Duck You Sucker


Sergio Leone’s fame rests largely on his Dollars Trilogy, a trio of spaghetti Westerns starring Clint Eastwood, but what’s not so well-known is that Leone directed another trilogy that included his monumental “Once Upon a Time in the West,” and the 20th century crime drama “Once Upon a Time in America.” The third film, which stars James Coburn radiating extreme levels of cool and a terrific Rod Steiger, is “Duck, You Sucker!”

It was poorly reviewed upon release, and for decades it was impossible to see the entire thing because early home video releases were severely cut.

But the entire 157-minute cut can now be found in a two-disc package loaded with extras. The film is full of all things Leone: tense standoffs with sweaty guys glaring at each other, and a jarring mix of hilarity and pathos accompanied by a dreamy Ennio Moriconne score.

It’s set during the Mexican Revolution, and Steiger is brilliant as an apolitical bandit with no taste for revolution. Coburn plays an Irish revolutionary explosions expert on the run in Mexico who joins him just to raise hell.

Their relationship and interests shift as the story unfolds, and the film is packed with spectacular sets that involve not a frame of CGI.

It’s also surprisingly political, but it would take another half dozen paragraphs to even begin to sort it out, so suffice to say: For Western fans, this is a wild 2 1/2-hour ride.

“Duck, You Sucker!” (1971) Written and directed by Sergio Leone. Starring Rod Steiger, James Coburn, and Romolo Valli. 157 minutes. Rated PG for violence, language and brief nudity. Also known as “A Fistful of Dynamite.” Filmed in Spain and Ireland.


David Bates


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