Monday, October 8, 2012

Duck, You Sucker (A Fistful of Dynamite, Once Upon a Time ... the Revolution) (1971)

Director: Sergio Leone. Cast: Rod Steiger, James Coburn, Romolo Valli. 157 min. Rated PG. Italy. Western.

Why has this Leone gem been so obscure? It has most of the components that made The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly so lovable: a slick explosives expert (Coburn instead of Eastwood's sharpshooter) and a filthy clown-like bandit (Steiger instead of Wallach's "Ugly") form an unlikely alliance in the setting of an historical event (the Mexican Revolution substituting the Civil War) in search of, obviously, gold. Flashbacks to Coburn's life in the IRA, reminiscent of Once Upon a Time in the West's structure, made me wonder: maybe people found this Leone work too repetitious. But I loved it.

Trivia: This is the second episode of Sergio Leone's Once Upon a Time trilogy, starting with Once Upon a Time in the West and ending with Once Upon a Time in America.

Mo says:


  1. I really enjoyed it the few times I saw it on TV.

    Maybe the IRA connection put a lot of people off. They started out as freedom fighters but were equally at home killing civilians as British soldiers and politicians. The religious hatred they and their opposing terrorist organisations exhibited is particularly nasty and still holds sway to this day.

  2. This morning I watched a documentary on the movie, and Christopher Freyling (the Sergio Leone historian) mentioned a few points, in addition to the IRA connection, on how the movie could have put people off.

    This was the darkest of Leone's movies, everybody was in a "revolution mood" in those days while the movie is clearly anti-revolution, and the film opens with a quote from Mao (of all people) saying a revolution is strictly an act of violence (they cut out that opening quote from some versions).

    In general, Leone seemed to have grown up and matured here, away from the innocent funny playfulness we saw in "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly".