I’ve never met a man that could look good in a poncho. Luckily, I’ve never met a man wearing a poncho. I have, however, seen an Aztec printed poncho draped artlessly over the broad shoulders of Clint Eastwood’s tall, stiff, shotgun-wielding frame as his deep-socketed blue eyes stared me down with his trademark squint from the opposite side of the celluloid screen. It is an image that won’t soon fade from my memory—
the head to toe embodiment of all things badass.
This Monday and Tuesday, July 30th and 31st, “A Fistful of Dollars” is playing at the Brattle Theatre in Harvard Square as the latter half of a double feature following parts seven and eight of “The Story of Film: An Odyssey.” Though monchos (man-ponchos) never really caught on, Sergio Leone’s 1964 film starring Clint Eastwood, has left a lasting impression on American cinema, culture and fashion.
“Fistful”, created in 1964, is the first installment in the trilogy in which Eastwood portrays a nameless gunslinger. Literally, his name is The Man With No Name.
The Man is not the gentleman type—no ten-gallon hats, no contrived romance. He is the paradigm of the anti-hero: enigmatic, amoral and trigger-happy. There is no right or wrong way, there is one His way. This is the role that Eastwood was born to play and the one that launched the then-relatively unknown actor to household fame—and cemented his status a style icon.
It isn’t only Eastwood’s uncanny ability to rock the hell out of a moncho that has made a legacy out of “The Dollars Trilogy.”
The new feared and revered concept of the cowboy introduced southwestern fashion and style into the cultural mainstream.
Eastwood dons his western gear with unaffected confidence that begs for imitation. Southwestern style has become synonymous with rebelliousness and freedom. Later in the ’60s through the ’70s, Mexican embroidery, Aztec prints, leather accessories with metal accents and of course the cowboy boot had become hugely popular within the music festival subculture—
namely, the hippies.
The relaxed, carefree, southwestern inspired summer staples prevalent 40 years ago have been revived in the late 2000s up through recent years. This time, extending to a more urbanized demographic.
There are few stronger style statements than a city-slicker in cowboy boots. Which, I admit I must say with a slight tinge of resentment, having purchased—and subsequently had stolen from an Allston apartment foyer—a pair of black vintage rawhides. Trucking home barefoot the next morning, instead of channeling The Man With No Name, I wished I was the girl with no face.
It is safe to say that the cinematic and stylistic genius of Leone and Eastwood will stand the test of time—even if my boots didn’t. Catch a screening and see for yourself how you can add a little Eastwood to your outfit.
Just … promise no ponchos, okay guys?
A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS
MON 7.30.12-TUE 7.31.12
40 BRATTLE ST.
TIMES AND PRICES VARY