[quote=“Stanton, post:244, topic:177”]Leone has in his Dollar trilogy a short segment after the final duel.
In FOD and FaFDM one of the minor baddies is still alive and in GBU Tuco has once more to put his head into the noose.
The film has had his climax, the audience has applauded and gets a short encore. This was probably also never done before, but we have to check.[/quote]
Actually the motif where, after the big climax & when the film appears to be ending, a minor baddie/henchman unexpectedly appears for a final fight, as in FaFDM & right at the end of Mercenario (the group of men with rifles), is pretty common. A lot of the Bond films end like that, for example (From Russia With Love, Goldfinger, Diamonds Are Forever). It may not have appeared much in westerns before, but then Leone wasn’t making conventional westerns & he was borrowing motifs from other genres.
The ending of GBU doesn’t really fall into the same category, because where GBU was innovative was in having three rival central characters rather than a conventional heroes v villains set-up. Angel Eyes is most obviously identified as a villain (“the Bad”) so it’s natural for him to bite the dust in the big showdown, but the audience is left guessing right up to the final seconds how the rivalry between Blondie & Tuco will resolve itself.
It’s the relationship between Tuco & Blondie which is central to the film, while Angel Eyes drifts in & out of the plot at intervals. IMO, although GBU had a Civil War era setting, the Blondie-Tuco relationship set the pattern which was later used in many of the Zapata westerns: an uneasy on-off alliance/rivalry between the cool mercenary gringo & the tempestuous peasant bandit. Some of the Zapatas, like GLT, push the villains way into the background with very little screen time or character development, & just concentrate on the mercenary & bandit relationship, but Mercenario & Companeros both kept a strong villain role, like GBU.
So I think what Corbucci did with the ending of Mercenario is pretty similar to GBU: dispose of main villain in a big showdown, then resolve the relationship between the central characters who try to get one over on each other one last time. The plot resolution is drawn out longer, & with more action in it, as it also involves a secondary villain (the Mexican army officer) & the girl, two other factors which aren’t in GBU.
I’m certainly not saying that the plot & ending of Mercenario aren’t brilliant or innovative, but I think Corbucci was working with the same ideas as Leone, & heavily influenced by the structure of GBU in particular.
Not sure about the flashback framing. I’m sure there are other films with a first half in flashback & a second half back in the present but can’t think of a good example that predates Mercenario off the top of my head.