Undercover Bounty Hunter
Approaching his target, bounty hunter “Monco” (Clint Eastwood) can easily kill the wanted man whose back is turned. But no. Monco chooses instead to play a poker hand at the table. When Monco wins, he kills. And not only kills, but does so stylishly, performing a no look shot for the death blow.
Monco’s rival, Douglas Mortimer (Lee Van Cleef) acts much the same. At a bar, Douglas has the gall to light a match on an outlaw’s hunchback, wholly casual as he stares down the offended party. For a Few Dollars More effectively created the buddy action movie, but one so engorged on distrust and tension, it’s difficult to laugh.
For a Few Dollars More has a sense of cool
For a Few Dollars More has a sense of cool
For a Few Dollars More has a sense of cool. Eastwood’s distinctive, indifferent stares joined to Van Cleef’s on-screen ego is a pure Hollywood creation – just without Hollywood’s involvement. Director Sergio Leone plays to American gun fetishism, macho masculinity, and historical lore to produce this near masterpiece, those elements driving an infinitely restless standoff between anti-hero and villain.
There’s a bank robbery, railroads, kidnappings, and mournful men, all pieces necessitated by this genre, yet elevated by a foreign grit and glamour American contemporaries avoided. Much as For a Few Dollars More appreciates a bandit’s death from a six-shooter, it’s also intellectually firm. It’s not only Monco and Douglas tearing down this gang, but the gang members themselves, flailing in their panic that any of them will turn on one another. The good guys just have to wait and then collect their bounties.
At its most evocative, For a Few Dollars More silently considers the mindset of men who hunt other men for money. Monco and Douglas don’t connect merely because they lead similar lives, rather their unspoken pasts drove them to this crude sport. When together, they have a shared language and morals. Both want the heightened dollar reward for Indio (Gian Maria Volonte), but accept there’s value in their deeds beyond their prize. Their teaming is done for something more than their own financial gain, and that is why they function compared to the selfishness pouring from Indio’s men.
Kino foregoes any HDR in bringing For a Few Dollars More to 4K. That’s of little concern. Resolution jumps from the screen, revealing lush, precise definition. Facial texture excels in close, adding to the intensity suggested by the camerawork. Lush environments likewise show excellent clarity behind a well resolved grain structure. Other than a few questionable rough spots (the train passenger in the beginning looks smothered by noise reduction), the rest generally excels in bringing For a Few Dollars More into the modern era.
However, around 1:20:00, there’s a notable drop in sharpness. This wavers in and out for the rest of the runtime, appearing as if pulled from a different, lesser source material. Chunkier grain, reduced definition, and soggier fidelity intrude for these final reels, with only occasional returns to the prior greatness.
Generous color reproduction gives flesh tones a warm, heavily tanned kick appropriate to these open air settings. Clothing brings in a need for strengthened, hefty primaries. Dusty plains play their part, suitably earth toned.
Shadows hit total black as needed, at times crushing. That’s a detriment (and an HDR pass possibly lifts detail from those corners), but there remains depth in the image. Sunlight sits over the daylight hours, healthy and rich, creating perfect conditions for dimensionality.
Either mono or 5.1 DTS-HD provides the sound, but differences are few. Thin, flat effects and worn dubbed dialog sound their age (and budget). There’s no weight or depth, purely grindhouse-esque in quality. Surrounds and stereos barely factor in during the surround mix, gunshots echoing in the fronts, and so does the score, although it’s hardly noticeable.
Kino includes two commentaries, the first from critic Tim Lucas, the second bringing in historian Sir Christopher Frayling. The Blu-ray continues with featurettes, including location tours, two featurettes featuring Frayling, Clint Eastwood reminiscing about the project, a piece on Leone, then marketing materials.
For a Few Dollars More
Tense and unforgiving, For a Few Dollars More is in a constant state of distrust amid a persistent sense of Hollywood cool.
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The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 57 full resolution uncompressed 4K screen shots grabbed directly from the UHD: