So, last weekend, we decided to indulge in a retro Saturday night, by watching one of the collection of director Sergio Leone\’s Spaghetti Westerns.
(For those of you who missed the era, Spaghetti Western is really just a nickname for a broad sub-genre of Western film that emerged in the mid-1960\’s and early 1970\’s, so named because most were produced and directed by Italians, the most famous of which were the series of films Sergio Leone directed.)
I haven\’t watched one of these films in a very long time, but last year for Christmas I gifted my boyfriend with the Sergio Leone Anthology, containing, most notably, the three movies in which Clint Eastwood starred, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, A Fistful of Dollars and For A Few Dollars More, as well as the lesser known Duck, You Sucker (1971).
It was the latter we decided on.
Duck, You Sucker.
I wondered about that too. The story is Sergio was mistakenly under the impression \”duck, you sucker\” was a common slang saying in America. Later, the movie was renamed Fistful of Dynamite, and it\’s lengthy two and a half hour span nailed down to under two hours for an American audience.
(I wish they still made movie posters like this, don\’t you?)
The edit and re-title didn\’t take, and the movie became a bit of a lost film.
That is, until the release of this anthology. For the first time on DVD, the fully restored English-language version of the original 157-minute Italian cut of Duck You Sucker, which was never shown in American theaters, is available for spaghetti western fans in the Sergio Leone Anthology.
And, I\’ve got to tell you, I loved it.
The gist of the movie revolves around an Irish explosives expert, James Coburn, with a bad history back in his homeland, who meets up with a Mexican bandit, played by Rod Steiger. Together they become somewhat accidentally – at least on the part of the Mexican bandit – immersed in the Mexican Revolution. It is a story of race, of hardship, of friendship, and of the lessons learned in those friendships.
What with the Mexican Revolution central to the plot, the back-flashes to IRA activity, and even a crazed Nazi-resembling German thrown in, the movie is anything but historically in context.
But it matters not. The filming is ahead of it\’s time, the soundtrack incredibly rich, and the story, ambitious and layered.
Don\’t expect one of Eastwood\’s Fistful\’s with this film, but do expect a very unique Sergio Leone experience.
And, enjoy the Anthology, if you happen to find it in your stocking this holiday.
Here\’s a sneak peek. . .