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My Name Is Nobody (1973)

 

Henry Fonda… Jack Beauregard
Terence Hill…. Nobody
Jean Martin…. Sullivan
Leo Gordon…. Red
Piero Lulli…. Sheriff
Mario Brega…. Pedro
Directed by Tonino Valerii
Sergio Leone (uncredited)
Wrriiten by Sergio Leone (idea)
Fulvio Morsella (story) and
Ernesto Gastaldi (story)
Ernesto Gastaldi (screenplay)
Original Music by Ennio Morricone
Cinematography by Armando Nannuzzi
Runtime: 117 min

My Name Is Nobody starring Henry Fonda and Terence Hill (Mario Grotti) is a pleasant slice of comedy and poignant Spaghetti Western which marked the slow decline of the genre which Leone virtually began with his Fistful of Dollars. This movie was created from an idea by Leone, though competently directed by Tonio Valerii, the resulting film still has various Leone hallmarks and seems to have the directors essence and style written all over it. My observation would be that ‘Nobody’ was Leones’ final swansong to the genre which lifted him into the international film world, and I would suspect that Leone may have wanted to control but not directly involve himself with the production. Many observers have agreed over how much influence Leone had on this production, but his marks are there, especially the beginning scene where Jack Beauregard has a shave, pointing his gun into the crotch of the ‘barber’ before dispatching the three gunmen with one bullet, there no dialogue, just tension and observation with the quick finale of action leaving our hero to wander away.

My-Name-Is-Nobody

Watching My Nane Is Nobody, one feels that this Spaghetti Western is reaching its final bow, moving on to the new age of progression, where the lone gunslinger in a lawless land has become a symbol of the old ways and cannot be part of the modern age. As a progression from ‘Once Upon A Time In The West’ it is quite easy to see that even in a lawless frontier, technology and money can civilize even the most savage parts of the world, the locomotive was the symbol of this modern age, and featured proletariat in Leone’s later Spaghetti Western work. You cannot avoid the march of technology and so it seems can the Old West. Terence Hill, playing ‘Nobody’ has a good dose of charisma and very cool comic timing, and as the funny man to Fonda’s Beauregard the straight man Hill is fun and convincing to watch. as the young pretender, he is the ever watchful eye on Fonda as his guardian angel. his motives become clear near the latter half of the movies as Fonda’s questioning reveals that Nobody wants to make himself a somebody once he kills Beauregard in a gunfight, very clever if morbid. So fame and infamy may go hand in hand. It is interesting to note that Fonda, looking his age is the epitome of the old west, while Hill is the new era, unpredictable, not necessarily ready to deal with the new world; but armed with clever one liners and quick draw skills which at least would keep him one step ahead of the pack.

The score to ‘Nobody’ was written and orchestrated by Ennio Morricone, who here seems to have gone back over his old Spaghetti musical compositions and has decided to pay homage to his more classical tracks from ‘a Few Dollars, Few Dollars More and Once Upon A Time’ et al, giving us a retrospective of Morricone’s classic compositions, but with a new sheen to them. He too seems to be telling us that the time is up for the Italian Western, that all that needs to be said is told here, a once and final triumphant signal that the modern world has finally come to the Old West. ‘Nobody’ even pays homage to Sam Peckinpah and his ‘Wild Bunch’ movie, again another turn of the century film depicting the change from the old to the new and hoe painful that change really is. unlike the ‘Wild Bunch’ Beauregard anonymously slips away to Europe, leaving behind what he knows, while the ‘Wild Bunch’ die in a hail of bullets not knowing any other way, is that all there is? one would ask…. Peckinpah is mentioned on a tombstone where Beauregard and Nobody first meet, again a nod to the old west coming to an end and the new world arriving, the Western is dead! as they say.

Tonio Valerii is a competent director of Spaghetti Westerns having directed several in previous years, so he was well suited to bring Leone’s ideas to fruition; but I think that Leone may have tired of the genre that made a career for him, so producing and idea creating seemed to be the perfect area for him to work, thus Leone could  on other projects including a long line of commercials for television which helped to pay the bills, but Leone only ever returned to the genre one more time, this time to produce another comedy western ‘A Genius, Two Partners And a Dope’ once again starring Terence Hill.

To sum up, ‘My Name is Nobody’ is a final call of the old Spaghetti Western and a change from the old to the new, there was nowhere to go and Leone felt he had done all he could with this genre. ‘Nobody’ is a fine ending to a well worn genre of the Italian Western.

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“150 pure bred sons-of-bitches on horseback, and you facing them!”

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