Spaghetti westerns is a genre that eluded me in my youth. While my friends tell me old stories about how their fathers would sit them down and watch old the man with no name trilogy when they were young I was left out of the conversation. My father grew me up on old biblical epics such as Ben-Hur and The Robe. He liked westerns for sure and many an afternoon we would pass the time viewing High Noon, but my dad never cared for the films made famous by Sergio Leone.
When WhatIgotsofar mentioned he would like me to review the classic The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly I was hesitant. Again I know little about the genre and I don't have the emotional connection with films of this nature as most men of my generation. My buddy Ryon bought me a copy last Christmas and I tried to sit through it, but was distracted by something and never watched the whole thing. True to my word though I watched the film yesterday from beginning to end and am ready to review the film.
Clint Eastwood plays 'Blondie', which is strange cause he's not really blonde. Still it follows his adventures with Tuco (Eli Wallach) in an attempt to find hidden gold. Played upon the backdrop of the civil war their tumultuous relationship finds them fighting Union soldiers and constantly backstabbing each other.
Gone are the ideals of old western where stories of strong moral characters fighting evil men and riding off into the sunset after killing Indians. This film gives the west a definite raw look and feel. Nothing in the look of this picture is clean, including the characters' sense of decency. The codes most film fans saw with Gene Autry pictures are done and this movie is somewhat refreshing seeing the west through the eyes of an European. It's landscapes, colors, and character shifts are nothing short of spectacular.
Clint is excellent playing Blondie as a strong silent type with a somewhat dark side, but not all together without heart. Arguably the standout performance in the film he gives some humor to the amorality of this western tale. Not to be outdone Wallach provides a great sidekick if you will, but again he's not some bumbling jester. A tough rugged bandit Wallache's Tuco is disturbingly evil, but at the same time interesting enough to keep the viewer enthralled as to what his fate may be.
Then there's the music. Really the movie would be worthless without it's pounding score. It especially holds the slow scenes together and keeps the audiences' attention. Even people who've never seen the film can whistle it's theme and know exactly which movie it came from. And I dare you not to be enthralled by the climax, which without sound would be boring.
Given all this the movie is not without it's low points. Being an Italian production the movie is over dubbed. Some of the action is ridiculous at best, and the pacing can seem really slow at times. The plot is hardly that thick, but it is a character driven piece that still remains relevant.
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly is hardly The Searchers or High Noon, but overall it's an enjoyable flick. I'm tentative to call it a masterpiece as so many others have dubbed it, but it's worth a look. I'm sure on this Father's Day many sons will watch this film and remember their time watching this film with their dad's fondly. I know I will be dusting off my copy of Zulu for the same reasons.
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"I have a very strict gun control policy: if there's a gun around, I want to be in control of it." - Clint Eastwood