The film starts with establishing episodes for each of the main characters. There is Colonel Mortimer (Lee Van Cleef), an aging bounty killer, and the Man With No Name (Clint Eastwood), another bounty killer, occasionally referred to as 'Manco'. Both men kill their quarry, demonstrating that they can keep their cool, and collect their reward money. Then there is Indio (Gian Maria Volonte), a bank robber who is sprung from prison by his men, killing his cellmate on the way out. Following this, there is a $10,000 dollar reward set for Indio, and both bounty killers plan to catch him.
Both men deduce that Indio will try to rob a seemingly impossible bank, the one at El Paso. Meanwhile Indio is briefing his men: he learned from his cellmate that the safe at El Paso is hidden in a wooden cabinet, containing a million dollars. All men therefore head for El Paso, where Mortimer and Manco, after first arguing, decide to go into partnership. Manco is to infiltrate the gang, as Mortimer is already known to them for trying to pick a fight with one of them (Klaus Kinski) in the saloon. Manco therefore springs another of Indio's men from prison in order to get in with them, and is sent out with three men the next morning to rob the bank at nearby Santa Cruz as a diversion. Manco kills the men, and forces the telegraphist at Santa Cruz to send out an alarm signal, then makes his way to El Paso to meet up with Mortimer. However, Indio breaks into the bank from the back and escapes with the safe. Having to change their plan, Mortimer tells Manco to return to the gang and lead Indio to the north; instead Manco advises going south; in turn, Indio decides to go east.
When they reach their destination Mortimer is already there, having anticipated Manco's double-cross. He offers his services, and opens the safe for them. Indio locks the money away until the fuss has died down, but catches the two bounty killers trying to make off with it in the night. They are beaten up but not killed, as Indio wants to use them as scapegoats for the robbery. He then arranges for them to be set free so that they can decimate his band, while he and one other make off with the loot. However, in the gunfight that follows Indio comes up against Mortimer, and it transpires that there is a personal score to be settled, as Indio caused Mortimer's sister to kill herself. They face each other, with Mortimer's gun on the ground, waiting for the chimes on Indio's watch to stop. As they are running out, the chimes are heard from an identical watch, which Manco has picked from Mortimer's pocket. With both men on an even footing, Mortimer kills Indio; he has his revenge, and gives the reward money to Manco, who gathers up all the bodies and rides out of town.
For A Few Dollars More allowed Leone and Eastwood to expand on the character of the Man With No Name - it is not exactly a sequel, but it does contain many similar elements. It seems an altogether more polished film than A Fistful of Dollars; Leone's style is more assured and more pronounced, with the marked contrast between wide open spaces and extreme close-ups. Clint also seems more at ease: we see more of his smile than in the earlier film, notably when, after shooting Indio, Mortimer mimics the Man With No Name's style of spinning his gun into its holster.
The film contains a number of truly memorable moments: there is the rapid cross-cutting between the poster of Indio and Lee Van Cleef, punctuated by gun shots - Van Cleef's eyes were ideally suited for this; and there is the unforgettable shootout between Indio and Mortimer, accompanied by Ennio Morricone's simple, yet haunting, theme. The music is not in the background as in most films - here it is almost intrusive, but in a positive way, forming an integral part of the film.
Listen as Clint Eastwood talks candidly about his thoughts on this film as well as the late director, Sergio Leone.
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