When You Have To Shoot, SHOOT…Don’t Talk.

Posted: January 4, 2013 in Film
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Good-the-Bad-and-the-Ugly-lede

I am not gonna say that Sergio Leone’s “the Good, the Bad & the Ugly” is the greatest western ever, butgood1 as someone who loves both traditional “black hat vs. white hat”, John Ford/ John Wayne type Westerns as well as every grade of Spaghetti Westerns(and believe me, they REEEEEALLY vary), I can say that this is my favorite. I just finished watching it(rainy afternoon…best way to go) for what I think is probably the 10th or 11th time since I first saw it as a kid, and I fell deeper, yet again, for this film.

It is perfect to me in every way. While it may be long-ish(3 hours), there is not a wasted frame. There are long, tension building scenes that give way to frenetic bursts of amazingly creative action…which lead to scenes containing the most overlooked element of this, possibly the most well known Spaghetti Western ever; hilarity. The humor in this movie is so perfect. Some westerns try(and I stress TRY) to be funny, but Eli Wallach’s crazy Tuco is always on and Clint’s straight, sarcastic barbs are so sharp…just perfect. There is a scene where Clint and Eli are in a stolen Confederate wagon, in stolen Confederate uniforms when Eli spots a brigade of soldiers on horseback approaching on the horizon. He tells Clint to show his uniform off and starts yelling “Hooooray for the Confederacy!” “Up with…what’s our General’s name?” – Clint answers “Lee” – Eli continues “Up with General

good-bad-uglyLEEEE! God is on our side because he hates Yankees!”  As the soldiers get closer in their cloud of dust, Clint notices something about the soldiers off screen. He then corrects Eli…”God isn’t on OUR side because he doesn’t like IDIOTS.” Then we finally see that the soldiers uniforms just appeared to be Confederate grey, but were in fact Yankee blues covered in dust…Cut to the next scene and Clint and Eli are marching as prisoners of war. Hilarious.

Also, this is one of my favorite kills ever. It’s so absurd. Guy seeks revenge on the man who took his arm, finds him in tub and commences the cliched pre-revenge-kill long-winded speech…watch what happens.  Also, amazing post kill line.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sTcBgs2huRo

Good-bad-ugly-noose

This film is also interesting from a story-telling standpoint because you have three main characters that you focus on separately or in different combinations for long stretches of the film. This being the third of the series, there is a huge focus on Eli Wallach’s Tuco, but Clint fills on the holes with just the right notes like Miles on the horn…and then there’s one of my hero’s…

Lee…………………………………… Van…………………………………… Fucking…………………………………….. Cleef !!!

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His character is “the Bad” alright. He is pure evil, ruthless and cold. Willing to do anything for money while seeming to take great pleasure in torturing and screwing people over. Eli is “the Ugly” in man, a volatile, turncoat who flies of the handle to extreme fits of rage and almost mania. “The Good” is Clint, although he is not REEEEEALLY good, he just seems to have honor, and in Leone’s world, that’s head and shoulders above the rest.

The cinematography and score is second to none. Morricone’s Main theme and Ecstacy of Gold(cemetery background music) are incredible and iconic.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZG1fmfZGuWw Some of the most interesting action sequences, like Eli pushing his captor(who is chained to him) off a moving train to smash his head repeatedly on a stone, only to realize that he has no key. What does he do…drags his body up on to the railroad tracks, puts him on the tracks, drapes the chain over the rail and waits on the side for a train to come. When it does, not only does the plan work, but Leone has a camera mounted under the locomotive to capture the body getting crushed and dragged along with the train….amazing. This is 1968! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8gXlwiME5tI Check this out if you haven’t already, and if you have, check it again.

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