Abstract Sergio Leone's ‘spaghetti’ western A Fistful of Dollars (1964) is known to be in many respects a derivation from Akira Kurosawa's swordfighting film Yojimbo (1961), which in turns borrows from Dashiell Hammett's novel
Red Harvest. But the two films have never to our knowledge been subjected to detailed comparison in relation to each other or to shared common origins. In this article we look at the known facts about Leone's ‘borrowing’ from Kurosawa and then compare the two films in respect
of narrative similarity, character, genre attachment and ethical-cultural factors. We conclude that a very close narrative similarity goes hand-in-hand with substantial differences at other levels, and raise the more general question of the adaptability of a central narrative core to a wide
variety of possible workings-out.
Journal of Romance Studies promotes innovative critical work in the areas of linguistics, literature, performing and visual arts, media, material culture, intellectual and cultural history, critical and cultural theory, psychoanalysis, gender studies, social sciences, and anthropology. The primary focus is on those parts of the world that speak, or have spoken, French, Italian, Spanish or Portuguese, but work on other cultures may be included. Issues cross national and disciplinary boundaries in order to stimulate new ways of thinking about cultural history and practice.