The second of Clint Eastwood's legendary Spaghetti Westerns, 1965's FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE is an action packed traditional western, shot like an art film by director Sergio Leone.
The opening scene is a dusty version of David Lean's opening desert shot in "Lawrence of Arabia" that would be cleverly sent up by Quentin Tarantino decades later in "The Hateful Eight".
A lone man rides toward camera, tiny at first, then growing into frame for more than a minute before Leone springs action on you. Then he wraps you in Ennio Morricone's classic, crazy score and gallops into two plus hours of fun.
Clint Eastwood is the Man With No Name again, but thanks to a legal dispute between Leone and the producers of "A Fistful of Dollars" he's not the same character (wink wink) this time he's Monco, a lethal bounty hunter of few words but lots of squints.
He meets up with the terrific Lee Van Cleef as Col. Douglas Mortimer, the best shot in the army and now a competitive bounty hunter. The man really knows how to get off a train in style. They pair up to go after El Indio, very well played by Gian Maria Volonte, whose got screen presence to spare as the leader of a lethal gang of bank robbers.
The plot is clever, with crosses and double crosses, infiltrations of gangs, enough flying bullets and mano a mano confrontations to satisfy any action fan.
The scene with Eastwood and Van Cleef squaring off at night shooting the hats off each other's heads is a classic and perfectly shot in the middle of the street by Leone.
NO ONE does standoffs between the good guys and the bad guys like Leone & Morricone. They go on forever and you dont want them to end.
Watching this film for the first time in many years, it was amazing to see where filmmakers like Lawrence Kasdan gained inspiration for "Silverado" and Costner for his showdowns in "Wyatt Earp" an underrated modern western.
Eastwood is hilarious and a complete bad ass and Van Cleef matches him from the first scene to the last.
The bank robbery sequence probably stands as the best of its kind in the 60's, alongside "Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid".
Fast & fun, FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE delivers timeless gold and gets an A-. Eastwood, Leone and Van Cleef followed it up a year later with "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly".