For a Few Dollars More, 1965.
Directed by Sergio Leone
Starring Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, Gian Maria Volonte, Mara Krup, Luigi Pistilli, Klaus Kinski, Josef Egger, Panos Papadopulos, Benito Stefanelli, Robert Camardiel, Aldo Sambrell, Luis Rodriguez, Mario Brega.
Kino Lorber has completed its Special Editions of Sergio Leone’s “dollar” or “man with no name” trilogy of spaghetti westerns with a new Blu-ray Special Edition of For a Few Dollars More. Like the other releases in the trilogy, it boasts a new 4K restoration of the movie along with a big batch of bonus features, some of which are new.
When I took a look at Sergio Leone’s classic spaghetti western A Fistful of Dollars, I noted that since Kino Lorber had already taken care of The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly with a 50th Anniversary Special Edition, a new Blu-ray edition of For a Few Dollars More was likely around the corner.
Well, call me the Nostradamus of Blu-ray releases, because For a Few Dollars More has arrived in a new Blu-ray edition that includes a fresh 4K restoration and a big helping of bonus features. Unfortunately, my clairvoyance didn’t allow me to see why Kino released the third film in the trilogy first, followed by the first movie and then the second one. Perhaps it had something to do with the difficulty of clearing various rights, or the order in which the restorations and/or bonus features were completed.
For a Few Dollars More stars Clint Eastwood reprising his breakout role as “the man with no name” from A Fistful of Dollars, although a lawsuit by a producer on the first film forced Leone to maintain in court that the character was actually two different people. However, we’re all free to look at him any way we want – I prefer the standard interpretation that he’s a guy who goes by different names, or simply remains anonymous, because he wants to drift from town to town without anyone being able to track him.
In this film, he’s known as Manco, a bounty hunter who crosses paths with Colonel Douglas Mortimer (Lee Van Cleef), a military veteran who’s also looking to collect some rewards for wanted men. The two of them find themselves reluctantly working together to capture El Indio (Gian Maria Volonte), a gang leader who has broken out of prison and plans to rob a bank with his men.
The rest of the story follows Manco and Mortimer as they scheme to collect the bounties on El Indio and his gang while ensuring that the other one is cut out of the pay-offs. And, of course, they both wouldn’t mind getting their hands on the money from the bank, should it “accidentally” fall into their laps, as long as they can keep it all for themselves.
For a Few Dollars More is a richer experience than its predecessor, given the success of the first film that allowed Leone to have a larger budget and a more accomplished cast to work with. It’s also a longer film – where A Fistful of Dollars had a tidy little story, For a Few Dollars More is more epic in scope, setting up the nearly three-hour The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, which helped elevate westerns to a new level of storytelling on par with Akira Kurosawa’s samurai movies.
In addition to a new 4K restoration of the film print, this new Blu-ray Special Edition from Kino offers a generous portion of bonus features, like the other films in the trilogy did. Some of them are new – I’ve noted which ones. Here’s what you’ll find:
- Audio commentaries by film historians Tim Lucas and Sir Christopher Frayling: Both tracks have an academic bent to them, which always floats my boat; your mileage may vary. Frayling is also a Leone biographer, so he applies that lens to his discussion too. The Lucas discussion is a new one.
- The Christopher Frayling Archives (19 minutes) and A New Standard: Frayling on For a Few Dollars More (20 minutes): Frayling also appears in two other bonus features. In the first one, he looks back on the making of the movie, including such esoteric subjects as the different posters produced around the world. The other one is another retrospective that covers some of the same territory, although the focus is more on how Leone developed his directorial style with this film. Neither of these are new.
- On Location in Almeria and Granada with Filmmaker Alex Cox (14 minutes): This is a new piece with the director of Sid and Nancy, Repo Man, and other films. He notes that For a Few Dollars More was the first film that he saw, and he says it’s his favorite western. He travels to the places where the movie was filmed and notes which other productions used them too.
- Back for More: Clint Eastwood Remembers For a Few Dollars More (7 minutes): Pulled from a retrospective interview that Eastwood filmed in 2003 about his work with Leone, this snippet covers this film.
- Tre Voci: For a Few Dollars More (11 minutes): Producer Alberto Grimaldi, screenwriter Sergio Donati, and actor Mickey Knox look back on their involvement with Leone. Knox was blacklisted during the McCarthy era and moved to Europe, where he specialized in adapting French and Italian scripts into English, including The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. This featurette appeared in a previous release.
- The Original American Release Version (5 minutes): United Artists trimmed some moments from the film when it was released in the US, including a reference to Eastwood’s character’s name, so they could maintain their “Man with no name” ad campaign. You can see those moments here. This was culled from an earlier edition.
- Location Comparisons (12 minutes): Another piece that’s not new, this one compares some of the movie’s shooting locations between 2004 and 1965. It looks like the 2004 pictures were shot by a fan.
- Restoration Italian Style (5 minutes): John Kirk, who’s the Director of Technical Operations at MGM, talks about overseeing the restoration of the film, which was assisted by producer Alberto Grimaldi. It’s not clear that this is about the 4K restoration that’s on this disc.
- Trailers From Hell with Ernest Dickerson (3 minutes): Director Ernest Dickerson remembers seeing the trailer for A Few Dollars More when he was a kid. It clearly made a major impression on him. This is new.
- Promoting For a Few Dollars More: Posters and Lobby Cards (18 minutes): Another new piece, this showcases all of the posters and lobby cards used worldwide, including the movie’s rereleases. It simply cycles through all of them.
- For a Few Dollars More: On the Set (6 minutes): Another new piece that cycles through behind-the-scenes photos, mostly in black-and-white.
- For a Few Dollars More: Color Stills (6 minutes): More photos from the filming, this time all in color. Also new.
- For a Few Pictures More (7 minutes): Even more pictures. A new bonus feature too.
Radio spots and trailers round out the disc. Whew.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★ ★