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I was born after 90-s and this film make me familiar with the genre "western". I want to say, there was one of the best three hours in my life, the atmosphere of that ancient times transmitted as good as it possible. You just forget about the present and dive into west with it bewitching characters, revolvers and gold hunting. Not the first time I notice, that films of 60..70-s are much better transmit the picture for viewer, directors of that time exactly knew what to show. Tongue does not turn to call the special effects "pure" or "funny", cos they seems more real in this picture, than all modern effect together. The great soundtrack was the thing, because of which goose appears on my hands and the room fill with heroes's tension and resoluteness. So, I was very pleased, watching this film and soon will continue getting familiar with this genre and creations of great Sergio Leone.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
There's a meandering nature about "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" that
keeps me from enjoying it as highly as I think I should. It's certainly
not as tight as "For a Few Dollars More", and it really tends to drag
during the desert torture and the army scenes (which pop up with
surprising frequency). Even the final shootout was too much; I just
wanted Leone to get on with it. It's "epic" scope just seems to topple
in on itself.
That said, there's much to like here, and the built-up acclaim over the years is certainly merited. For one, the framing and composition in this film are amazing. Not sure I've seen such effective use of widescreen in another western. Leone knows how to make the western landscapes eye- catching. Each of the film's stars fits his character well (Wallach, especially, who just seems to relish Tuco's streetrat sense of guile). And it's just one double-cross after another, right up until the very end. It's fun from that standpoint. Just overinflated.
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly has become a metaphor for the relentless and ruthless pursuit of wealth (the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow) and the victims and victors (mostly victims) it produces along the way. The beauty of this film is that it does not take itself too seriously, it is a precursor to movies like "Sin City" , "Natural Born Killers" and "No Country for Old Men" that have a comedic and "matter of fact" feel to the graphic violence. Plus the musical score and cinematography are excellent. Who would of thought that a "spaghetti western" would become such an honoured classic movie masterpiece? Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach and Lee Van Cleef all play characters that are right out of a Greek tragedy who represent different aspects of society. Watch, enjoy, and don't take the movie too seriously, that's how I believe the director wanted the audience to watch it.
In the heart of America's far west, two men, the outlaw Tuco (The Ugly) and the mysterious Blondie (The Good), after an agreement gone wrong between them, reluctantly join forces in order to find a hidden treasure buried in a graveyard, of which each one of them knows something the other one doesn't. A cynical and crude mercenary (The Bad) later on will cross paths with the two, and will want the treasure as well. Sergio Leone's famous "Dollars trilogy" arrives to an end with this three hour odyssey on land, on which there are no heroes, but only greed and corruption, a land where what is most important is to survive. Possibly over-studied by many film critics, mainly because of its impeccable directing, memorable dialogue and excellently placed shots, as well as a score that might even surpass the film fame-wise, The Good The Bad and The Ugly shows in great depth all of the canons of a traditional Western film, becoming one of those rare movies that falls into every positive stereotype of its genre. It has become an epitome and reference point for an impressive amount of films released from 1966 to today.
This movie is not only sheer entertainment, it has the most profound
music in the number 'ecstasy of gold' by Ennio Morricone. Although
there is no comparison in the quality of one musical piece with
another, but I would rate 'ecstasy of gold' as the best orchestral
piece ever - simply a masterpiece from Morricone, who has produced the
best music for western genre films. The theme music is also superb.
The mood of the film transports you to that time and world and gives a feeling of that time and places were everyone was desperate, adventurous, daring, even reckless for the most coveted thing - gold. It has been called the yellow fever - a state in which people were willing to die or commit massacres for gold.
This is the theme, and although it is a sad and haunting picture of man turning into wild beast - more savage than the so called savages, the action, the plot and the acting turns it into an ecstasy. Not to be missed.
In the last of the so-called 'Dollars' trilogy Eastwood now plays a man
called Blondie (despite clearly having brown hair) who has hooked up
with Tuco, a bandit with an amusingly long list of crimes, to run a
reward-and-release scam with various towns and cities across the Old
West. Soon tiring of Tuco's behavior, Blondie ends their volatile
partnership and heads off on his own.
Angered by the double-cross, Tuco exacts a laborious revenge on Blondie, but just as the punishment reaches its zenith under a burning hot sun in a remote part of the desert a wagon carrying dead Confederate soldiers interrupts. With his last breath, the sole surviving Rebel tells Tuco of a stash of treasure buried in a cemetery, and, while Tuco is distracted, tells Blondie what grave it is buried under. Their difficult partnership is quickly restored as they trek across the West, through Civil War conflicts, towards the treasure.
So far I've only covered the Good and Ugly. The Bad just so happens to be Angel Eyes (Lee Van Cleef), a ruthless mercenary who has also learned of the hidden loot and eventually crosses paths with his rivals. He has the least screen time, but is necessary as a pure villain to lessen the crude vulgarity of Tuco.
It's a long film. But it's not about the destination, it's about the journey, and Sergio Leone allows himself plenty of time and space to indulge in quirky idiosyncrasies. I especially like Tuco having a bubble bath in the midst of his current location being blown to smithereens.
Villains always interest me, and actors mostly choose villains over heroes as they make for better characters. Blondie may comfort dying soldiers and play with kittens, but he's just too bland. Angel Eyes, is hardcore, and a better character, but he's nothing compared to Tuco. Eli Wallach owns this film, and takes most of the screen time away from Eastwood and Van Cleef. The scene where he searches the cemetery, as the camera spins around and around and around has such a beautiful innocence to it. Even though Tuco may have killed and robbed many this scene makes him seem like an easily excitable child at heart. It's absolutely wonderful.
If you've got an evening free, and just don't know how to spend 3 otherwise empty hours, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly is a fine way to spend them.
The Good, The Bad, The Ugly (1966)
A classic? Well, not so fast. Are we really okay with brutal (if brief) mistreatment of women, fast and senseless bloodshed, and lots of bad overdubbing of dialog?
Yes, this is a cinematic movie, and if you can overlook its flaws (some) you will be wowed and dazzled by its merits (very many).
Overflowing with archetypes, filmed with huge widescreen effect, brimming with familiar scenes vividly re-imagined, this is a movie that is dramatic (or ironic) in softspoken (or cynical) ways. There are gunslinging shootouts, long lonesome treks across the desert, and showdowns between tough guys. Yup. And it's all built around a story that leads scene after scene to one big moment after another. There's no question this is a movie that is great fun to watch. In fact, for its visuals, the sheer cinematography and sets and editing, this is as good as it gets, amazing stuff. The man behind that was Tonino Delli Colli, the cinematographer for some other of director Sergio Leone's legendary movies beyond this one: Once Upon a Time in the West, and Once Upon a Time in America (and well as the astonishing Life is Beautiful.) But overall, for its content, its plot, its message (if that matters), is TGTBTU a great film, a masterpiece?
Well, the movie is smart. It deliberately plays off of its genre, which had worn itself thin by the 1960s, so things push over the top in a campy, awesome, excessive way. It almost feels obliged to revisit and exaggerate all the themes of American Westerns, including the Civil War, including slapping women around and killing people in a flurry of fast six-shooter magic. Even the title makes clear this is about a stripped down, pumped up version of older classics.
Whatever his aura over time, Clint Eastwood is no great actor, not in my book, and here he is easily out shined by Eli Wallach, who plays a less attractive type, and by Lee Van Cleef, who plays a more attractive one. But Eastwood isn't meant to be acting, not exactly. He has aura. He's stoic and inscrutable, exaggerated make-up and all, and he shoots a mean Colt, or Smith and Wesson, something classy and throbbing. He's a great archetype, in a movie that is about archetypes. It's not a "realistic" movie, of course, not at all, and it's actually a comedy at times, overall, and it's totally fun and never laughable.
Go ahead, compare it to The Wild Bunch, and then to Butch Cassidy, both coming just after this one (and no doubt influenced by it). Both of these later movies have more impressive acting, and more intense intentions (both in brutal violence and in cinematic innovation). But all three have a similar effect, playing within a genre that has always, since the 1939 Stagecoach, been beautifully trapped by its limitations (that's part of its staying power for fans). The Searchers (1956) and High Noon (1952), for starters, are working within the genre, and gnawing at it, as if its something to feed off of. That's where The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly really shines. I have trouble with aspects of it, but I really like it in a bigger sense, looking the other way as needed. I switch to first person because I think it's a personal preference, and a lot of guys I know love the movie to pieces, and a couple women I know think it's either stupid or insulting or boring (actually boring!).
It's an Italian production, which explains some of the out of sync dubbing. Sergio Leone obviously has an intuitive sense of what makes a movie moving, something sorely missed in a lot of productions since. It's gritty, dirty, and it pounds "profound" hard in a male kind of "toughness prevails" way. Sorry guys, but bite that bullet. Oh, and the soundtrack? Amazing, perfect, and rising above the movie, which is great in its own way, I admit.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly, a 1966 spaghetti western from director
Sergio Leone, sums up everything an "epic" movie should be. It has a
huge scope, a unique ensemble of characters, and well done drama.
The film is overacted at times, as one would expect. But that serves it well. Eastwood does his tough/cool guy act better than it has ever been done. He is clearly at the top of his game here. The dialog is well written, the tough talk is as over the top as it can get without getting campy. The script also provides some humor to lighten the mood a bit.
The story is the movies greatest strength. It has a massive arc, and multiple story threads that eventually unite to form one. There are many major events in the plot, and no pointless scenes, despite the films long length. There is never a dull moment to be found in The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly.
The film is highly unpredictable. It leaves the viewer guessing as to what will happen next up until the famous climax.
This movie has some of the best shootouts ever put on screen. Eastwood is given many moments to show of his effortless coolness, and many of the fights are quite suspenseful. Later in the film, there are larger scale battles. These are shot perfectly by Leone.
The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly is far more than a mere western. it is probably the best example of the epic film-making style that dominated the 50's and 60's(i.e Ben-Hur) This is a masterpiece that will stand the test of time.
A big, bravado, bold and exquisite film for its time, Sergio Leone's
"The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" remains one of the most seminal,
influential, and exciting films of all time. With its superb cast, its
beautiful and wide scenery, and its superior action sequences, this
film is a masterpiece. A picture that embodies the perfect
personification of masculinity. A true man's picture, and one that will
stand tall among most movies today.
The simple tale of how three gunslingers form an unlikely alliance of hate, in order to find $200,000 (that's $6 million by today's standards) worth of stolen gold, in a country that is ravaged by war, is elegantly told by the maestro of westerns, Sergio Leone. For its time, Spaghetti Westerns were not considered genuine art, but rather, entertainment instead. Sergio Leone is probably the only director who is smart enough to make his film compelling to mainstream and critical audiences alike. His direction is smart and strong, and you see how well his direction is as per the amount of manpower and creativity in handling the action sequences. The action sequences are raw, crisp, grand, explosive, and taut. Especially the Standoff at the end. Leone should probably be awarded a Nobel Prize for that scene alone. Leone is probably why westerns are popular among the youth of the '60s, hell, he probably influenced would be filmmakers at the time. I know of one who was particularly influenced by Leone's direction - Quentin Tarantino himself said that this film is the best-directed film of all time. And yes, although the film may be long, there's not a scene that goes by that you'll say boring.
Clint Eastwood - The Good. The legendary Man With No Name. His character perfectly embodies with the true meaning of masculinity. As per in his previous films, he plays a mysterious gunslinger, one with a deadly aim and a strong sense of honor and pride. He is the perfect hero, and this film stands out as one of Clint's, if not his, best film ever.
Lee Van Cleef - The Bad. Here, instead of the fatherly Doug Mortimer in the previous "For A Few Dollars More", we get the stone-cold assassin Angel Eyes. Van Cleef plays him chillingly to the bone. He is wicked, he is ruthless, he is cruel. He would kill anyone, be it his targets or even his own client.
Eli Wallach - The Ugly. He is Tuco, a criminal on the loose. He is the most interesting character in the film, as we see the ugly side of man through him. He is two-faced, slimy, arrogant, and hate-able. But that what makes his character great. There is no substitution for Wallach, he will always be Tuco no matter what.
The cinematography is absolutely beautiful. We get to see the backdrop of the glorious Wild West and the battlefields of war in all its unfaded glory. Even the cemetery scene is filmed extremely well. The music - that's another thing. The music, is masterful, so sublime, so grandiose, and so haunting. It's mesmerizing, really, to hear the great Ennio Morricone's score while looking at the actions of people, it perfectly matches the film. Not forgetting to mention the iconic and haunting theme song that's embodied itself in popular culture even until today.
So, yes, this is truly cinematic brilliance. If you want to see the film in all it's glory, I reckon you readers get the extended cut DVD of the film. It's Leone's true version of this film, and it would do you some good to see his true film, not to mention the remastered picture and 5.1 sound so that you can hear the gunshots and explosions in all its fury. Make no mistake readers, this film is one of the most iconic movies ever made, and it can be proud of its status as "Greatest Western Ever Made". Now if only movies like these were made today as well...
Overall rating: 10/10
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Three separate mercenaries drifting through the US Civil War in 1862
hear about a cache of looted Confederate gold, rumoured to be buried in
a cemetery. Picking up clues, and with many criss-crossing adventures
en route, they each make their way to the treasure. Can they find it,
and who will emerge alive ?
The Good, The Bad And The Ugly, or Il Buono, Il Brutto, Il Cattivo to give it it's proper name, is simply the finest western ever made. Many accused Leone of being a hack; he made westerns, but he made them in Spain, and he wasn't even an American. Not only was he not a hack, he made pure cinema - a genre stylist unburdened by all the boring moral constraints of so many westerns (clean-cut good guys, white supremacy, social responsibility). As a result, this film is the purest distillation of the western myth, with the most amazing cinematic treatment ever committed to film. Its style is beyond criticism and its influence cannot be underestimated; Leone's themes, his camera angles, his use of music, his intuitive widescreen style, his moves, his incredible closeups - all have been and continue to be copied by lesser men. At a time when everyone was making crappy new age films like Barefoot In The Park and Georgy Girl, Leone was going back to his cinematic childhood of Gone With The Wind to create an astonishingly mythic epic which is the greatest depiction of the American Civil War despite not being about it. The three main characters are larger than life in the best way possible; Eastwood is extraordinary as The Man With No Name here, his character gradually mellowing from the hardened bounty-hunter he was as he witnesses the horrors of the war. If you do not cry at the scene near the end where this hardest of hard men dispassionately comforts a dying boy you are truly heartless. Wallach is amazing as Tuco, giving one of the greatest physical performances I have ever seen, all darting eyes, fastidious little movements and operatic comedy; he can be scary, funny, vicious and tender, all in the same scene. Van Cleef on the other hand is the purest depiction of black-hearted evil in any film. His introduction, as he rides a black horse out of a desert sundown and commits three horrific murders is amongst the greatest screen villainy of all time. These three incredible turns are all-time career bests for three astonishingly talented and prolific actors. Also superb are Guiffrè as the doomed drunken Yankee Captain Clinton, Pistilli as Tuco's brother Pablo and Brega as Wallace, Van Cleef's burly henchman (Brega plays similar heavies in the two previous Dollar movies). The other unforgettable element to this movie is Ennio Morricone's astounding music, which I think I must say is simply the greatest score ever recorded. There is no movie I can name with better, more original or dynamic music. The music is in unique harmony with the images and emotes from the first note to the last crescendo. The music completes every scene. It is lustful, haunting, touching, humorous, ominous, grandiose, suspenseful, operatic, delicious, magnificent, riveting, quiet, melancholy and philosophical. There are too many great musical moments to mention, but perhaps the greatest of all is the L'Estasi Dell'Oro sequence as a crazed Tuco runs amongst the graves of Sad Hill accompanied by the silken soprano voice of Edda Dell'Orso. Morricone is probably the most gifted film composer who has ever lived - he is certainly the most prolific - and this is the finest of his many many great scores. In an average movie I hope for maybe five strong scenes with atmosphere and originality. In this long movie, every single scene, bar none, is a brilliant little vignette, yet each flows into the other with perfect rhythm. What else is there to say about this extraordinarily beautiful film ? It is a diamond, an absolute diamond of world cinema, made by one of the few truly original directors, and don't believe for a second anyone who tries to write it off as trashy or simplistic. It contains so many moments of pure storytelling genius it would take me forever to list them. It is a great story, an astounding assault on the senses, a hugely entertaining masterpiece and an everlasting testament to Leone's total command of cinema. Featuring exquisite photography by Tonino Delli Colli and fantastic sets by Carlo Simi, it was shot at Elios Studios in Rome, in Castilla-Leon in northern Spain and in Leone's favoured locations in Almeria. Stunningly well written by Agenore Incrocci, Furio Scarpelli, Luciano Vincenzoni and Leone. Re-mastered and re-released in 2003, with several additional scenes which didn't make it into the original US release, notably a sequence where Tuco reunites with his gang and one where Angel Eyes visits a ruined fort. Trivia - Eastwood/Blondy is the good (buono), Wallach/Tuco is the ugly (brutto) and Van Cleef/Angel Eyes is the bad (cattivo); the latter two are often transposed in much of the English-language publicity and merchandise for the movie. This is the great Sergio Leone's best film, the best film of the sixties and the best western ever made.
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