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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (DVD)
Member Name: tomflint
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (DVD)
Advantages: Performances, Direction, Cinematography, Music
This is a review of the film.
The other day I went to see this film at the local cinema where they occasionally have 'classic' film nights. The cinema is definitely the place to see this film, with its wide panoramas and blaring soundtrack.
The third in the 'dollars' trilogy, this is one of only six films made by Sergio Leone, though he co-directed several others. I suppose you could see Leone as a kind of Proust type character, someone who was destined to spend his life playing out one long continuing saga, whether it was with his 'spaghetti westerns' or his 'Once Upon A Time' films.
'The Good, The Bad and The Ugly' is a brilliant film in almost every respect. The acting [for what is needed] is spot on, the photography is gorgeous, the music is totally iconic and amazing... an orchestra builds to a blaring climax on several occasions. I hadn't seen the film for several years and had forgotten how loud the music is in certain scenes!.
The story is simplicity itself, three men [their title roles clearly defined in a great extended opening sequence] race to be the first to claim a stash of gold buried in a huge cemetery. Clint Eastwood is the 'Good', playing the same 'man with no name' character he was in 'A Fistful of Dollars' and 'For A Few Dollars More', though here he is named 'Blondie' due to his hair colour, by rival Tuco. His 'goodness' comes from only shooting people when absolutely necessary, compared with 'The Bad' who takes enjoyment from killing.
'The Bad' is played by Lee Van Cleef, also known as Angel Eyes. An evil mercenary character showing no emotion after his various kills. The 'Ugly' is slobbish Bandit 'Tuco', played brilliantly by Eli Wallach, whose character produces many highly amusing lines. Ultimately Tuco becomes an audience favourite mostly due to his constant and often endearing babbling, whilst the other two men stay largely quiet.
Tuco and Blondie form a grudging alliance due to the fact that each knows a piece of information about the gold's whereabouts, making them indispensable to each other.
The film has an incredibly languid pace, with shootouts and scenes of violence occasionally interrupting the beautiful scenic vistas. The version I saw [I think there's a few in existence] ran to just under 3 hours, but at no point did the story drag or feel boring. The backdrop of the American Civil War allows Leone to make several points about the futility of war, as Blondie and Tuco are imprisoned and work with both the Confederate and Union soldiers at various points. It doesn't matter which side they fight with, they're interested in the gold: plain and simple.
The wonderful stand off between the 3 men at the film's end has clearly influenced many modern directors, most obviously Quentin Tarantino whose 'Kill Bill' films bare more than a passing resemblance to the 'spaghetti westerns'. It's worth noting that the 'spaghetti westerns' are themselves largely influenced by Akira Kurosawa's Samurai films, most notably 'Yojimbo'.
Although I don't own the dvd, there is a very fine special edition version out there with documentaries, commentaries and interviews which shed a lot of light on the process of making the films and the background to them.
Often regarded by the critics as the definitive 'spaghetti western', I actually slightly prefer 'A Fistful Of Dollars' which is a more manageable film to be able to sit down and view, but 'The Good, The Bad and The Ugly' is a masterpiece no doubt about it.
Summary: Part 3.