For his next film Leone was given a bigger budget to work with, which may have inspired the title, 'For A Few Dollars More' (1965). This was to be the second film in what is now called 'The Dollars Trilogy'.
And while 'A Fistful of Dollars' had been ground breaking, 'For a Few Dollars More' is a much slicker movie. It represents a director starting to work at his peak, and obviously having fun to boot. Many of the Leone trademarks, such as the extreme close-up are first used to full effect.
Clint Eastwood returned as the 'Man with No Name' - well actually he's called 'Manco' in the English print. Here lies an ongoing debate amongst fans. The word 'Manco' in Spanish means 'one-handed' which is an apt title as the Eastwood character does everything with his left hand - smokes, drinks, fistfights - to always keep his gun hand, complete with leather wrist protector, free. But was this a misreading of the Italian script? Many believe that the Italian 'Monco' refers to 'Monk' - a reference to the characters style and appearance. Religious-sounding names have always been a staple of the Spaghetti Western (Trinity, Hallelujah, Amen). Others argue that 'Monco' in Italian is a shortened version of 'monco d'un braccio' - again meaning one-armed or one-handed. The Manco/Monco debate continues.
To co-star with Eastwood, Leone sought out American actor Lee Van Cleef who had played minor roles, usually villains, in many American Westerns such as 'High Noon'. It was a face that had stuck in Leone's mind. And here is another of Leone's great talents - his eye for casting - often selecting actors for a specific look alone. Leone found Van Cleef as a recluse and an alcoholic. Having long given up his acting career, he was now scraping a living as a painter. Leone was about to relaunch Van Cleef into a second highly successful acting career in Europe. His portrayal here as the walking arsenal Colonel Mortimer would be hard to top.
Gian Maria Volonté, who'd played Ramon Rojo in 'A Fistful of Dollars', returned to play marijuana smoking bandit El Indio, and Klaus Kinski played the hunchback, a performance that stands out from his many genre appearances - Leone only got the best out of his actors.
Morricone, topped his score from 'A Fistful of Dollars', introducing musical themes and ditties for each of the main protagonists, a characteristic of his work for Leone which would reach new heights in future collaborations. While the score for 'A Fistful of Dollars' had been notable, it is with 'A Few Dollars More' that the music and sound is woven into the fabric of the story. The musical watch motif is central to the plot.
The use of the flashback sequence would become another familiar trait of Leone's work, as well as the extended duel that takes on an operatic grandeur.
Following the credit sequence these words appear on the screen - "Where life had no value, death, sometimes, had its price. That is why the bounty killers appeared." This is the tale of two bounty hunters on the trail of the same man, El Indio, and his gang of outlaws. As the film progresses the bounty killers form an uneasy alliance, and it is finally revealed that their motives are very different.
Early in the film there is a scene that is quite remarkable, in that it brings together all of Leone's trademarks in just 40 seconds of celluloid.