Ah! That moment when you realize you are going to like a film you initially had doubts about. “For a Few Dollars More” is the result of a director telling himself “My previous film was ok, but you know what would be even better?” This time around, Sergio Leone creates a much more interesting version of the old west with better sets, grittier characters, and a plot that won’t have you scratching your head.
Once again, Clint Eastwood plays a poncho wearing, cigarette smoking, sombrero donning, gunslinger, and plays him damn well. Joining the cast is Lee Van Cleef, who has such piercing eyes you can’t help but wonder if he can see into your soul. The two actors play nicely off each other as bounty hunters teaming up to get to a ruthless killer who uses a musical pocketwatch to initiate his duels. It is very interesting to watch everything play out as it does because Leone has an act for directing interesting characters.
There is one fabulous scene in the film that takes place a bit after the two bounty hunters encounter each other for the first time. It involves guns, hats, and one-upping. It is a very quiet scene and yet there is so much tension in it you are at the edge of your seat biting your nails to see what will happen.
The movie however is not without its missteps. While all the technical aspects that were wrong with the first film are improved in this film, they are still noticeably lacking. The sound hasn’t been worked on too much, the story is more interesting but still seems as if there is something missing, and the cinematography just made me mad; there is a certain technique often used back in those days where a scene is shot during the day but them in post-production the footage is darkened to look as if was shot at night. That trick to me is not only frustrating but outright insulting because instead of looking like it is a scene shot at night it looks like a scene shot in the day with the footage darkened in post-production, and they think we actually are dumb enough to believe that it is actually a scene in the dark? This film uses that technique quite a lot and was distracting enough to drag me out of the story.
But in the end all the missteps are forgiven because it is much easier to watch than its predecessor and Leone’s vision is not being held back by his empty pockets. This is a fun film to watch and you will be proud of yourself when you do. Make sure to forget what the earlier film taught you to expect though because this film is the real thing.
But what about you? What is your favorite spaghetti western (aka a western directed/produced by Italians)? Click here to cast your vote.