A gunfighter (Eastwood) wanders into a town been torn about
by two warring families. On one side of the two you had the Baxter's on
the other the Rojo's, each fuelled by greed and the passion for power. Seeing
the possibility of making some money, the stranger decides to clean the
town up by playing the two families against each other. Caught in the middle,
the stranger passes information that could be beneficial to each family
but ultimately to him but that information has deadly consequences.
Single-handedly reinventing the Western back in 1964, Sergio
Leone's Dollars Trilogy are considered classics of the genre, rightly so.
With the genre been dominated by the likes of John Wayne,
Gary Cooper, Henry Fonda or James Stewart and a clichéd tradition that ran
through the entire collection of films, the western was on its last legs
in the 1960s. This all changed with 'Fistful of Dollars'. Italian filmmaker
Sergio Leone completely reinvigorated the entire genre, rewriting the rules
and in some cases, throwing them out completely. His 'spaghetti westerns'
as they became known, changed every aspect of this grand Hollywood motion
picture tradition and introduced us to a new kind of screen hero.
Clint Eastwood's 'Man with No Name' became the new icon of
the genre. As far removed from the traditional western hero as you could
get, Eastwood's stranger was a man that was completely devoid of any moral
obligation, killing for his own monetary gain, never really sparing a thought
for others or letting anyone stand in his way. The character was the first
screen anti-hero and would become the benchmark for everyone that followed,
whatever the genre.
Sergio Leone is now rightly thought of as a master filmmaker.
His low budget spaghetti westerns are still considered the defining work
in the genre and have a look and feel that has been copied but never bettered.
Combining a unique look, which included the use of close-ups to emphasise
emotion, a more modern but distinctive soundtrack and a collection of characters
that never really included a real, traditional hero, Leone revealed a more
realistic look at how the Wild West actually was than the traditional Hollywood
fair. Drawing influences from history and other films such as Kurosawa's
'Yojimbo', Leone combines these to produce his own unique and unparalleled
approach to the genre.
'Fistful of Dollars' is a classic and the start of a great
trilogy. Beaten only by Leone's 'The Good, The Bad and The Ugly', this movie
is one of the greatest westerns to grace the silver screen and a standard
that every other film in the genre is still compared, showing the influence
of the director and his spaghetti westerns still have.
PICTURE & SOUND
in Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1 with Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound,
this digitally remastered transfer is very good. The restoration of the
1964 movie is superb and you will never see a better version of the Sergio
Leone classic. The picture quality is brilliant and the 5.1 surround sound
really does the film justice as you listen to that brilliant score.
Commentary by Sir Christopher Frayling
Sergio Leone biographer provides an extremely informative commentary about
the great director and his first movie in the 'Dollars' trilogy. The track
is filled with oodles of information about the movie covering its production,
story, visual style and design. He talks extensively about Clint Eastwood's
character and the influence it has had on the movie industry and how Sergio
Leone's movie have survived the test of time. This is an excellent track
from a man who clearly loves the subject matter.
A New Kind of Hero (21.57 mins)
Sergio Leone biographer Sir Christopher Frayling takes an in-depth look
at Sergio Leone and the new kind of screen hero created for 'Fistful of
Dollars'. He reveals how Kurosawa's 'Yojimbo' and the director passion
for realism and the Western genre influenced the film. He talks about
Clint Eastwood's casting and how the actor contributed to the designs
and look. The shooting style and look of the film is also discussed, highlighting
the use of Techniscope and post synchronisation dubbing of the soundtrack
after the film was completed. This is an informative documentary from
someone who really knows a lot about the subject.
A Few Weeks In Spain (8.11 mins)
Actor Clint Eastwood talks about how he got involved with Sergio Leone
and what drew him to the project. He also reveals some behind the scenes
stories about making 'Fistful of Dollars'.
Tre Voci/Three Voices (10.44 mins)
Producer Alberto Grimaldi, screenwriter Sergio Donati and actor Mickey
Knox talk about the great Sergio Leone and his influence on Italian and
world cinema. The trio talk about working with the director and Clint
Eastwood, the success of the movies and the director's unique style.
Restoration: Italian Style (5.43 mins)
MGM's director of technical operations John Kirk takes you through the
restoration process utilised to bring 'Fistful of Dollars' back to its
Location Comparisons (5.08 mins)
A montage of footage from the movie and still shots taken in 2004 of Almeria
in Spain, showing how the area has changed in the last 40 years.
Original Promotional Material
Entitled 'The Man with No Name', 'The Man with the long Gun', 'The Man
in the Poncho', 'The Faster Gun', 'Known by his reputation', 'My Mistake',
'Meet the Man with No Name', 'I don't think it is nice', 'New Style of
Adventure' and 'Meet the Dangerous Man', these radio spots promoted the
movie in 1964.
Original Theatrical Trailer and Double Bill Trailer (4.18 mins)
Watch the original US trailer and a preview for 'A Fistful of Dollars'
and 'A Few Dollars More' double bill.
The Television Cut
Not Ready for Prime Time (6.04 mins)
Director Monte Hellman reveals why a prologue had to be created for 'Fistful
of Dollars' before it was aired for the first time on American Television.
The Network Prologue (7.24 mins)
Sergio Leone Collector Howard Fridkin introduces the complete version
of the 'Network Prologue'.
Collector's Gallery (1.30 mins)
A montage of behind the scenes and publicity shots from 'Fistful of Dollars'
MGM has done a great job with the DVD special edition of 'Fistful of
Dollars'. The picture quality of the movie is superb and the extras on
the second disc are very good. The commentary is very informative and
the inclusion of the rare 'Network Prologue' is a real bonus. For Sergio
Leone fans and movie buffs in general this is a must buy.
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