As the 70’s came along the spaghetti westerns became somewhat self-parodying and the popularity of films like “They Call Me Trinity” marked a new, more comedic, direction for the genre. This also brought new faces to the forefront of the genre, the most notable being the dynamic duo of Terence Hill and Bud Spencer. So of course Sergio Leone, the man who made the genre so popular in the first place, had to have a say in this new direction of the genre, which brings us to “My Name is Trinity”, a film directed by Tonino Valerii based on an idea by Leone.
But many still consider this to be 7th “unofficial” Sergio Leone film, as the core idea for the story was his, and he served as a producer and even directed a few scenes in the film. For instance the opening sequence of this film is obviously Leone’s. This is also to a fault of the marketing that followed the release of the film, which presented it as Leone’s. I personally find that very disrespectful towards the man who did most of the work, but it is what it is and it kind of adds to the themes of the new replacing the old that the film plays with.
Anyway, “My name is Nobody” is a light and funny western that follows Jack Beauregard, an old gunfighter that is looking to avenge his brother. But Jack is being trailed by a young gun only known as “Nobody”, who is basically a more comedic spin on the nameless gunfighter that is now so commonly associated with Italian westerns. However Nobody is a big fan of Jacks and all he wants to do is see Jack go out in style, facing the infamous, 150 men strong gang known as The Wild Bunch.
In a lot of ways this plot is like a parable for those changing trends in the western genre as well. Henry Fonda plays the old gunfighter that is being sent off with honors while Terence Hill plays his successor, and this theme is also reflected in the world of the film because it starts with dusty towns and ends in a city. It marks the end of an era, and even though it passes the torch to a new generation, it is very telling that this torch is passed to nobody. So the inevitability of change is a core concept in the film, and the film even gives a few shout outs to the man who portrayed the struggle with the changing times the best, Sam Peckinpah.
Still, the main quality of this film is the humor and there are many great and bizarre gags that elate this potentially mournful story in to something that is uplifting. This lighthearted tone is further accentuated by Ennio Morricone’s amazing score that’s halfway a parody of his old western scores and on the other half some of the most joyful stuff he’s ever written – “Nobody’s Theme” being an obvious highlight of the soundtrack.
And then there’s the absolutely fantastic Terrence Hill, who may not be much of a dramatic actor but he has this effortlessly playful and naïve aura about him that he can turn to cool in a heartbeat. On the other side is Henry Fonda who is in his icon mode and fully lives up to his status, and “My Name is Nobody” proves to be a competent send off for him as well, since it was the last western he’s ever done. Together with the theme of old vs. new this gives the film much weight in the genre, a weight that seems to be unfortunately ignored because of the film’s more humorous tone. However even if this film is a bit marginalized nothing can deny its quality and the entertainment value it provides so effortlessly.
Original title: Il mio nome è Nessuno
Henry Fonda - Jack Beauregard
Terence Hill - Nobody
Jean Martin - Sullivan
R.G. Armstrong - Honest John
Geoffrey Lewis - Leader of the Wild Bunch
Original language: Italian
My Name is Nobody on IMDb