A Fistful of Dynamite/Duck you Sucker/Giù la testa (1971)
The trailer for this fantastic action film doesn’t do A Fistful of Dynamite (1971) by the Italian auteur of cinema Sergio Leone who has expanded the definition of what a western can be. A director who fully understands the genre, taking it from the 1800′s into the next century set during the Mexican revolution.
Two unlikely men come together for reasons they are never clear on until they reach Mesa Verde for a bank robbery. At times I feel we are given a buddy film intertwined in this action western. In the form of James Coburn and Rod Steiger who learn to understand each other. The audience learns more about Coburn through multiple slow-motion flashback that romanticise his past and time during the Irish Revolution. The test of these men is to understand who they really are, their actions and how they can affect them both.
A Fistful of Dynamite (1971) is full of spectacular set-pieces, the bank-raid, the train derailment to name but a few. All the stops are pulled out to achieve an overlooked masterpiece of early seventies cinema. As the western genre was in severe decline, a blend of genres bring the screen alive. I cannot finish without mentioning the cheesy catch-phrase “Duck you Sucker” that sums up the tone of the film, to have fun whilst liberating your country, to relieve the tensions life can bring in conflict.
Leone is more than capable to carry on after the success of the dollar trilogy with Clint Eastwood that launched his career. Going from strength to strength with Once Upon a Time in the West (1968), bring a wealth of knowledge and experience with him to his work.