Hollywood is Remaking A Fistful of Dollars Because the Apocalypse is Nigh

I know we’re at the point where remakes are so ubiquitous we should be used to seeing our favorite movies selected to get a modern update, but Hollywood still manages to piss me off with these from time to time. Deadline exclusively reports that a studio called Euro Gang Entertainment – a joint American-Italian company – will remake A Fistful of Dollars, the classic Western that began the Man With No Name trilogy (or the Dollars trilogy, if you prefer), kickstarted the Spaghetti Western sub-genre, and made Clint Eastwood a superstar. No other information is known other than that it will likely be in English and won’t be half as good as the original.

Yeah, I’m taking this one personally. I love this movie, and I love Clint Eastwood, and I hate to see it remade. Before I go on, I know the obnoxious snobs of Film Twitter are probably already admonishing everyone who doesn’t want this classic remade that A Fistful of Dollars is itself a remake of sorts of the Akira Kurosawa film Yojimbo and has been sort of remade already as Walter Hill’s Last Man Standing with Bruce Willis. What these finger-wagging scolds won’t tell you is that Yojimbo was itself “inspired” by a noir film called The Glass Key, which was an adaptation of the Dashiell Hammett book Red Harvest, part of Hammett’s Continental Op series. What this rigmarole means is that this is a story that has been “remade” a few times, and every time, it’s in a different genre. It went from noir novel and film to samurai movie to Western to gangster flick. This one isn’t a new interpretation; it’s a straight-up remake of A Fistful of Dollars, and that sucks.

It sucks because A Fistful of Dollars is iconic, a landmark film for its genre and its star. You cannot replicate Clint Eastwood in anything, but you especially can’t recreate perhaps his most iconic character (whom I get into detail with here, along with my other favorite Eastwood roles). The Man With No Name is synonymous with Clint Eastwood, and anyone else playing the part will inevitably pale in comparison. There’s also the incredible artistry in Sergio Leone’s filmmaking, the wonderful quick-draw scenes like the one I embedded above, the close-ups of characters’ eyes as they prepare for a kill, the sometimes lackadaisical shots of Eastwood as he wastes someone offhandedly. You can either copy it or do something new that betrays it, but you can’t equal it when you’re making the same movie. It’s the same with Ennio Morricone’s iconic score (his scores to all three of these films are iconic); they’ll either reuse his tracks in a much lesser film or replace them with something that’ll never measure up.

The other threat looming over a remake of A Fistful of Dollars is the modernization that will inevitably be forced on it. You know damn well one of the evil gangs won’t be Mexican, regardless of the fact that the other was white. (The plot finds the Man With No Name wandering into a town run by warring clans, the Rojos and the Baxters, and pitting them against each other for his own gain… and a little more altruism than he’d like you to think.) The mother he’s determined to rescue won’t be a damsel in distress but a girlboss who sets him straight rather than thanking him. You can’t make a timeless movie timely, and that’s what modern remakes always try to do. We’re in for another one with A Fistful of Dollars.

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