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. 

THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE (1961)

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Christopher

I saw this movie once in high school and it really stayed with me because I have always placed it in one of the best western movies I have seen. I had been trying to get Elizabeth to watch this for some time, because it’s on Netflix, but she never seemed interested but once we saw that the Drafthouse was playing it we had to go. (A quick note on seeing this at The Ritz: The ticket was listed for $10 each. I bought two with two Groupons I had, so I got a $20 value for $10. BUT this screening also came with a flight of whiskey and the tickets were supposed to be listed for $25. But since the Drafthouse messed up on the price we got a $50 value for $10 and a shit ton of whiskey!)

I love this film because of all the characters and how they interact with each other. You have John Wayne, who’s a local cowboy/hero of sorts, you have Jimmy Stewart who is a lawyer and not one to carry a gun, and you have Lee Marvin, who is a murderer. This movie is great and if you have never seen it please check it out!

Elizabeth

Okay, I really need to talk about something for a second before I really get into The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, which I loved. This might not seem that important, but it is.

So. Lee Van Cleef. Now, he was not someone that really showed up on my radar pre-Chris, because I hadn’t really seen him in much before. But now I have seen him. And after The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, I can now conclude (with full support from Chris), that Lee Van Cleef WAS TOTALLY FUCKING SEXY. Now, this slipped past me a little bit, because if I’m totally honest, Lee Van Cleef also sort of looks like a rat. So how do I find this slightly rat-like, often-a-bad-guy sexy? I don’t know. I do not know. He is just so masculine. Oh my god. It really hit me in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance because in the first scene in which Liberty Valance (Lee Marvin) and his gang (which includes Lee Van Cleef) are seen without masks, it’s in a crowded restaurant and everyone stands up. And even though Lee Van Cleef barely had any lines and wasn’t a main character, my eyes went straight to him. He just totally commands the room without doing a goddamn thing. That’s a fairly rare quality, I think.

Anyway, now that that’s out of the way I can talk about how I think The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance is awesome, and particularly awesome for a Western. I’ve usually stayed away from Westerns because they can get pretty redundant and are usually about two-dimensional male characters, which just gets old. But even though this movie is directed by John Ford and stars John Wayne, it somehow is not the stereotypical Western. And because of that, this was by far the best thing I’ve seen John Wayne in. Even though he saunters around and seriously says “Pilgrim” like a hundred times, he doesn’t seem to take himself too seriously and acts as a perfect foil to Ransom Stoddard (James Stewart), who is at times comically serious.

I think it’s really the triangle between Tom Doniphon (Wayne), Stoddard, and Liberty Valance (Lee Marvin) that makes this movie so strong. Like I said, Tom Doniphon is this old Western-y character, but is also sort of goofy and pretty respectful of everyone around him (unless you’re a murderer). Stoddard is a lawyer who believes in the law so firmly that he clearly doesn’t understand just how lawless the west is. And then there’s Valance, who is SCARY. So many times I find Western villains not to be scary, because we mostly hear about how bad they are, like in High Noon. But the first time we see Valance and his gang, he nearly beats Stoddard to death . . . WITH A WHIP. Uhhhh so that’s scary. We see a newspaper article on how Valance and his gang beat to death a father and son, while the wife/mother “watched helplessly” (aka was raped, I’m sure). They shoot down innocent people, on camera, for no reason. They beat (almost to death) multiple characters, for no reason. It reallyyyy drove home this idea that law doesn’t matter there, and helps support the subplot of Stoddard’s blossoming political career, which eventually brings law and order to the town.

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance is great. Watch it if you don’t like Westerns (like me). Watch it if you don’t like John Wayne (like me). IT’S SO WORTH IT.