Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wednesday Westerns: Duck, You Sucker

Welcome a weekly feature here at Movies With Abe. In an effort to provide a look back at older films and a desire to highlight a specific genre, I will be spotlighting a Western film each week, combining films from a course I took while at NYU called Myth of the Last Western and other films I have seen and do see. If you have a Western you’d like to write about, please let me know and feel free to submit a guest spot for future weeks!

Duck, You Sucker
Directed by Sergio Leone
Released June 30, 1972

Here we have our fourth chronological film by Leone to be featured and his last Western. It’s an odd film to be sure, and also one with a number of titles, including “A Fistful of Dynamite.” The comma in the title listed above is only so relevant, since James Coburn defines unenthusiasm with his pronunciation of the fabled line right before the dynamite plays its part. “Duck, You Sucker” isn’t as much of a Western, necessarily, as his previous films, but it still involves a typical rivalry between characters and a spirit of lawlessness on the run from many different forms of the law. It’s also by far the most modern of Leone’s films to that time. It’s most memorable to me as ending with the “shon shon shon” music by Ennio Morricone that, as IMDB trivia would have you believe, isn’t representative of either of the main characters’ names, John and Juan. This is a purely strange film, with some odd montages and quite a bit of camaraderie among its primary players. There’s not much matching the thrill of those explosions, the impressiveness of Coburn’s mustache, and the seedy, lazy nature of Rod Steiger’s Juan. It’s hardly Leone’s best, and quite possibly his worst, but it’s still intriguing and invigorating, if more unintentionally hilarious than anything else.

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