Friday, April 25, 2008


Today I watched one of the most amazing movies I've seen in some time. "Duck You Sucker," directed by Sergio Leone and released in 1971 is by far my favorite film by this director. Though known mostly for his "man with no name trilogy" - "Fistful of Dollars," "The Good, the Bad & the Ugly," and "For a Few Dollars More," this film, to me, is even greater. Set during the Mexican Revolution, "Duck You Sucker" has a layer of social commentary not present in the no name trilogy. By ingeniously paralleling the rise of fascism in WW2 Italy with revolutionary Mexico, Leone imbues his characters with a purpose not found in his other films.

Rod Steiger plays Juan, a bandit who, at the beginning of the film is amoral & apolitical. Throughout the film we see his transformation into someone who is forced to deal with the epic changes around him, even becoming a "hero" of the revolution. Rod Steiger, cast in a role far different than others he's played, turns in a performance that draws you in and exposes you to the pain and bewilderment the character feels. Leone wanted Eli Wallach for the role but the studio wanted a bigger name, so they got Steiger, and I'm glad they did. His performance gives a human element to the story.

The other main character, John, an Irish demolition expert on the run from the British for his involvement in "The Troubles" in Ireland, is played by James Coburn, who turns in an equally nuanced and deep characterization of a man tortured by memories.

I don't mean to give the impression "Duck You Sucker" is by any means a brooding, somber character study. No, this is a griping action filled adventure that involves you from the very start to the very end. It just happens to have a very dark tone to it- the scenes of Mexican Federales slaughtering revolutionaries as they lie in trenches evokes nothing if not scenes of Nazis in WW2.

This film is a masterpiece. I make that statement unqualified. Hard hitting, involving, thought provoking, gorgeous cinematography with a typically atmospheric and varied score by Ennio Morricone, that even features a whistled motif.

It's a beautiful and powerful score that evokes many emotions. I was so impressed with the film that I wanted to share it with you some how. If you have Comcast Cable it's available RIGHT NOW for free on demand. If you don't have Comcast I recommend renting the DVD. You can also hear the soundtrack on
NeverEndingWonder Radio

Drop by and take a listen!


Wayne said...

Thanks for the heads up, Uncle Ozma. That's a Leone film I haven't seen. My favorite of his is "Once Upon a Time in the West," which I never get tired of watching. I've lost count of how many times I've seen it, but each time I discover something new.

NeverEndingWonder said...

Thanks Wayne- I'm sure it won't disappoint you!