Okay, so I’m a little “late on the draw” seeing this one. I’d seen bits and pieces on TV over the years, generally the infamous showdown sequences, but had never seen the first of the Dollars trilogy in its entirety. Leone-wise, I’ve seen The G, the B, and the U and the two Once Upon A Time’s and have loved every minute (and that’s a lotta minutes) of all of them. So why did it take me so long to see the one that started it all?
Maybe because the Clint/Sergio iconography seemed to overshadow the film. I already knew the style and had seen countless bad imitations of it. I knew the story in that I had already seen Yojimbo, its source material. I’d even heard the score apart from the film numerous times in various sell-back record shops where it was “hip” to play Morricone soundtracks.
And you know what? Not a single one of these reasons is a good one. I really should have seen this before now.
I’m not telling anyone anything new here by saying this is a classic film. Not just a classic western or spaghetti western, but simply a classic film on par with any “serious” movie you want to throw it up against. Your Casablancas, your Citizen Kanes, whathaveyou. Honestly, I think I like it even better than Yojimbo.
Sidebar: Was this the earliest example of the “Kevlar vest” in a movie? "Earliest" meaning, had we ever seen the old bullet-stopping pig iron beneath the poncho trick in a western prior to this? Let's discuss...