Sergio Leone’s “Man With No Name” trilogy is without a doubt one of the most iconic westerns ever to hit the screen. The three films; A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, are among the finest spaghetti westerns made. The three films have already been available on Blu-ray in as a collection, but recently MGM has released them individually for viewer consumption.
Not long ago I had the opportunity to check out the A Fistful of Dollars release. The film proved to be as timeless as a I remembered, and the presentation quality was on par with expectations for a high definition release of a film from the ’60s. It was a little disappointing that the individual releases are identical to those that were available in the aforementioned boxed collection, however, that didn’t take away from the quality of the release itself. Just keep that in mind if these movies already have a home in your collection. With that in mind, let’s take a look at For a Few Dollars More.
For a Few Dollars More starts out with a bang as a group of banditos frees a murderous criminal from the confines of his prison. He’s paroled thanks to the barrel of a bunch of pistols and it’s quite clear that this hombre, El Indio (Gian Maria Volonté), is a man to be reckoned with. After the villainous introduction we get to meet a bounty hunter by the name of Mortimer (Van Cleef) who is a slick individual that dresses in black. The manner with which he carries himself tells everyone he’s cool as a cucumber and as dangerous as a cobra. One glance from him is enough to send people quaking in their boots and he’s the kind of guy you don’t want to mess with. As evidence of that point he takes out a wanted man from several yards away to collect a $1,000. He even allows the man to pull a gun on him and doesn’t break a sweat as bullets dance ever closer to his feet.
With the new characters out of the way, Clint Eastwood’s Stranger character returns to the screen on the hunt for a bounty of his own. He’s noticeably injured from his encounter in A Fistful of Dollars, which left one of his hands wounded, but he’s still deadly and full of grit. Eventually the Stranger and Mortimer catch wind of each other as they both pursue El Indio for that rather large bounty that was placed on his head. What transpires next is another deadly game of the Stranger getting caught in the middle between two forces. He remains the star, however, and everything that occurs in the film revolves around his actions.
For a Few Dollars More is unpredictable and entertaining the whole way through. It may not be quite as good as A Fistful of Dollars, but it’s far more original and I really enjoyed what they did with Mortimer’s character. This film is still a classic from start to finish and it’s a memorable piece that is timeless by most standards. The movie comes highly recommended.
As far as the Blu-ray is concerned the picture quality is once again spectacular as the full 1080p high definition image with AVC encoding really brings up the details. From beads of sweat on Eastwood’s brow to fabric, hair, and background details, there’s plenty of eye-candy here. With that being said it’s all in a sun-drenched western motif so don’t expect much in the way of vibrant colors, but black levels are rich and the colors that are here really stand out as a result. Some grain and scratches pop up in just about every scene, but that’s to be expected with a film of this vintage.
Likewise the audio is good as well, though it’s arguably less impressive. The English 5.1 DTS-HD track is appreciated, but unnecessary and nowhere near as powerful as it could have been. The original English Mono track is the more iconic of the selections here and the Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital is there for added flavor. All around the sound quality is sharp and clear enough, but don’t expect from LFE or presence on the soundstage.
For bonus features there is a selection of radio spots, trailers, and location comparisons. In addition to the lightweight stuff, more substantial features include “The Christopher Frayling Archives: For a Few Dollars More”, which examines the classic film, and there’s also an audio commentary with Christopher Frayling as well, which is definitely worth a listen. “A New Standard” features Frayling talking once again on the film and some of the content is a little redundant from the commentary, “Back for More” offers up Eastwood remembering his time filming the movie, and “Tre Voci: For a Few Dollars More” looks at alternative scenes and releases.
If you don’t already own the collection of these films, For a Few Dollars More is a must-own Blu-ray title. The film is a fantastic piece that stands out as one of Eastwood’s finest and most iconic performances. The plot is tight and entertaining and the action is outstanding for what it is. Pick this one up now!