The Man with No Name Trilogy: (A Fistful of Dollars / For A Few Dollars More / The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly)
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Disc 1: FISTFUL OF DOLLARS Disc 2: FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE Disc 3: THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY
Sergio Leone's trilogy of operatic spaghetti Westerns with Clint Eastwood made the former TV star into an international sensation as the scraggly, silent Man with No Name, a wandering rogue with a scheming mind and a sense of humor drier than the dusty, wind-scoured desert. With A Fistful of Dollars, a blatant rip-off of Kurosawa's cynical samurai hit Yojimbo, Leone transforms the Western hero into a crafty mercenary. The follow-up, For a Few Dollars More, teams Eastwood up in an uneasy alliance with Lee Van Cleef in a tale of revenge, but the masterpiece of the set is The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, an epic scramble for buried gold set against the violence of the Civil War. In this film good is a relative term as three criminals make a series of tenuous partnerships broken in double-crosses and betrayals in Leone's epic vision of the American southwest as endless deserts and clapboard towns infested with gunmen. This was a new kind of Western: cynical, violent, stylish, and austere. Eastwood's rough face and squinting eyes fill the widescreen frame in massive close-ups while Leone stages action in bold compositions on empty streets and stark landscapes. The guns ring out in cartoonish exaggeration, and the music, an eclectic, electric mix of buzzing guitar, human voice, and harmonica by Ennio Morricone, sets the whole thing in a world pitched between myth and modernity. Leone's shot-in-Spain trilogy ushered in a flood of Italian spaghetti Westerns, but none hold a candle to Leone's stylish classics. --Sean Axmaker
- This Collection Contains the Following (see individual title listings for complete details):
- "A Fistful of Dollars" (1964, Letterboxed/P&S 2.35:1, 102 min.), "For a Few Dollars More" (1966, Letterboxed 2.35:1, 131 min.), "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" (1966, Anamorphic 2.35:1, 162 min.)
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I listened to the DTS-HD Master Audio sound tracks bit-streamed out to my late-model Onkyo receiver. Though the original film sound tracks were recorded in mono, these surround tracks seem well done, with surround signals moderate and and not artificial sounding.
Supplementary content is minimal though interesting, a look at a collection of promotional posters and other materials used world wide in the original theatrical release promotions. I would have liked to see making-of documentaries and commentaries by Eastwood and the films' producer and director, but overall I'm not complaining. These are the finest home video versions of these films I've ever seen and I'm happy to now have them.