009/2019 – For a Few Dollars More
(Sergio Leone/1965/Italy, Spain, West Germany/English/132 mins)
The second installment in the “Man with No Name” trilogy takes the melodramatic panache of the first film, A Fistful of Dollars further ahead, supported by a bigger budget, and a more eager cast who knew what Leone was setting out to achieve.
Lee Van Cleef, who had starred in many small roles in Hollywood Westerns all his life, and had later squandered his career because of heavy drinking found his career rejuvenated after his work in this film. If Hindi movie fans watch Gian Maria Volonte play the menacing Indio, they will be reminded of Gabbar Singh in Sholay. His performance is highlighted by his sadism, and in the way Leone unwittingly used him to show a rape scene, and smoking marijuana, which had never really been done in a Hollywood movie before. Violence and gore of this kind had not been seen by American audiences, and while it was met with revulsion by some, most ended up revelling in this new kind of theatrics. All this risk-taking actually ended up giving Westerns a new lease of life the world over. They were equated with pure entertainment.
I must now make my reverence for Ennio Morricone’s soundtrack evident here. His work inspires nothing short of awe. It’s about mood, about the characters, the situation. it complements Leone’s love for the genre, and the swashbuckling styles of Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, and Gian Maria Volonte just perfectly. If one needs to understand what synergy means, look no further than this team.