Double Feature

Saturday, March 01, 2008, 12:00 p.m.

Phyllis Wattis Theater

Perhaps no other artistic genre is as rich in American mythologies as the Western. It contains the spirit of the pioneer, the confrontation with nature, individualism, family values, the struggle between the lawless and the law, and the imperialist drive that led to the conquest of the West. It is also, arguably, the American genre that has been taken up most widely in the rest of the world.

From Poland to India, Japan to Italy, variations on the Western are common in world cinema. Of course there are spaghetti Westerns, but we also have curry Westerns, noodle Westerns, sauerkraut Westerns, and many others. These are not just Westerns in different flavors; many non-Western Westerns challenge the mythologies that constitute the genre. In doing so, they force us to think differently about some of the fundamental beliefs that underpin the United States.

The middle child in Leone's "Dollar Trilogy," For a Few Dollars More contains a more ambitious treatment of character, tone, and style than its predecessor, Fistful of Dollars. Bounty hunter, or The Man With No Name (Clint Eastwood), teams up with Col. Douglas Mortimer (Lee Van Cleef) to bring a drugged and deranged bandit known as El Indio (Volonte) to justice. Il Mercenario is a well-known example of the Zapata Western subgenre, set during the Mexican Revolution. It features a musical score by the inimitable Ennio Morricone, whose theme song "L'arena" was used by Quentin Tarantino in Kill Bill: Vol. 2. For a Few Dollars More will screen on DVD; Il Mercenario will screen on 35mm film.

Please note: Il Mercenario replaces the previously planned screening of The Great Silence, also by Sergio Corbucci. The substitution is due to print unavailability.

Additional Info

For a Few Dollars More, Sergio Leone, 1965, 132 min.
Il Mercenario (A Professional Gun), Sergio Corbucci, 1968, 110 min.