Per Un Pugno Di Dollari

Sergio Leone

T . int .: A Fistful of Dollars Sog.: Sergio Leone. Scen.: Sergio Leone, Duccio Tessari. F.: Federico Larraya, Massimo Dallamano. M.: Roberto Cinquini. Scgf., Cos.: Carlo Simi. Mus.: Ennio Morricone. Int.: Clint Eastwood (Joe, lo straniero), Gian Maria Volonté (Ramón Rojo), Marianne Koch (Marisol), Margarita Lozano (Consuelo Baxter), Bruno Carotenuto (Antonio Baxter), Antonio Prieto (Benito Rojo), Wolfgang Lukschy (John Baxter), José ‘Pepe’ Calvo (Silvanito), Mario Brega (Chico). Prod.: Arrigo Colombo, Giorgio Papi per Jolly, Constantin, Ocean. DCP. D.: 100′. Col.

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

The image was restored from the original Techniscope camera negative deposited at the Cineteca di Bologna’s archive by the company Unidis Jolly Film. Cinematographer Ennio Guarnieri has supervised the color correction and a 1965 Technicolor print was used as reference. The music was remastered from two original sets of 35mm and 16mm magnetic soundtracks.

Somehow, Hollywood was no longer creating for him the magic he remembered from his youth. Westerns had become too formulaic and talky […]. If the stories started to feel silly or predictable, they could not expect to claim their audiences’ attention for very long, and the enchantment would disappear. Leone sensed that the old fairy tales were slipping away and felt that “their loss would be irreplaceable”. Focusing on convincing detail, making a concerted effort to keep the fairy tale as realistic as possible, putting an emphasis on the unpredictable, pump ing up “the spectacle,” and creating a hero in tune with the times could bring some of the enchantment back. He had enough experience to know that there was a world of difference between the mystifications of Hollywood and the facts of everyday life – a much more complex matter than just the contrast between ‘myth’ and ‘reality’. And he was fascinated by exactly how cinema functioned as a latter-day form of myth. In his films from A Fistful of Dollars onward, he wants us to believe in his fables – he goes to considerable lengths to ensure that we do – yet at the same time he doesn’t want us to believe them. He distances himself through irony, humor, and the voice of a character saying, “It’s like playing cowboys and Indians”. He wants to have it both ways. […] Sergio Leone made Westerns – set in another time and another country, in a scrupulously researched past that also resembled a dream. Instead of telling his stories in classic Hollywood fashion (as his apprenticeship had trained him to do), he embellished them, turned the grammar of film into a kind of rhetoric, and generally behaved toward the Western like a mannerist artist con fronted by a biblical subject. One of the defining features of the Western was the landscape, and Leone used landscapes in unsettling ways, making them either full of big faces or surprisingly empty and re ceding into the far distance. And rather than invoking the traditional morality of the Western, he turned the genre into a robust Mediterranean carnival peopled by tricksters and rogues. When Leone cited Hollywood Westerns in his Dollars films – sometimes to reenchant them, sometimes to exorcise them – it was always in this fresh cultural context. When making A Fistful of Dollars, the Westerns he particularly had in mind, by his own account, were George Stevens’s Shane, with its solitary rider from nowhere entering a valley range war, helping the ‘holy family’, then re turning whence he came; Edward Dmytryk’s Warlock, with its reference to the townspeople waiting for a gunfight “like little boys waiting for the circus parade”; and Budd Boetticher’s Ranown cycle of low-budget Westerns that contrasted the granite-faced stoicism of the hero (Randolph Scott) with a series of color ful, well-drawn villains. In Boetticher’s Westerns, the hero brings a sense of worth and purpose to a surprisingly bleak wilderness. In A Fistful of Dollars, the hero much prefers to exploit the situation.

Christopher Frayling, Once Upon a Time in Italy. The Westerns of Sergio Leone, Harry N. Abrams, New York 2005


Copy From

Restoration carried out by Cineteca di Bologna and Unidis Jolly Film at L'Immagine Ritrovata laboratory. Funding provided by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and The Film Foundation. Special ackowledgments to producers Giorgio Papi and Arrigo Colombo. The screening has been made possible by the right holders: the Paladino family and Unidis Jolly Film, which produced and distributed the film. Thanks to the Leone family