tek's rating: ¾

Fistful of Dollars (R)
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This came out in 1964, in Italy, and in 1967, in the U.S. (The Italian title translates as "For a Fistful of Dollars," but onscreen in the English version it says "Fistful of Dollars." For some reason, however, the word "A" is generally added to the beginning of the English title. I'm choosing to call it by the onscreen name, however.) It was the first "spaghetti western" to gain major international popularity. And it was the first movie in the "Dollars" trilogy, also known as the "Man with No Name" trilogy (though in each film the main character, played by Clint Eastwood, has a different nickname; in this one, he's called Joe, at least by one character). I don't think it's an actual trilogy, but rather that idea was used as a marketing tool in the U.S.; Eastwood may actually be playing a different character in each movie, it's not really clear. I should also mention that this movie is sort of an unofficial remake of Akira Kurosawa's "Yojimbo," though I haven't seen that yet. (I first saw this movie in 2015; hopefully I'll see Yojimbo someday.)

I think it takes place either during or within a decade after the American Civil War. A stranger comes to the Mexican town of San Miguel, where there are two rival families (the Rojos and the Baxters) vying for control of the town. One of the Baxters is the town's sheriff, but I kind of got the impression that both families were really more like gangs. Anyway, "Joe" ends up allying himself with both families. Meanwhile, he stays at an inn run by a guy named Silvanito. And there's also a coffin-maker named Piripero (the one who calls him Joe, though I don't think it's at all clear whether that's a nickname or his real name, possibly something he mentioned to Piripero and Silvanito offscreen). There's also a woman named Marisol, who is married and has a young son, but she's been taken from her family by the Rojos, since Ramon Rojo is "in love with her." Anyway... Joe basically seems to be a con man who happens to be good with a pistol. And while he does a fair amount of killing, he mainly plays the two families against each other. But I don't want to get into all the specific plot points. All that really matters is that a lot of people die.

So, um... the movie is kind of a classic, and iconic, and it's been referenced in various ways in various other movies, and whatnot. And Joe had a few amusing lines. But while I guess I liked the movie, and I'm certainly glad to have finally seen it, it's probably not something I'll ever feel the need to see again.

Followed by For a Few Dollars More

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