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Saturday, January 4, 2014

Location: Mini Hollywood - Bank of El Paso

 
The most recognizable building within Mini Hollywood is the "Bank of El Paso" featured in For a Few Dollars More.  Despite it's subsequent uses in many other spaghetti westerns it still maintains much of it's original look today (with modifications to accommodate seating multiple park visitors to watch the "western show")
 
While I am unsure if the interior for the film was shot here or at the studio, currently the inside houses a museum of spaghetti westerns.  Sounds pretty cool, right?  Well it's not.  Basically the inside is filled with old theater film projectors.  A lot of them.  Not cameras.  Projectors.  If you've seen one, you've seen them all, and trust me, they have them all.  To me this is a HUGE missed opportunity.  They should have props or wardrobe from these films featured.  Or maybe a screening room of some sort as well.  Bah!  <end of rant>
 
 
Bank of El Paso becomes the Bank or El Pepsi
 
 
At least they filled the hole in!


Groggy is still counting!
 
 
 

 
 
The building has also naturally appeared in other westerns shot in the town.  Often times looking quite different.  LVC would return here two more times.
 
 Background building in The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
 
 
Monterey Bank in The Stranger and The Gunfighter
 
 


4 comments:

  1. Very cool pictures. I've read the interiors for El Paso bank were shot in Rome. But you never know. I was just reading the liner notes on the Grindhouse "Big Gundown" Blue Ray I ordered sometime ago & it claims The Big Gundown was shot before Good, Bad & Ugly which is wrong. Lee himself said they had him back in Europe for Good, Bad & Ugly to the day a year after For A Few Dollars More began filming & Good, Bad & Ugly went back to back with The Big Gundown.

    The little mountain in the background which has a knob pointing to the left side of all shots I've seen it in, that's it in the background of your pictures with Luigi Pistilli & cigar counting the time it takes the guards to make it around the back, I've noticed from the roof shot of Indio being broken out of prison in For A Few Dollars More. Also read the interior shots of that scene are in Rome but the exteriors are in Spain. I've always figured the roof top escape shots with that little "knob-mountain" in the background was on the roof of the bank. Could be wrong.

    I knew the "Tuco/hanging scene" with Angel Eyes talking to "half soldier" was shot in Mini-Hollywood but just now know that is the bank in the background. Wow Carlo Simi made it look like a two story boarding house or something. And yes Leone had a hole blown in the back wall for the robbery. I've read the location where they take the safe to open it & Eastwood rides up with his nick on the left side of his neck the Colonel gave him, where you can see what looks like palm trees, it a location from "Lawrence of Arabia" & David Lean had the palm trees truck in and transplanted & they continued to live. That location was also used in Commandos with Lee Van Cleef & Jack Kelly even though most of that film was shot in Italy. Speaking of Italy, I understand the ONLY western Lee did during those days that was shot entirely in Italy was The Grand Duel. It was a low budget film but pretty good. Guess they didn't have the funds to shoot exteriors in the usual places in Spain.

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    1. Bob-
      I did visit "Las Palmeras" in Tabernas where they shot up the cabinet after the robbery in FAFDM, and it will be the subject of a future post here. Very interesting that Commandos was shot at that location. I will have to rewatch!

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  2. You did an amazing job of "spot the bank"! I watched all three movies many times over and never noticed it was the same building! There you are, people only see what they focus on. And the backdrop just... what? Fades into the woodwork, so to say... Amazing!

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  3. That bank changes more often than most banks here do.
    I wonder if they had Bush for their president too! :)

    But seriously, I never even noticed this building in the other movies. Looks like they painted it darker for other films.
    And I guess they sure love their Pepsi. They got 4 machines out there. That guard with the sandwich should have plugged a Pepsi machine, maybe he would have missed the explosion.

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