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For a Few Dollars More - Blu-ray / action and adventure DVD / arthouse and international / Sergio Leone / spaghetti Western DVD review
FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE Rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America curledupdvd.com rating: 4 stars
Featuring: Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, Gian Maria Volonté, Mara Krupp, Klaus Kinski
Director: Sergio Leone Studio: MGM
DVD release: 02 August 2011 Runtime: 99 min.
(1 disc)
Format: Widescreen, Color, Dolby, Blu-ray
DVD features: 1080p High Definition, Aspect ratio 1.78:1, Audio tracks (DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 - English, DTS 5.1 - French, Dolby Digital 2.0 - English, Spanish), Subtitles (English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, Mandarin [Traditional], Polish), Audio commentary (Sergio Leone biographer Christopher Frayling), Christopher Frayling Archives, "A New Standard," "Back for More: Clint Eastwood on For a Few Dollars More," "Tre Voci (Three Voices)," The American release featurette, "Location Comparisons: Then to Now," Radio spots, Trailers

*For a Few Dollars More* The success of A Fistful of Dollars made For a Few Dollars More not only possible but gave spaghetti Western impresario Sergio Leone the license to stretch a little. It afforded the first film's star, Clint Eastwood, the opportunity to continue experimenting with and growing his archetypal film persona. It also resuscitated the career of a second-tier American character actor by the name of Lee Van Cleef.

*For a Few Dollars More*The burgeoning global success of the first of what ultimately became Leone's "Man with No Name" trilogy attracted more talent, including producer Alberto Grimaldi, and increased funding from interested investors to Leone's sophmore teaming with Eastwood. Though for all intents and purposes a sequel to A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More reveals itself as more upon examination. The story was original (A Fistful of Dollars was essentially a Westernized Yojimbo). The main character looked the same but had a new occupation (now a bounty hunter instead of a roving hired gun) and betrayed slightly more of a conscience and a dark, dry, but sometimes mischievous sense of humor.

*For a Few Dollars More*The serape-clad, cheroot-chomping Eastwood finds himself after the same quarry as a meticulous and sharp-dressed Lee Van Cleef, playing an older, more patient predator: Colonel Mortimer, the "Man in Black." Each hopes to lay claim to the outsized bounty pinned on recently escaped bank robber and murderer Indio (Gian Marie Volonte, one of many familiar faces from the first film). The two have arrived independently at the conclusion - and correctly - that Indio intends to to strike the Bank of El Paso with his gang. After a fairly juvenile faceoff in the dusty street between their lodgings, they decide that bringing down the whole gang together and splitting the rewards makes more sense than trying to outgun and out-maneuver each other.

*For a Few Dollars More*Eastwood (whose Man with No Name actually has a name here, often underplayed and edited out - "Manco," or One-Armed) ingratiates himself with Indio by breaking a friend of the bandit out of prison and becomes part of the gang. The sadistic but tortured Indio is obsessed with two things: a pocketwatch containing a tiny musicbox and the connected memory of a young woman's death). The mystery of its meaning and its connection to Colonel Mortimer is pivotal to the story's climax, a final gun duel in a tiny Mexican border town.

The initially antagonistic relationship between the two bounty hunters evolves into a grudging respect and even fondness over the course of the movie. That's despite repeated attempts by Eastwood's character to outsmart the Man in Black, which end every time with himself the outsmarted party.

Contrapuntal to that very understated warmth stand Indio and his gang - ruthless, unlikable, and (in the cases of Indio's apparently PCP-laced spliff sessions and Klaus Kinski's wild-eyed hunchback) straight-up crazy. One can almost imagine that Indio's provocative insanity is nothing more than a thinly veiled death-wish.

For a Few Dollars More would stand on its own merits as an iconic triumph of spaghetti Western-brand filmmaking, more than deserving of full HD treatment. Its intermediate position in The Man with No Name Trilogy makes it a treasure to be plundered, a remarkable moment in the evolution of the artistry of director Leone, whose visual style was so influenced by the medium of the two-perf film he originally employed for its low cost; composer Ennio Morricone's singular soundtrack stylings; and the iconic pop-art title sequences by Iginio Lardani. The improvement in the crispness of the picture (particularly in those magnificent extreme close-up portraits) alone is worth the extra paid for the Blu-ray edition.

What really seals the deal, once more, is the incredible insight from Leone biographer and film historian Christopher Frayling. His infectious enthusiasm for and positively encyclopedic knowledge of Leone's best-known trilogy, as evidenced in the special features and audio commentary, are sure to reignite the dormant passions of the Dollars trilogy fans.
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reviewed by Sharon Schulz-Elsing
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