21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars under-rated leone western.
the reputation of this film seems to have suffered rather unfairly compared with leone's previous western "once upon a time in the west."
"a fistful of dynamite" is an overlooked minor classic that has plenty going for it; good acting from rod steiger and james coburn, especially steiger; plenty of gunfights, more great music and a dose of humour now and...
Published on 14 Aug 2006 by Mr. A. E. Ward Davies
15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 132 minutes? Then it's not the whole movie.
Recently I bought this DVD as I hoped that Amazon.co.uk had got the running time wrong, and I'm glad I did. This is indeed the fully restored version with all the trimmings. It's not 132 minutes as Amazon incorrectly lists it. It's more like 150 minutes. Thank goodness it's finally available in its full glory. Hopefully Amazon will correct the misleading technical...
Published on 22 Jun 2006 by Ian Cooper
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars under-rated leone western.,
This review is from: A Fistful Of Dynamite (Special Edition) [DVD] (DVD)the reputation of this film seems to have suffered rather unfairly compared with leone's previous western "once upon a time in the west."
"a fistful of dynamite" is an overlooked minor classic that has plenty going for it; good acting from rod steiger and james coburn, especially steiger; plenty of gunfights, more great music and a dose of humour now and again. the plot is sometimes difficult to follow, but that doesn't really matter.
it is interesting that the film is based circa 1913 when the old west was just about over. seeing primitive motorcars alongside horses is rather a strange sight to behold.
this isn't called a "special edition" for nothing. the film has finally been restored to its full length of 150 minutes. the original big box video edition from 1982, had the running time of 132 minutes. then in 2003, a d.v.d edition was released that ran for 147 minutes. it's all rather confusing as the film was released in cinemas around the world under different titles with various editing having been done.now, the film is all the better for its proper running time.
there's a short but informative documentary on the making of the film but also an interesting featurette about the different versions that were shown on the original release.
i suppose there is a note of disappointment that "a fistful of dynamite" marked one of the last, or possibly the last spaghetti western directed by the late, great sergio leone. a brilliant way to finish.
31 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another masterpiece from Sergio!!!,
This review is from: A Fistful Of Dynamite (Special Edition) [DVD] (DVD)'A fistfull of Dynamite', or 'Duck You Sucker!' as it may be better known as elsewhere ranks among one of Sergio Leone's best pieces of filmaking and as one of the best spaghetti westerns of all time!!!
James Coburn and Rod Steiger provide great onscreen characters whos personalities and backgrounds are beautifully explored in detail set in the backdrop of the Mexican revolution and in particular Coburn's character is explored deeply, enhanced by Leone's supurb use of flashbacks to tell us his story!
With enhanced picture and sound, which is fantastic with explosions abound, this DVD as with Leone's other westerns are worth their weight in gold!
Another great score by Morricone as usual, tops the film off as fantastic!!!
Highly recommended to Spaghetti western and Leone fans!!!
31 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You'd Be A Sucker NOT To Buy This!,
This review is from: A Fistful Of Dynamite (Special Edition) [DVD] (DVD)Each of the four Sergio Leone films I have seen so far are all fantastic and have great depth yet are all drastically different.
Fistful Of Dollars bacause of the stirring soundtrack and opening sequence, strong use of colours, cast and non-stop excitment from beginning to middle to end (plus heaps more!)
For A Few Dollars More incorperates all of these things and yet is extremly atmospheric in all it's scenes in a way that differs from it's predeccesor in a way hard to explain but is very apparent; noteable, to me in a majority for it's set design.
Once Upon A Time In The West has four superb performancs from each of it's main pro/antagonists and is notorious for it's slow paced run time that holds the viewer through out, therefore the viewer endures the movie along with the characters. It also has a beautiful and moving score.
A Fistful Of Dynamite (or Duck You Sucker or Once Upon A Time...The Revolution-it's most fitting title) is by far the most quirky, innovative, political and is very extrovertly idiosyncratic.
The performances by the two main leads are fantastic, sympathy switching from one to the other as you learn more about their characters (The DVD "origional" version helps with this, and the story) and there are definitly some controversial touches throughout.
Rife with comedy, pathos and action and quite a bit different to the Dollars, foremost because of the time it is set: 1913 (even a primitive motorbike turns up) so no tumbleweed settings and lonley terraced sallon border-towns with ten-pace shoot outs.
But definitly explosive and realistic with a great sense of fantasy as a foyle for the realism.
I could write for ages about Leone's movies and have a lot more to say about this one.
But to end, I would say that the DVD features are perfect; the usual and thoroughly enjoyable interview with Sir. Christopher Frayling and the absolutly essential "Sorting out the Versions" featurette which helps more than words can say.
I recommend this DVD to everyone. The swearing is unusually funny and moving at times as well.
The last Spagetti Western.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Adjust All the Maps,
This review is from: A Fistful Of Dynamite (Special Edition) [DVD] (DVD)'If I fall, they'll have to adjust all the maps.' (The Magician)
Consider how this film starts: the image of the ants in the tree stump in the hot sun, the waterfall of piss that disturbs them, the bare-footed, sweaty peasant, from whom the piss streams. One could write a film thesis just on the opening credits. However, let's not!
'Duck You Sucker' was Leone's masterpiece, an epic of politics and romance, comedy and tragedy. The interplay of low humour and intellectual dialectic, the personal and public issues arising from the characters, are Shakespearean. The drama and emotional thrust of the film as moving as Hemingway, certainly in novels like 'For Whom the Bell Tolls'. Leone should be bracketed with these cultural icons. His film-making was of the very highest quality.
The documentaries on the making of the film give wonderful insight into Leone's art and the art of film creation in general. This is a rare purchase where the extras are indispensable.
A few flaws - and, of course, real beauty could never be flawless: the soundtrack is very lyrical, but, to my taste, overdone. The Irish flashback scenes jar slightly, the soft-focus and over-romanticised setting undercut the power of the political and personal points made. The title lacks the gravitas the film deserves (Hemingway always chose titles that resonated). Nonetheless, one of the great films of any genre. Film poetry. It'll make you a revolutionary, in your heart, at least.
'But for the rich you sing.' (The Peasant)
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An eccentric gem,
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not the whole picture,
16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars once upon a time .....the revolution!,
Sean Mallory (James Coburn) is a fugitive Irishman with more than a passing talent for explosives who is on the run from the troubles of Ireland and his past. He encounters Juan, a Mexican peasant, played by Rod Steiger. Steiger’s Juan convinces Sean to take part in robbing a bank, ostensibly to relieve it of its loot. Action and revolutionary politics entwine in a western that is certainly as enjoyable as Leone’s earlier films.
At times and especially in the first third of the film it contains numerous comic moments. However in the later stages, the film rations these, divesting itself of some of the earlier humor when dealing with topics such as class struggle, political prisoners, and governmental brutality. Naturally, the movie contains most of Leone’s trademarks, fast zooms, screen filling close-ups, and long elegiac shots matched with another of Ennio Morricone’s unique and masterful scores.
15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 132 minutes? Then it's not the whole movie.,
This review is from: A Fistful Of Dynamite (Special Edition) [DVD] (DVD)Recently I bought this DVD as I hoped that Amazon.co.uk had got the running time wrong, and I'm glad I did. This is indeed the fully restored version with all the trimmings. It's not 132 minutes as Amazon incorrectly lists it. It's more like 150 minutes. Thank goodness it's finally available in its full glory. Hopefully Amazon will correct the misleading technical details listing on this site so that others aren't confused as I was.
In the interests of full disclosure I've left my original review below:
It's great that they released a 'special edition' version of this film, but if it's missing the scenes that were in the original theatre version it's not the whole movie. As with all the other DVD versions this one is missing all the 'political' scenes, so you get a version without the original movie's context. Seems to me like this is just a cynical attempt to re-release the same flawed version to make some extra cash. Give us the full version in its original state!
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mixed feelings, but I may be wrong,
This review is from: A Fistful Of Dynamite (Special Edition) [DVD] (DVD)Sergio Leone is arguably my favourite director and I regularly re-watch his films... except for A Fistful of Dynamite (or Once Upon a Time... the Revolution, OUTR, as I prefer to think of it). Indeed it's been so long, the last time was on VHS!
The reason for this is that it never quite feels like a Leone film for me. It is neither a western nor does it hit the heights of Once Upon a Time in America; instead it feels like a confused hybrid. All his western trademarks are there - the sweaty FBCUs, wind-hissing wild track, bank robberies, bridges blown-up, Almeria setting, Morricone score etc - but somehow they seemed half-hearted as if Leone was just going through the motions. Things like pace and tension are, in my opinion, sorely missing.
These problems are compound by the plot. I've always been impressed by how Leone made his narratives appear simple while they are actually convoluted and complex. But with OUTR the plot lacks coherence. In many ways it's a series of picaresque set-pieces with tenuous connecting strands - most notably when we move from the carriage/motorcycle opening sequence to the bit when Juan blows up the church. How have we got here? What's going on? I still don't understand. Similarly [spoiler coming next] the scene where's Juan's family is killed. There's no foreshadowing - we just lurch into it. One could argue this is demonstration of Leon's audacity as a director (ie effectively to play the punchline of the scene backwards) but I find it emotionally unsatisfying.
On top of the plot issues are the characters. It's difficult to understand what motivates them. Juan is simpler, but Sean remains an enigma. Why, for instance, does he abandon Juan as the train passes... but waits for him at Mesa Verde? The explanations seem thin and unconvincing. Complex motivation may be lacking in Leone's Dollars Trilogy but that's because the characters are driven by money; their motive is so intrinsic to their characters that it becomes invisible. In OUTR the motivation feels self-conscious - either in explanation or absence of. I also think that Steiger and Coburn (in this picture at least) lack presence and chemistry. They are like a watered down version of Tuco and Blondi with none of the latter pair's outrageous wit or duplicitous energy. One thing I love best about Leone is how he can take minor characters (think of the innkeeper and his wife in Few Dollars More) or even non-speaking extras and make them so vibrant and arresting. Again, in comparison, OUTR seems much blander.
Talking of bland I'm not much impressed with Morricone's score here. It's almost `effeminate', too soft and trilling for the harsh setting of the Mexican Revolution. Perhaps this reflects the softness of the characters. I can't imagine a theme like Harmonica's working for Juan or Sean. As for the `Sean, Sean, Sean' song - maybe I'm missing some subtle point but I think it is unintentionally and inappropriately funny (when it's not being annoying). In fact the score often seems at odds with the action - think again of the scene when Juan finds his family slaughtered.
Having said all the above there are still some wonderful Leone touches: the scene where Juan rips through the eyes of the poster; the look on his face as he opens the bank vaults; the chicken `stroking' scene. The mass execution tracking shot on the roof tops is one of the most powerful in his oeuvre. There are also some fantastic explosions - keep your eye out for the one as Sean blows up the carriage and walks away as a ball of flame rises behind him. Leone is having his most fun with the picture here! I pity the poor camera man though...
All of which brings me to the `packaging' of this version. The film transfer is decent enough, though in places the dialogue track is poor; I assumer this is a problem with the master reel or it may have to do with the post-synching (something discussed in the commentary - more of which in a second). There are also some decent featurettes on the second disc, including a particularly interesting one about the different versions.
The standout highlight though is Christopher Frayling's commentary. This is worth the price of the DVD alone. It is erudite, engaging and will definitely make you look at the film anew. For this reason alone I would recommend you buy a copy.
In conclusion I'm left with very mixed feelings. Leone is undoubtedly a genius but I find this a confused and unsatisfactory film... though I will happily admit to being in the minority, so maybe I've got it wrong; Frayling is certainly a big fan! Part of my problem is that it's impossible to view it without comparing it to his previous - and in my opinion - vastly superior westerns. Nevertheless I would recommend anyone with a passing interesting in the spaghetti western or Leone to buy this version, listen to what Frayling has to say and make up your own mind. 4 stars: more for the overall package than the movie itself.
5.0 out of 5 stars a fistful of dyamite,
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A Fistful Of Dynamite (Special Edition) [DVD] by Sergio Leone (DVD - 2005)
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