Celebrating B Movies, Cult Films, and Indie Classics.

My Name Is Nobody (1973)

by  |  January 17th, 2011  |  Western  |  5 Comments

Two things go straight to a man’s heart, bullets and gold. -Leader of the Wild Bunch

The Unheralded Classic Cool Movie you should know about today is Mio nome è Nessuno, Il (1973), or by it’s USA title, My Name Is Nobody.

Don’t let the Italian fool ya, it’s in English and it’s good. One of the spaghetti westerns produced by Sergio Leone, but far more comic than most. (much of the film was also directed by Leone)

Think Charlie Chaplin Meets Unforgiven and you’ll get an idea.

It’s about an aging gun-fighting legend, Jack Beauregard (Henry Fonda), tired of fending off attempts on his life and sensing he’s nearing the end, who meets a young gunfighter who calls himself Nobody (Terence Hill) who idolizes him and wants to be the one who ends his career (they’ll say, Jack Beauregard . . . Nobody was faster).

Nobody cons Jack into doing the wildest battle ever, to cement his legend before Nobody takes him down.

Nobody: I see it clear as crystal. Jack Beauregard standing alone, facing the Wild Bunch. Just think of it. You’ll be written up in all the history books.

Jack Beauregard: You’ll be down on Earth reading them while I’m up there playing on a harp.

What makes the film My Name Is Nobody cool is the way it plays as a homage to western mythology while at the same time subtilely satirizing it. Most things don’t happen exactly the way you’d expect, and Nobody, while the fastest folks have ever seen, never approaches a gun fight as anything other than a fun goof.

One of the best, most amusing sequences has Nobody slapping a gunfighter before the man can pull his gun, then pulling the man’s gun for him. I searched for it on youtube and couldn’t find it, but anyone who’s seen the film is likely to remember that sequence.

And the film has one of my favorite tags of all time, having to do with a finger substituting for a gun. And even telling you that doesn’t spoil it.

There’s a lot of physical slapstick, but that doesn’t seem too contrived or silly, it plays witty and fun (I’d point to Richard Lester’s Three Musketeers, which had a very similar tone and physical approach) and there’s a real wit to the dialogue as well, as witnessed here:

Jack Beauregard: Folks that throw dirt on you aren’t always trying to hurt you, and folks that pull you out of a jam aren’t always trying to help you. But the main point is when you’re up to your nose in shit, keep your mouth shut.

Fonda is great in the role (and his last western, I should mention) and Hill is perfect, actually, this is the only part Hill seems to be really capable of playing well (he did another series of westerns called The Trinity series, which are fun but this is his best work) and he’s a very talented physical comedian.

In addition, Fonda’s role as a man growing too old to be who is he, and tired of it, is pitch-perfect.

I’m not sure if this film is available on DVD (I think in Germany, where Hill is a huge star) but if you can find it at your local cool video store (videos, remember them?) I highly recommend My Name Is Nobody.

Lots of other Italian westerns got much attention, but in my opinion this rambunctious, witty comedy-western about growing old (yes, that’s what I said) is as worthy as any of them.


About

Josh James is a screenwriter and playwright currently based in New York City, author of the original screenplays A Black Heart (Bunce Media & Captivate Entertainment) A Natural High (Videe This Inc) and The Jones Party (Barking Dog Productions). Josh also adapted Peter Biskind’s book Down & Dirty Pictures into a screenplay, wrote the thriller Block Island for Adler Gray Productions and a production polish on LLeju’s Road Kill, directed by John Stockwell. He is the author of many plays that have been produced all over New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, London and all across the United States.

Fantastic Planet (1973)
From the Original Pressbook: 'Coffy' (1973)
Stagecoach (1939)

Comments

  1. Daily Dojo of Joshua James » Blog Archive » My Name Is Nobody (1973) | AwesomeBMovies.com

    January 18th, 2011at 7:44 AM(#)

    [...] forgot to post it yesterday, but my piece on the Western classic My Name Is Nobody is up at AwesomeBMovies.com and y’all should head over to read it, pronto, [...]

  2. Josh James

    January 18th, 2011at 9:25 AM(#)

    an update: Josh Olson pointed out that much of the film was also directed by Leone …

  3. Matthew Dowling

    January 18th, 2011at 5:04 PM(#)

    Wow dude! This film looks amazing! I gotta to see this. Just curious, but do they have revivals theaters in NY, what kind of turn outs do they get?

    We’re going to see Animal House w/ John Landis this week, and I’m interested if they do it like that out there?

  4. Josh James

    January 18th, 2011at 5:43 PM(#)

    Man, I’m telling you, this film is so much fun … Terence Hill did a couple of other big movies called MY NAME IS TRINITY (it had a sequel) that was popular, a slapstick comedy Western, but they weren’t nearly as good as this one, Fonda really anchors it.

    Hill hasn’t done many American movies since (he did something called SUPER FUZZ with Ernest Borginine) but he’s awesome in this, truly.

    And the score is great, too.

    re the revivals, not sure, I know they have them in NYC, but honestly it’s something I never really did (especially now that I have kids) … I was one of those video store geeks who watched everything on TV … Blasafemy, I know …

  5. Dave B.

    February 21st, 2011at 4:44 AM(#)

    This is a fun, fun movie! It’s Fonda turning in a typically great Fonda performance (and back to playing a “good guy”, following Leone’s ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST), and Terence Hill doing what Terence Hill does best.

    I do like the TRINITY films (especially MY NAME IS TRINITY), but I’ll agree with you that NOBODY is the best Hill western I’ve seen (it’s also a movie I can watch with my sons, who also love it).

    BTW, there’s a Terence Hill & Bud Spencer Fan Club group on Facebook, in case you’re interested: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/group.php?gid=2230126073

Leave a Comment

Connect with Facebook


About AwesomeBMovies.com

AwesomeBMovies.com brings you the very best in B Movies, Cult Films and other Indie classics that may have flown under your radar or may not have gotten the attention they truly deserve.