghetti Western. Oldcastle Books. ISBN 978-1842433041.
- Hughes, Howard (2009). Aim for the Heart. London: I.B. Tauris. ISBN 978-1-84511-902-7.
- Munn, Michael (1992). Clint Eastwood: Hollywood’s Loner. London: Robson Books. ISBN 0-86051-790-X.