'For a Few Dollars More' [Blu-ray]
(Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, Luigi Pistilli, Klaus Kinski, et al / Blu ray / NR / (1965) 2011 / MGM)
Overview: The Man with No Name (Clint Eastwood) is a bounty hunter whose desert Southwest killing ground is suddenly crowded by the presence of an older, black-clad shootist (Lee Van Cleef). Individually and together, they terminate sundry grotesques while closing in on their biggest quarry, a memorably insane bandit called El Indio (Gian Maria Volonté).
Blu ray Verdict: Sergio Leone's infamous 'A Fistful of Dollars' introduced Clint Eastwood's Man With No Name series and introduced the world to the Spaghetti Western, but the next film is more enjoyable than that first one.
In this film Clint plays Monco, a bounty hunter. In an early scene we see that Monco is a fearless sharp-shooter, bringing in a bad guy for a reward that is three times the yearly salary of the receiving Sheriff. We're also introduced to another sharp-shooting tough guy bounty hunter - Colonel Douglas Mortimer - played by Lee Van Cleef.
Van Cleef plays a little against type as in earlier films he was usually the heavy. Here he takes that bad-guy personna and plays a dude who can wade into a roomful of baddies and walk out with his man without flinching.
After establishing the two bounty hunters as good at their job we're introduced to Indio, played by Gian Maria Volonte (even scarier than from the first movie). Indio is broken out of prison in a bloody rescue, then has a bounty on his head equal to a lifetime's salary. He's particularly evil - not content to merely murder and kill, he toys with his victims before cruelly murdering them.
At first Monco and Mortimer are disappointed to be after the same prey, but the Colonel proposes a partnership - after all, the 14 baddies in Indio's gang would be tough for even the two bad bounty hunters.
This film perpetuates several of the iconic western archetypes that Eastwood later leveled in 'Unforgiven,' but it's bloody western fun too! Eastwood was taking notes. And watching the film again, now on ultra crisp Blu ray, I find that Van Cleef more than holds his own with the rising superstar. This is a Full Screen Presentation (1.66:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.