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For a Few Dollars More: Sound & Look

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I - The score: Natural sounds and objects

Ennio Morricone's beautiful score for A Fistful of Dollars had still been a rather independent piece of work, detached from what happened on the screen. For the second Dollar movie, some of the natural sounds, in particular the chimes of the pocket watches, are embedded in the score. Leone and Morricone would develop this interplay between image and music even further in their further collaborations; in the score for Once Upon a Time in the West the principal characters would all get their distinctive musical theme; furthermore Leone would attune some of the imagery to Morricone's score that was played on the set.

In For a few Dollars More some themes still feel a little detached from what's happening on-screen, but Morricone's revolutionary idea works marvelously in those moments when the score is embodied within the narrative. The characters are linked to each other with the help of the pocket watches and to the watches also function as links between present and past: the sound of chimes brings back memories of the fatal moment of the rape and the suicide to both Colonel Mortimer and Indio.

The score is highlighted by a title called la resa dei conti, meaning the settling of the scores, that is used twice, in slightly different versions. The first time it is played over the massacre of the traitor's family (El Indio settling his scores with him), the second time it's used during the film's conclusion, the shootout between Colonel Mortimer and El Indio (the Colonel settling the scores with El Indio). The first scene is set in a church, the second in a pseudo Roman arena, and the difference between the two settings is underlined by the different arrangements of the two versions, an solemn organ for the scene in the church, a more predominant trumpet for the scene set in the arena.

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