What movie was that...?

01 December 2009

A Fistful of Dollars

directed by Sergio Leone

Clint Eastwood’s Man with No Name character is born here in Sergio Leone’s classic A Fistful of Dollars, the first in his Dollars Trilogy (consisting of A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly). Based on the Akira Kurosawa film Yojimbo, the plot centers on a mysterious character (Eastwood) who plays one lawless family against the other in order to make a big score. Leone has both barrels firing in this genre defying western that looks at the entire myth of the American West from the perspective of an outsider, and the results are not nearly as clear cut as The Duke would have us believe. Leone dispels the romance and leaves us with a distilled, highly potent comment on our perceptions of our nation’s history. He uses clichés to his advantage, and he makes obvious use of his knowledge and love for film to elevate a genre out of the realm of mediocrity to the level of sophisticated art. Sound like any other director we know today making movies with all of the flair and passion that Leone showed not just for storytelling, but for the art of filmmaking itself? I’ll give you a hint, his initials are Q.T.

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