Friday, 19 June 2009

A Fistful of Context

When preparing A Fistful of Dollars for its first television screening in the late 1970s, the ABC Network discerned that something was lacking from Leone's grubby little masterpiece: moral context. "Why, that no-good Eastwood stranger just wandered into town and had himself some murder. Why did he do it? He's too unkempt for altruism!" perhaps crossed their minds. This pop New Wave western amorality was simply too vague for mainstream televising sensibilities, so the network had Two-Lane Blacktop director Monte Hellman shoot a piecemeal introduction sequence. Presented below, this dreadful little addition recasts Eastwood's most iconic character as a collaborating fink, prepared to work for Harry Dean Stanton's shady government lawman to save his neck.



Designed to answer a question no-one was asking, this prologue raises an even more mind-bending predicament: who in hell caught The Man With No Name?

The only good to come out of this sorry mess is that the clip further aligns the Dollars hero with that other stalwart of 60s pulp punishment: James Bond. Both are in-pocket G-Man murderers with cruel streaks a mile wide.

4 comments:

John Nada said...

Holy shit, I wish I never watched that, so fucking bad! I never thought I'd turn down something with the Dean Stanton in it!

As an interesting parallel though, it reminds me alot of the scene in EFNY when Snake gets offered the deal from old Angel Eyes.

Reds said...

I thought that too!

"I don't give a fuck about YOUR President."

WJC said...

Wow, that pongs!

Reds said...

Doesn't it just!