Monday, January 14, 2019

A Fistful of Dollars / Per un pugno di dollari (1964)

I don't usually review westerns. Ones I have done have had science fiction angle in them. This one doesn't. It is been 90 years since birth of Sergio Leone, one of the greatest movie directors ever. I am a week and few days late honoring the even. I might do his other movies too since local tv station is celebrating the event and showing his movies.

A Fistful of Dollars is first entry in Dollars Trilogy and big reason why there is genre called spaghetti western. Movie is scored by Ennio Morricone under different name and starred by Clint Eastwood. The names you think about when you think about spaghetti westerns. This movie is big reason why you do that.

Man with No Name comes to town ruled by two rivaling gangs. He plans to make money playing in the middle. Compared to generic westerns A Fistful of Dollars doesn't have good guys. Everyone is more or less for himself. Westerns made outside America benefits that they don't have to upkeep mythical picture of one country's history. They can show more cynical version of time period.

There are couple technologies you don't expect in western. I don't think they weren't available at the time but you don't usually see those in movies which show period as epic time when real men fought honorable with revolvers. A Fistful of Dollars doesn't have honorable men. Man with No Name is not untouchable. There is always sense this could go really badly. For many characters it goes badly.

A Fistful of Dollars is must watch even if you don't like westerns that much. It is cinematic masterpiece. It doesn't rely on western tropes. It brings amazing cinematography, good characters, good soundtrack and clever story to western movies. It is among best westerns as are other two movies of Dollars Trilogy.

I wonder if Dirty Harry's "Do you feel lucky punk" scene was inspired by A Fistful of Dollars. There is a scene where number of bullets in a gun is used as storytelling device.

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