FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE (1965)

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Elizabeth

Chris and I watched The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly the first day we started dating, so all of these movies are dear to my heart (even though I haven’t seen them all). Now, I liked The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly and I wasn’t really expecting to. I kind of thought it would be boring and/or hard to follow. But it wasn’t at all! But I still went into For A Few Dollars More thinking the same thing, but again, it wasn’t like that all . . . even less so.

This movie has everything: bromance, beautiful cinematography, a revenge killing, etc etc. Once the story was kind of established, that Manco (Clint Eastwood) and Colonel Mortimer (Van Cleef) are bounty hunters after the same guy, Indio (Gian Maria Volonté), I said (out loud), “They just need to team up and work together!” And about 5 minutes later that’s exactly what happened. The whole movie went exactly the way I wanted it to go. That’s not to say it was predictable, because I didn’t really think it was going to go the way I wanted. It was just great!

It’s just really hard for me not to see Manco and Mortimer as totally in love. I know that sounds crazy and I’m not talking about homosexuality. I’m talking more about this mutual feeling of respect, admiration, and LOVE (yes!) as well as having mostly the same goals. First of all, let’s talk about their meetcute:

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Amazing.

For a while, like many cinematic couples, Manco and Mortimer are just sort of bitchy to each other – they push each other’s buttons and test each other’s loyalty (both passing and failing at different times). But once it comes out that Mortimer is after Indio not for the bounty but because at one time Indio murdered Mortimer’s brother-in-law (or his sister’s partner or some kind), raped his sister, and basically was the cause of her killing herself mid-rape, shit gets serious. They don’t really test each other anymore – they’re on a mission. Manco wants Indio for the money and Mortimer wants him for revenge, but they both want him bad. The only real difference is that Manco doesn’t care who kills him and Mortimer does. In the last scene Manco and Mortimer sort of team up against Indio, except it’s really Mortimer vs. Indio, with Manco watching from the side, gun drawn toward Indio. Manco didn’t have to do that . . . he could have not risked it or he could have just stolen the money Indio had and ran off, leaving Indio for Mortimer. But, instead, because Manco fucking loved Mortimer, he stays behind for the sole purpose of making sure Mortimer gets his revenge. It’s beautiful, really.

Also, can we talk about Lee Van Cleef for a second? This came up before when we watched The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance but I truly don’t understand how Lee Van Cleef was able to be totally fucking sexy while also totally looking like a rat. How is that possible?? It should be a Wonder of the World, really. But in general, Lee Van Cleef and Clint Eastwood were so comically better looking than literally anyone else in the movie’s universe that it would have been distracting if the movie wasn’t so good. I do love how whenever they show up, if there’s a woman around, you better believe she’s swooning and/or staring. Who could blame them?

Christopher

When looking at the trilogy that falls into I absolutely love The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly the best. I feel like it’s so rich in story I get something out of it each time I watch it. However, For A Few Dollars More was always my second favorite by far. I was never that into A Fistful Of Dollars but I do love Yojimbo

The reason For A Few Dollars More was always my second favorite in the trilogy was definitely because Lee Van Cleef was in it. I really think he’s  a fantastic actor and I always get excited when he shows up in stuff. I really need to watch some of those westerns he’s solely the main character in…I’m kind of not sure why I haven’t done that yet.

This movie builds such a romantic world to me. I mean, it’s not something I would necessarily like to live in but everyone just looks cool to me. It makes this movie so easy to watch even though I feel like people would find parts boring. The movie has such a nice build and of course ends in a deadly showdown.

One of the funniest things about this movie to me is the fact that Klaus Kinski has a very small role as a hunchback. When I first knew this movie I definitely had no clue who he was but when I first saw Aguirre in high school I knew I had seen him somewhere. 

REPULSION (1965)

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Christopher

This is the kind of movie I have always loved. It’s so quiet, it takes a while for the tension to build, and the story takes a little deciphering. And I guess I’ve never really thought about it before but Roman Polanski might be one of my favorite directors. His characters and stories are so fantastically interesting. I really hope Elizabeth and I try to watch through his filmography soon. I have also been wanting to see this movie because some good friends of mine used to have the poster hung up in their house. I always thought it looked so interesting and I have a lot of great memories attached to it. I’m not sure why I didn’t watch it back then, especially since I did watch The Tenant back then. But getting back, I always thought, based off the Repulsion poster, that the movie was about a bunch of girls killing guys for family stuff?…I’m not sure why I thought that but it’s nothing like that and if you have never seen it, it’s so fucking worth it!

Elizabeth

There’s not a ton of plot to Repulsion, but not in a bad, Tree of Life kind of way. It’s basically about Carol (Catherine Deneuve) being left alone in the apartment she shares with her sister and going from nearly-insane to without-a-doubt-insane. It’s scary, but what makes it so scary is how realistic it is. I’m not going to pretend to know what it’s like to be schizophrenic or have any kind of really severe psychotic disorder. But I do know what it’s like to be scared of things that can’t hurt you and what it’s like to be so insanely depressed that you can’t leave your apartment and that’s really all I need to know to understand how true to life this is.

Carol is cripplingly shy and disgusted by men. But she’s also gorgeous, so she’s in constant conflict with how she looks and who she really is. There is one man in particular, Colin (John Fraser), who borderline stalks Carol despite not knowing her long at all and despite her constant apathy toward him. He tells her he’s miserable without her, which is both absurd and pathetic given their relationship (or lack thereof). But would Carol have to put in so much effort to get rid of Colin if she were ugly? Would Colin have pursued her so hard? Would he have been so blind to her apathy and rejection of him? Of course not, and that’s a really interesting point I think Polanski made by casting Deneuve. She’s just a gorgeous woman, of course she loves men! Of course she’s flirtatious and wants to get married. Just look at her! The fact that everyone, including her sister, seems to completely miss that there’s something wrong with Carol I feel is almost 100% due to the way she looks. We really don’t get any back story to Carol (which I love) but I like to imagine that she’s really always been this way and everyone’s always been oblivious to her because she’s always been pretty.

But the reason I love that we don’t have a back story to Carol is because it honestly doesn’t really matter. She has nightmares of a man coming and raping her, of the walls coming alive and grabbing her, but we don’t know what’s at the core of all this sexual imagery. Was she molested as a child? Raped? Walked in on her parents having sex? We don’t know and because of that we can’t justify anything. Maybe Carol was raped or maybe Carol was just born with a mental disorder. It doesn’t change anything happening in the story of this movie, so we don’t need to know. I love that Polanski could have chosen to explain it away, to make Carol a lifelong victim of men (if she had been raped), but he chose not to because that’s not the focus. The focus is what’s happening right now, because Carol is going crazy right now.

I read somewhere that every woman needs to see Repulsion. I’m not sure I agree with that. Obviously there are all kinds of cases you can make for Repulsion having a feminine edge and being about men and women, but what’s so great is that while this particular story is specific to those themes, it doesn’t have to be. Carol could easily be afraid of something else, or someone else (children? old women?), and the results would still be the same. The feminism of Repulsion shouldn’t be disregarded, but it’s also not the end-all be-all for it, either.

I don’t think every woman needs to see Repulsion, I think every person should see Repulsion.