Jack Beauregard (Henry Fonda) is an aging gunslinger who wants to retire. After quickly shooting three gunmen who attempt to ambush him in a barbershop — he has no chance to rest ever, constantly being challenged by people to prove themselves — the barber’s son asks if there is anyone in the world faster. The reply? “Faster than him? Nobody!”
There is a man named Nobody (Terence Hill), who dreams of being better than Beauregard. But instead of challenging the gunslinger, he plans on taking out all 150 members of the Wild Bunch — no relation — on his own. They’re led by Geoffrey Lewis, who was a character actor par excellence.
While this movie is a comedy, the idea at the end, where Nobody is now as chased and tested as Beauregard, speaks to the violent life of the Italian Western hero, who is continually threatened by not only death, but by the advent of the technological twentieth century, which will end his way of life.
Tonino Valerii, who was Leone’s assistant director on A Fistful of Dollars, directed this film. He also wrote The Long Hair of Death and directed films like My Dear Killer and Day of Anger.
There’s some dispute that Leone directed much of this film, which was made mostly in the United States. It arose when Henry Ford’s costumes were stolen, which would have delayed the movie by more than a week. Leone, who came up with the idea for the film, offered to shoot second unit to keep the movie moving.
Neil Summers, who played Squirrel, and John Landis, who claims to have been an extra, stated that Leone directed most of their scenes, often on horseback. However, screenwriter Ernesto Gastaldi (Torso, Almost Human, All the Colors of the Dark, Once Upon A Time In America) told Robert Curti, the writer of Tonino Valerii: The Films, that “Tonino shot the whole film, absolutely ON HIS OWN” and that Leone “organized a second unit crew and shot a couple of sequences, which in my opinion are the weakest in the film…Nothing else.”
Sergio Donati expanded on this, stating that some photographers were sent to America and they asked Leone, on his lone set day, to sit behind the camera in a director’s pose. Donati said, “Inevitably, from that moment on, everyone, in and outside the movie business started saying “Yeah, actually the real director of the film was Leone, who saved it from the disaster of an incapable director”.”
Tobe Hooper and Tonino Valerii would have had a lot to talk about.
For anyone that thinks that Italian Westerns are dumb, I’d just like to raise one point. The title refers to The Odyssey, as Odysseus tricks Polyphemus into believing his name is “nobody.”
You can watch this on Daily Motion.