Popular Culture Review Vol. 24, No. 2, Summer 2013 - Page 125

Who is the Man With No Name? 121 man o f action, danger and mystery; a man who, according to the trailer’s footage, can survive several point-blank rifle shots to the ehest. The viewer is meant to respond to the image and want to know more about this Man with No Name. The phrase “Man with No Name” is nothing but a long pronoun that is never used in the actual film, but only in the film’s sales pitch. This pronoun is a mysterious part o f the truly important thing— the selling point— the image. W hen agreeing to play the bounty hunter in For a Few Dollars More, “Eastwood did not fancy Smoking a cigar again, but Leone insisted, joking ‘It’s playing the lead!” (Frayling 47) On the importance o f his “Trilogy” image, Eastwood explains; “You ask most people what the films were about, and they can’t teil you. But they teil you “the look” [he mimes throwing the poncho over his shoulder ] and the “da-da-da-da-dum” [he hums the opening notes o /T h e Good, the Bad, and the Ugly theme], and the cigar and the gun and those little flash images that hit you . . .” (Frayling 102). Never mind names; according to Eastwood, people don’t even remember the story itself. W hat they carry away from the film is the same image that made them watch it in the first place. Even when a plot is recalled, it is more common for a person talking about a movie to use the actor’s name rather than the character’s (in contrast, o f course, to literature, where the reader has no altemate name, no other “sorter” to fall back on). The image and the actor matter more to the audience than the character’s name. More to the point, it is not a character’s name that is normally important to a story; it is that character’s identity. Unlike a name, which is normally just a given as it is for most o f us in real life, an identity is slowly and narratively revealed. It comes partly from the character’s “look,” or appearance/description. For Eastwood’s characters (as well as Harmonica in Once Upon a Time in the Wiest) the look is rough-hewn as compared to Bret M averick’s or Sherlock Holm es’ or even the Virginian’s. Each one evokes a different image; unkempt gunfighter, dapper gambling man, well dressed Victorian gentleman, and traditional cowboy. Other clues to identity stem from the character’s mannerisms. The Man with No Nam e’s manner is generally tight-lipped, confident, and inscrutable, with the Virginian a bit less menacingly so, while M averick’s and Holm es’ different manners help similarly to define them. The greatest identifier, however, is action: what we see this character do and what we think he will do based on that. That is why names are, ultimately, meaningless,