Most of this series has been devoted to either the glorious obscurities that exist around the internet or lesser known films. But let’s spend tonight talking about a classic that most of us have seen: A Fistful of Dollars. I watched this the other night for the 6th or 7th time. I used to find it the least satisfactory of the Leone westerns, except for Duck You Sucker which really is a second-rate film. But now I don’t know. Granted, it lacks the narrative complexity of The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly and Once Upon in the West. And it’s isn’t as delightfully bonkers as For a Few Dollars More. But even given that it is a ripoff of Yojimbo, the simplicity of the story applied to the West, plus Eastwood’s awesomeness, plus Morricone’s music, makes it such a revolutionary western of amorality. Just moving this genre beyond serving as Turnerarian justification for America’s glory alone makes this a valuable film. It’s apolitical of course, but being apolitical in a western in 1964 was political. Here’s two of the classic clips from this great film:
And let’s not sleep on Gian Maria Volonté, who was not only outstanding with Leone, but as the fascist cop in Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion, a film with all too much relevance for the Trump years.