Tripping Through Gateways

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Once Upon a Time In the West specializes in a big trait of Sergio Leone’s work…patience. The film opens with a scene of three men waiting for a train to arrive.  Everything is quiet, with hardly a word spoken.  Only the sounds of a rickety windmill and water dripping onto a hat fill the soundscape.  The three men’s motives uncertain.  And we wait. And wait. And wait. And wait. And it is… Read More

Originally called a Fistful of Dynamite, Duck, You Sucker is Sergio Leone’s fourth Spaghetti Western, the first without Clint Eastwood.  While a certainly more “poetic” title, Fistful of Dynamite suggests a tie to the Man With No Name films when one does not exist. Duck, You Sucker (a line repeated throughout the film) is the tale of a Mexican gang with a plan to rob a bank who stumble across an explosives… Read More

The third film in the Man With No Name trilogy finds Clint Eastwood and Lee Van Cleef returning.  Interestingly, Van Cleef is playing a different character in this film. This time around he is the untrustworthy villain Angel Eyes. Eastwood’s Blondie (the film’s “Good”) is introduced as a bounty hunter who captures the violent criminal Tuco (the titular “Ugly”).  He turns him in to the authorities and collects the bounty. But the… Read More

Eastwood returns for another round as the Man With No Name.  For a few Dollars More finds him living the life of a bounty hunter. The film opens by introducing us to Col Douglas Mortimer. On a train a man is trying to talk to him, but Mortimer shuts him up by lowering a bible and revealing an icy stare (Lee Van Cleef has a steely eyed squint that can rival the… Read More

A quiet drifter gets caught up in the local politics between two families of the town of San Miguel.   Playing both sides, he seeks to make, well, a fistful of dollars. While Eastwood built up some fame through the late fifties, especially with Rawhide, it is really the Sergio Leone spaghetti westerns that set up his iconic persona.  1964’s Fistful of Dollars is a simple and tightly told story. The Man With… Read More