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George At 

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A Fistful of Dollars


The first (and least) of Clint Eastwood's Sergio Leone Spaghetti western trilogy, 1964's A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS is still intriguing fun.

Eastwood is the fast-draw, pancho wearing Man With No Name who wanders into a very deadly town.

It's ruled by two warring families, the Baxters and the Rojos, who control the citizens with deadly justice while they battle between each other for superiority.

Eastwood arrives and immediately begins pitting them against each other, much to the delight of the locals.

Leone has been transparent that he lifted the plot from Kurosawa's 1961 masterpiece "Yojimbo" and dropped it wholesale into an 1800's western. For the most part, it works.

Eastwood brings a great deal of quiet, violent humor to the role, just as he did to "Dirty Harry" less than a decade later.

Gian Maria Volonte is perfect as Ramon Rojo, his background at the National Dramatic Arts Academy in Rome serving him well. He goes toe-to-toe with Eastwood and they're a great pair.

German actor Wolfgang Lukschy is also good as John Baxter, whose family is growing extinct around him.

Watching Eastwood demand four of the Baxter gang apologize to his horse, gun down a crowd of bad guys or just squint harshly into the camera as he gets ready to draw his weapon, you can understand why this film kicked off an entire genre and blasted Clint into superstardom.

Leone uses every bit of his widescreen to tell the story, whatever you do, DON'T watch a pan and scan version of the movie, you're missing half of it.

Filmed in 1964, Eastwood didnt record his dialogue until 1967 when the film was already a massive sensation in Europe and was being prepared for US release.

One of Tarantino's all-time favorite films, it's fascinating to watch how Eastwood and Leone inspired DiCaprio's Rick Dalton character in "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood".

Eastwood earned just $15,000 for this, his first movie role. He wears the same boots he brought from the set of TV's "Rawhide"!

Nowhere near as good as it's sequel "For A Few Dollars More", it's still a fist full of good humor, widescreen shootouts and galloping horses and saddles up a B-.

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