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Trivia / A Fistful of Dollars

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  • Acting for Two: Bernie Grant voices two of the three Rojo brothers, and they both interact with each other on a fairly regular basis onscreen. To a lesser extent, Grant also voices John Baxter, but he and Ramon only interact directly once—when Ramon kills the corrupt Sheriff in cold blood. Likewise, Grant's wife Joyce Gordon voices both Marisol and Doña Consuelo Baxter, but the two never interact with each other, and the only scene in which they appear together has the former unconscious!
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  • Actor-Inspired Element: Clint Eastwood helped in creating his character's distinctive visual style. He bought the black jeans from a sport shop on Hollywood Boulevard, the hat came from a Santa Monica wardrobe firm and the trademark black cigars came from a Beverly Hills store. Eastwood himself cut the cigars into three pieces to make them shorter. Eastwood himself is a non-smoker.
  • Beam Me Up, Scotty!: It's "You see, my mule don't like people laughing," not "My mule doesn't like to be laughed at."
  • Breakthrough Hit: For Sergio Leone. His previous film was a sword-and-sandal picture called The Colossus of Rhodes, which wasn't a hit critically or commercially.
  • Defictionalization: Cimarron Arms now sells replicas of Clint's revolver to buy. The gun first appeared in Rawhide, but the marketing specifically calls it "The Man With No Name" edition, and they also sell replicas of the iconic poncho, too.
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  • Digital Destruction: It's gotten to the point where the best version is a hodgepodge between the Italian Ripley's Blu-ray (complete image plus the original colors and the original Italian mono audio track, but a lossy original English mono audio track) and the American Kino Lorber Blu-ray (slightly cropped with excessive yellows, but more image than the MGM Blu-ray, and features the original English opening and closing titles plus a lossless original English mono audio track). While the Italian and German releases use a color scheme that hews closer to what was originally seen in theatres, they differ in image quality and the quality of the included original English mono track, with the German Blu-ray featuring a slightly inferior color scheme leaning a bit too closely towards red and the Italian Blu-ray having its original English mono track in a lossy format. The MGM Blu-ray is the worst of the lot, featuring a heavily-cropped image throughout, somewhat muddied colors, and an English mono track which is simply a fold-down from the 5.1 remix. The Kino Lorber Blu-ray, as mentioned before, leans heavily on the yellow side, but shows more image than the MGM Blu-ray (if slightly less than the Italian and German Blu-rays), and what it lacks in image quality, it more than makes up for by including the original English mono track in a lossless format, taken from an original 35mm/16mm print with an optical soundtrack.
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  • Enforced Method Acting: A combination of the heavy smoke in the cigars, his allergy to horses, and the bright sunlight is what created Clint Eastwood's now iconic Clint Squint.
  • Executive Meddling: A ten-minute prologue (hastily filmed by the studio and featuring a body double for Clint Eastwood whose back is facing the camera) was attached to the film when it was first aired on network TV. Why? The guy in charge of ABC HATED the film's amoral plot and refused to air it unless the studio "fixed" what he saw was the impure motive of Joe. Hence the prologue, which rewrites the entire plot via a single ten minute scene where it is "revealed" that Joe was a former convict who was given his freedom in exchange for doing the bidding of the warden of his jail, in terms of driving out the gangs from the town in which the film takes place. Thankfully, the scene only was used for the ABC Sunday Movie Night broadcasts and was soon destroyed by the studio afterwards... although it has somehow made it onto the DVD as a special feature.
  • Fake Nationality: Everybody who isn't Clint Eastwood, most notably Italian Gian Maria Volonte as Mexican Ramon.
  • Follow the Leader: Everyone and their dog knows this film is an unauthorized remake of Akira Kurosawa's Yojimbo. For posterity, Kurosawa is on record as enjoying the film, calling it "a fine movie, but [...] MY movie," Leone had been assured by his production company that legal issues over the similarity had been ironed out before shooting, and eventually a legal settlement was reached.
  • Hostility on the Set: Gian Maria Volontè reportedly didn't get along with Sergio Leone, who found Volonté's theatrical acting style and arrogant on-set manner tiresome.
    • Volonté tried to become friendly with Clint Eastwood, but he spoke little English and Eastwood spoke little Italian. Their political differences further prevented their striking up a rapport; Eastwood was a conservative Republican, while Volonté was a committed leftist, and Eastwood in any case didn't know enough about Italian politics to respond.
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes: While the original English-language theatrical cut is available on DVD in the Netherlands, the PG-rated US theatrical cut hasn't been seen anywhere since The CBS/Fox Company's rights reverted to MGM/UA in 1987. That said, videotapes and videodiscs of the US theatrical cut aren't all that uncommon. The same isn't really true for the UK theatrical cut, however; if you want that, you'll need either PAL video equipment or to live in a PAL country.
  • Late Export for You: The fact that it cribbed Yojimbo's plot almost verbatim meant that Akira Kurosawa was able to successfully sue for copyright infringement. As a result, Kurosawa's production company obtained exclusive rights to release the film on Japan and the film took a whopping three years for its release to be allowed on the United States.
  • Money, Dear Boy: Gian Maria Volonte didn't think much of this film (or its sequel), telling interviewers that he considered them paycheck roles between his more personal projects. Additionally, Eastwood and Leone both claimed that Volonte was difficult to work with, arguing with his costars about Italian politics and, on one occasion, storming off the set and driving to a hotel until Leone calmed him down.
  • Prop Recycling: Joe's famous snake handled pistol was first used in Rawhide, which Rowdy Yates took from an outlaw he killed. He also wore the same boots from the series.
  • Relationship Voice Actor: Real-life husband-and-wife voiceover artists Bernie Grant and Joyce Gordon voice Ramon Rojo and his whore/hostage Marisol, and also in-universe husband and wife John and Consuelo Baxter, in the English dub.
  • Star-Making Role: For Clint Eastwood.
  • Troubled Production: Mostly due to Leone's fractious relationship with Jolly Films, who gave Fistful a miniscule budget, assured Leone that legal issues over the Yojimbo similarities had been cleared before shooting started (they hadn't, resulting in a long, acrimonious lawsuit) and fumbled its initial release, dumping it into second-run theaters and as the second feature on double bills. Eventually the movie became a hit despite its shabby treatment, allowing Leone to make For a Few Dollars More without Jolly's help. That film's title was explicitly a Take That! directed at Jolly Films.
  • What Could Have Been: Just look at the list of actors supposedly approached to be Joe: Henry Fonda, James Coburn, Charles Bronson, Lee Marvin, Steve Reeves (of the sword and sandal Hercules film craze) and the lesser-known Richard Harrison (who reportedly recommended Clint Eastwood to Leone).
  • Working Title: The Magnificent Stranger.


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