Thursday, December 01, 2005

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly (1966) * Best Western Ever Made * * Top Picks * * Americana Classics *

"Do you feel lucky? Do ya... HOMBRE!?"

Drama (Italy, Spain)

Starring: Clint Eastwood (Dirty Harry; Unforgiven), Lee Van Cleef (God's Gun; Death Rides A Horse)

Directed By: Sergio Leone (Once Upon a Time in the West; A Fistful of Dollars)

Overview: In the middle of the Civil War, three men find a clue as to where a stash of $200,000 is buried, but they all need one another to find it. This story is about their trip and their constant intermanipulation to end up with it all.

Acting: The cast has Lee Van Cleef, has Clint Eastwood. Hello, Clint Eastwood. Sure nowadays he plays roles that have more 'humanity', that are 'softer'. But you know he does best in the gruff roles like Dirty Harry and 'The Man With No Name' character from so many Spaghetti Westerns. He's so good in this, and so is everyone else, really. Really.
Rating: 9

Cinematography: The up close suspense effects where they zoom in on just the eyes, just the guns, just the quavering little hand... Classic. And by classic I mean, the standard comes from films like this one. Aside from that the settings and the shootouts and every part of this film screams Western, and it's amazing to look at.
Rating: 9

Script: The dialogue is not the cheesy stuff of terrible Kung-Fu or predictable low-budge Western fare. It's intelligent, historical, and it tells clearly the character's morals. This film is about the personalities of these three people. We know exactly where their values sit on the good to ugly scale. Even if they didn't tell us who 'The Good', 'The Bad' and 'The Ugly' were, we'd know. Good stuff.
As a side note to you Ministry music fans, the sample used in The Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Taste album of "Do you know what you are?!" That comes from Il Brutto (The Ugly), in the last scene.
Rating: 9

Plot: The money plot. A standard classic fare. Three-way showdowns however? Original. Adding the element of the Civil War really adds depth to the thing, especially since it interferes more than once. From beginning to end this story is interesting and exciting. The plays and ploys and vengeance that encompass the characters truly makes this an epic worth watching, and it's a long one, and am I ever glad. I never wanted it to end.
Rating: 10

Mood: Dusty settings, old wooden one-horse towns, little pueblos and confederate soldiers abound. From scene to scene the mood is perfect. Not only do they have a Civil War setting and treks through desert wilderness as a background, but nooses and guns and thuggery everywhere. For the stash to be buried in a grave? Perfect. It's not enough to set it historically. To add the elements that also remind of the darker parts of the era is pure genius. What puts it over the top is the music, and we all know that the opening music is Top 5 most recognizable scores in film... EVER.
Rating: 10

"I know what you teenkeeng Blondie! Deed I shoot five or deed I shoot seeeeeex!"

Overall Rating: 94% (Awesome, Wicked, and Grizzly)

Aftertaste: No, seriously. The best western ever made. If there's ONE western that you HAVE to see, just to see if you hate Westerns, then this is the one. It might turn you right around. If you realize, like I did, how great a Western really can be, do yourself a favour and see High Plains Drifter after. Incredible plot. And you know what's real amazing? This Americana Classic isn't even American!