For a Few Dollars More ( Open Spoilers )

So TCM* has been running a number of classic westerns lately, like the Dollars Trilogy, McCabe and Mrs. Miller, and Heavens Gate. As always when those come on cable uncut I’m kinda forced to watch them, even though I have a number on DVD. It’s a sick compulsion of mine :).

I was never that caught up with the western-style Yojimbo of Fistful of Dollars, but I do like the sequel quite a bit. I think Gian Maria Volontè’s Indio is one of the all time great charismatic western psychopaths and I love Leone’s usual habit of lavishing film time on the supporting cast of thugs, especially Klaus Kinski as the crazed, twitching hunchback ( pretty much the perfect character role for Kinski ). The plot is adequate at best and it has a few silly over the top Leone touches like the hat duel, but it is the characterization that carries the film.

But what I am curious about is near the very end. Mortimer and Man-With-No-Name are standing over Indio’s body, MWNN remarks on the family resemblance vis-a-vis the picture in the musical watch/cameo and Mortimer remarks something to the effect of “of course, between brother and sister.” Referring of course to the woman who killed herself as she was being raped by Indio after he had killed her boyfriend/husband.

The thing is, I had always assumed that he was referring to Indio and the woman as the sister and brother. That Indio had had a deranged love for his sister, killed her boyfriend in a fit of jealous rage and she murdered herself out of the horror of it all. I figured that the blond kid was Mortimer’s son or something, which was just left unstated. Come to find out reading the wiki for the first time that no, it was supposed to be Mortimer’s sister. I suppose technically that makes more sense - the timeline might line up neater with Mortimer’s age and no mention is ever made of the blond guy being connected to Mortimer.

But I prefer my version. Really the woman doesn’t look much like Volontè or van Cleef, but her coloring was closer to the former. And it just seems to fit Indio’s bipolar melancholy/jolly nutcase persona better. Haunted by his incestuous love for his sister who committed suicide as he raped her - it’s a lot more twisted and therefore better :D.

So, just curious - did anyone else jump to the same conclusion as me or am I just an irretrievably sick bastard ;)?

  • By the way TCM, way to screw up your promotional blurb for the The Good, the Bad and the Ugly - you transposed Tuco and Angel Eyes as the Bad and the Ugly. It’s not like Leone didn’t show the proper graphic twice in the movie.

Interesting take. I always just assumed it was Van Cleef’s sister the whole time. I will now have to watch it again and see it from this new angle!

According to the trivia entry at IMDb:

I think TCM is showing the original trailer, not something they put together themselves.

I generally consider For a Few Dollars More to be my favourite film (at least my knee-jerk favourite). I was quite confused by the flashback sequences when I was a kid, and obviously missed the ‘family resemblance’ line at the end - I had it in my head that the lover shot in the flashback was Colonel Mortimer (who, er, would have had to have survived…) making the dead woman his girlfriend/wife.

Whatever one’s (mis)understanding of the story, Mortimer needs a very strong motive to pursue Indio and forgo all that reward money - I don’t think Indio ‘keeping it in the family’ would provide that motive.

I always took it as Van Cleef’s sister. I never expect story-accurate casting from spaghetti Westerns, anyway, so casting an Anglo-Burmese as the sister of a Dutch-American is no weirder than all those Spanish and Italian Comanches they have.

I haven’t seen the movie in a while (but I need to watch it again – ‘The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly’ is a masterpiece but ‘For a Few Dollars More’ is a personal favourite), but to be honest I think that line “Naturally, between brother and sister” is the part that makes the relationship clear, so any confusion before that is understandable. Also, I think the fact that they had the same watch is a clue (but that is complicated by the fact that Indio has the sister’s, so maybe that isn’t helpful).

Speaking of the watch, one of the reasons I love the movie so much is the music played during the climactic duel, called ‘Sixty Seconds to What?’ (by Ennio Morricone, of course). It starts with the music box sounds from the watch, moves into a Spanish guitar sound, which then abruptly switches to blasts from a pipe organ, then changing again into a trumpet solo for a while. It then ends with the rest of the music box theme. I had never heard anything like it at the time.

When I first saw the film, I was very impressed with that watch for producing the guitar and trumpet sounds.

Ah, that makes sense - it did seem like an older trailer.

Oh certainly, hence me getting it in my head that the connection was the young blond guy and assuming it was Mortimer’s son that got murdered. I don’t know why I assumed that - there is absolutely zero evidence in the movie to suggest it. I just figured it was some obscure Leone plot point we were supposed to infer, I guess. Really Mortimer as the brother does make a whole lot more story sense :).