DVD Review: The Sergio Leone Collection

The Sergio Leone Collection

The collection includes A Fist Full of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, and Duck You Sucker (a.k.a. A Fist Full Of Dynamite).

The first three were the beginning of what would later become known as the “Spaghetti Western.”…because they were made by Italians! (Why is that not considered derogatory, yet if I were to call a Mexican-made western a “Taco Western,” I would probably get called a racist? Maybe it’s a “sign of the times.” Of course if I called a Canadian-made film a “Back Bacon Western” there would be no outrage at all…weird. Maybe we are too limited in our outrage; maybe we should be outraged at ANY reference to other countries and cultures…or perhaps we are too touchy, and need to remember that everytime someone refers to another culture, they don’t ALWAYS mean it offensively, they could be making a harmless jest…or maybe they are ignorant to what society now calls offensive).

Anyway…

By far the best of the bunch was The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. Eli Wallach was very good as “The Ugly.” Lee Van Cleefs character changes from good guy in For a Few Dollars More, who is out to avenge his sister’s death, to a very bad guy in The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, who kills children and tortures friends.

Duck You Sucker is not one of the “Man with no name” series (as the first three are). Before I watched Duck You Sucker, the only thing I new about it was that Rod Stieger and James Coburn were in it. After watching it, all I can tell you is Rod Stieger and James Coburn were in it. It was two hours and a half hours of…..um… well… Rod Stieger and James Coburn were in it!

Speaking of the “Man with no Name,” if you watch and listen carefully in A Few Dollars More, you will hear the Nameless Man’s name. It turns out that the whole “Man with no Name” thing was a U.S. marketing scheme and the few seconds in A Fist Full were cut out in the American release of the film.

If you think of Clint Eastwood as “that old dude who wins craploads of Oscars,” you should go back and watch the first three movies of this collection, and you will see why Clint Eastwood is considered one of the coolest guys ever to grace the screen. In these movies–with the poncho, ever present cigar, cowboy hat, and deadly pistol hand–Clint is the coolest guy EVER.

Each movie contains its own Extras disk, mostly consisting of the same few featurettes and interviews, specific to each individual film. Included are several short clips of film historians telling us why the movies were ground breaking, an audio commentary by another film historian, and an interview with Mr. Eastwood talking about the experience of making each picture.

The extras for A Fist Full include a prologue that was filmed 12 years after the movie was released, and contains none of the actors from the movie. It was made because in 1977 it was thought that a man that goes into a town and shoots a bunch of people–and gets rich by manipulating two warring factions–is an unredeemable character and cannot be shown on TV. They shot a scene where Clint’s character, here shot from the back so we cannot see it is not Clint, will receive a pardon from prison if he goes into the town and “cleans it up.” The scene “stars” Harry Dean Stanton as the warden. At one point Mr. Stanton says, “Wait. Don’t say anything,” in a VERY obvious attempt to not have the Clint stand in say anything, because you would know that it is not Clint. Very funny.

So go buy some Denobili Toscani cigars (thin cigars that look like Cookie the Trail boss just rolled them in the covered wagon) and a cowboy hat–you’re going to need them–and watch the whole collection.

Randy Otteson
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