director Giorgio Ferroni
Not as stylish or cinematic as the best of Spaghetti Westerns, One Silver Dollar still boasts a solid scenario.
In the aftermath of the American Civil War, two brothers emerge from a prison camp with emasculated pistols, but unbroken spirits, ready to begin life anew. The brothers part ways to try to make a go of things. Post-war America is still the Wild West, and Southerners are still held in contempt. When Gary O’Hara (Giuliano Gemma) finally gets an opportunity with a land baron for a dangerous job, it turns out to be a set-up, brother is poised against brother and both are shot down in a flurry of bullets.
Certainly, One Silver Dollar has some nice flourishes, but as others have noted, it bears less of the Italian Western than its Hollywood prototype.
I can’t help but continue to find it weird how Western narratives so often feature Southerners as the beaten and disenfranchised class and become the heroes. It’s easy to see where the sympathies lie, with the class that has lost its pride and power. Underdogs make for good rooting.
But to ignore the real reasons for the Civil War, the significance of Slavery and deep racism, it’s something quite common throughout the genre that I’ve always found gobsmacking.