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For a Few Dollars More: Collector's Set

The Sergio Leone Anthology

Though the vocabulary was born in Fistful of Dollars, Sergio Leone had to ditch Akira Kursawa's template to truly become a great auteur. And so it wasn't until 1965's For a Few Dollars More that Leone refined his sensibilities. There the trio of main characters was birthed, and so was the more temperate pacing, along with the Mexican standoff with three characters in an arena squaring off against each other. It was also where Leone became Leone. The film takes its time opening, watching a man on horseback riding for a chunk of screen time until a sniper takes him down. The likely snipee is Lt. Douglas Mortimer (Lee Van Cleef), a bounty hunter par excellance. His greatest competition is the man with no name (Clint Eastwood) — though here known as Monco — who also makes his living as a bounty hunter. Both set their sights on El Indio (Gian Maria Volonte, who like Eastwood returned from Fistful), who is a dope-smoking psychopath. The road to catching him is rife with trouble, including Mortimer provoking Indio's hunchbacked sidekick Wild (Klaus Kinski), but eventually the two bounty hunters side together and decide that Monco should get in with El Indio's gang to help reduce the odds. David Kehr recently noted that Leone learned a lot of his tricks from the legendary western director Budd Boeticher, and Kehr is right on the money. But what Leone did here, especially with his pacing, is throw the audience off the scent. The film hits a point where the film feels like it could wrap up early on, but this only leads into the third act, which has the curious Indio doing things that partially lead to the final showdown. But — as is used in later Leone works — the information that leads to the complicated relationship between Mortimer and Indio is hinted at in flashbacks only to be revealed towards the film's conclusion. Though Leone would perfect a lot of these ideas in his future films (especially the three person showdown next year with 1966's The Good, The Bad and The Ugly) this is where the Leone voice achieves a greater purpose, with a slight hint of irony, but no less a sense of palpable tension and great bits of action. If Duck You Sucker is his most underappreciated, then For a Few Dollars More is the most underrated.

MGM/Fox presents the film in anamorphic widescreen (2.35:1) and in both Dolby Digital 5.1 and the original monaural mix (1.0 DD). The transfer is better than the original release, but still has obvious marks and wear. The first disc also comes with a commentary by Sir Christopher Frayling. Disc Two offers a more compact version of Frayling's thoughts in the featurette "A New Standard" (20 min.), and then Clint Eastwood's remembrances in "Back For More" (7 min.), while "Tre Voici" (11 min.) features producer Alberto Grimali, Screenwriter Sergio Donati, and actor Mickey Knox talking about their relationship with Leone. "For a Few Dollars More: The American Release Version" (5 min.) notes the trims madefor the domestic release, while "Location Comparison" (12 min.) contrasts the film's 1965 locations with their 2004 counterparts. Also included are twelve radio spots, and the original trailer, a combo trailer for it and Fistful, one for The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, and bonus trailers. Dual-DVD keep-case. Also available in the eight-disc digipak "The Sergio Leone Anthology."
—DSH



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