|He was born in 1926, the son of Italian director Roberto Roberti. Leone had written a western based on the Akira Kurosawa film ‘Yojimbo’ in which a lone samurai enters a township, manipulates them into fighting each other, then kills off the survivors. Leone had raised a budget of $200,000 to make the western and had approached a number of American actors in Europe to take the leading role. One of them was Richard Harrison and he mentioned Clint Eastwood, who’d been successful on American TV in the series ‘Rawhide’. Leone approached Eastwood’s agents with an offer of $15,000 and a deal was struck. Under Leone’s direction, Eastwood became the archetypal, unshaven anonymous hero of a film which became a huge box-office success in Europe, although it wasn’t released in America until a few years later due to legal problems caused by the script’s resemblance to ‘Yojimbo’. Eastwood had suddenly become the No.1 box-office attraction in Italy, ‘the fastest draw in Italian movies’ and was hailed by Vittorio de Sica as ‘the new Gary Cooper’.||
approached Clint again in the spring of 1965 to appear in a sequel,
‘For A Few Dollars More’. This would have a budget of $600,000. Another
American actor, Lee Van Cleef and an Italian star Gian Maria Volonte
had been signed to appear. Eastwood was now aware of his drawing power
in Europe and was able to demand and get a salary of $50,000. Set in
a period following the American Civil War, it concerns the efforts of
two bounty hunters to track down a particularly nasty killer, Indio,
who has a price of $100,000 on his head. The Man With No Name is interested
in the money, the other bounty hunter, Colonel Mortimer, is hunting
Indio because he was responsible for the death of Mortimer’s sister.
The two team up, gain Indio’s confidence and are invited to join his
gang on a bank raid. The raid is carried off so swiftly and efficiently
that the two bounty hunters are unable to stop it. They manage to steal
the money from the bandits, but are captured and tortured. Indio sets
them free, and then sends his gang after them to kill them. The two
men manage to shoot every one of Indio’s gang and The Man With No Name
lets Colonel Mortimer avenge his sister’s death.
The third 'Man With No Name' feature was an epic, with a budget of $1,200,000. Clint was to be paid $250,000 and a share of the profits. Lee Van Cleef also starred, but this time not as Colonel Mortimer, but as the evil Setenza. Another American actor, Eli Wallach, was signed to complete the trio in ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’. During the American Civil War, three men are searching for a cashbox containing $200,000 in stolen money. A Mexican gunman called Tuco, the criminal Setenza and The Man With No Name.
|Dave Roberts of the Clint Eastwood Appreciation Society has an interesting theory about the trilogy. He says, “We know the films were made in the order they were released, but I would argue that, like the ‘Star Wars’ movies, the director Sergio Leone had planned the 'Dollar' films in a different order and ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’ was, or should have been, the first in the trilogy. Made with a bigger budget because of the success of its predecessors and on a grander scale, the evidence in ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’ that it came chronologically before the other two is great. “With the opening we see our cigar-chewing hero dressed altogether differently in a long white coat and wide brimmed hat. It isn’t until he is captured by Union soldiers and later released by Angel Eyes (Setenza) that he is given the battered hat and sheepskin vest we have seen him wear in the two previous movies. “And what of the famous poncho? After the battle to destroy the bridge, Blondie (the name Taco calls The Man With No Name) helps a dying soldier boy as he gives him a puff of his cigar.||
is then, almost at the end of the film, that he picks up the poncho
lying across a field cannon and is fully dressed as The Man With No
Name we have come to know. “My theory that ‘The Good, the Bad and the
Ugly’ should have been the first in the trilogy is also given credence
by the dates in the films. ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’ is set during
the American Civil War which took place during 1861 through to 1865,
yet in ‘A Fistful of Dollars’, which was made and released prior to
‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’, the stranger leans on a tombstone
in which we clearly see the date of the deceased was 1873 – eight years
later.” An interesting theory. Now that Leone has passed away, there
is no chance of ever finding out what became of The Man With No Name.
It would have been intriguing if Eastwood had made a fourth film in the series, years after the original, and continued with The Man With No Name character, just as he did with Harry Callaghan in the ‘Dirty Harry’ movies.