Sergio Leone’s Man with No Name Trilogy—A Fistful of Dollars (1964), For a Few Dollars More (1965), and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)—made a movie star out of Clint Eastwood, but by the early 1970’s the spaghetti western had fallen out of favor with Hollywood and audiences alike. Like a lot of things that become very popular very quickly, spaghetti westerns started being mass produced as cash grabs, which naturally led to degradation in quality. It wasn’t long before spaghetti westerns became parodies of themselves, and audiences grew disinterested.
Released in 1973, My Name Is Nobody is the last of the spaghetti westerns. Directed by Leone protégé Tonino Valerii, the film is often cited, however erroneously, as a Sergio Leone because Leone directed specific sequences, and served as an uncredited producer. The impression was furthered by the presence of Henry Fonda, who had worked with Leone in the well regarded Once Upon a Time in the West (1968). While My Name Is Nobody certainly has many of the signature touches found in Leone’s well known spaghetti westerns, it also adds its own brand of comedy to the mix.
Fonda stars as Jack Beauregard, an aging gunslinger that’s come to realize that time isn’t on his side. As such, in just a few weeks, he plans to board a ship in New Orleans bound for Europe. He meets up with a brash young upstart who calls himself “Nobody” (Terence Hill) who idolizes him. Nobody seems like a first class buffoon. Initially, no is inclined to take him seriously. However, he just may be the fastest gun in the West, but he’s a joker, not a fighter. His idea of a showdown is to walk up to a gunfighter, then draw the opponent’s pistols before the other guy can react and slap him silly, while flipping the guns in and out of their holsters so fast that the gunfighter never gets a chance to draw. For Nobody, satisfaction comes from bewildering his “victim,” not killing him.
Jack is just biding his time, hoping to make it on that ship to Europe. However, Nobody has idolized Jack since he was a boy, and can’t bear the thought of his mentor quietly fading into the sunset. He wants Jack to go out in a blaze of glory. The opportunity comes in the form of a corrupt miner named Sullivan (French actor Jean Martin who has been carelessly dubbed) who wants Jack dead because of something relating to a claim on an empty gold mine through which the Wild Bunch is “laundering” their stolen gold. Frankly, the details of it all are never really clear, but it doesn’t matter. Jack does his best to avoid a confrontation with gang, Nobody insists they face them. Eventually, Nobody gets the showdown he wants, and its everything he could’ve hoped for. Nobody’s coordination is masterful. And the choreography for the fight scene is pretty amazing—in many ways, it looks more like a violent dance, than a traditional fight.
The film ends with a voiceover from Jack, who may or may not be dead. Fonda’s delivery is simple and sweet; a farewell to an era, a style, and a genre. My Name Is Nobody is a fine farewell to the spaghetti western, a genre that didn’t stay in the public favor for long, but left some fine films in its wake.
Presented in the 1.35:1 aspect ratio, Image Entertainment’s 1080p transfer sports a fairly solid image. Detail is excellent, blacks are solid, colors are well saturated, and contrast is well balanced. Unfortunately, it’s clear that the source material had some serious issues—scratches, lines, streaks, etc.—that affects the overall quality. A full restoration would have been necessary to clear away some of these issues, and that wasn’t done here.
The film’s original mono soundtrack is presented as lossless DTS-HD MA 2.0 mono, with identical left and right speakers. There are no hisses, pops, or other audio anomalies present. However, as you might expect, dynamic range is limited. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout (though some of it is obviously dubbed), and Ennio Morricone’s score sounds a bit restrained, but clear.
English SDH subtitles are available.
No extras are included.