Movie Club: The Good, The Bad And The Ugly

Discussion in 'Introductions & Off Topic' started by LiamABC, Jul 23, 2017.

  1. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    A big thanks to everyone that are joining us through all of this.

    This week, we're concluding Clint Eastwood's "Dollars" westerns, watching The Good, The Bad And The Ugly.

    Remember any ideas for films to discuss are most welcome, and should be made on the Movie Club Introduction thread (the sticky one).

    Just a friendly reminder to everyone that, whilst fans are obviously welcome to passionately discuss and give their views on these episodes, please remember to keep things on a friendly footing and respect your fellow posters.
    Also, please do not post where or how to find the full movie online. And do not post asking others to PM it to you. You are however allowed to watch the movie in whatever manner you want.
  2. Wilycub

    Wilycub Staff Writer and Artist Staff

    It's difficult to find any movie watching person who does not know about "The Good The Bad and the Ugly" (GBU). It is THAT iconic!! The name, the characters, the music have been referenced and spoofed countless number of times in various media.

    In this third movie in the "trilogy", it is quite evident that the filmmakers have tried to put even more effort (and money) than the previous two films. AFOD had one main character, FAFDM had two while this one has three. The story structure is more complex as it involves the storylines of the three main characters crisscrossing every now and then while the Civil War rages on in the background.

    If you ask me, the real name of the movie should be "The Bad, The Worse, and the Worst" because none of the characters are good. Blondie is only considered good in comparison to Tuco and Angel Eyes, but he himself is an opportunistic bounty hunter who has no qualms about killing. At times I think Tuco is just as bad as Angel Eyes but we often choose to ignore his evil nature simply because he makes us laugh. Angel Eyes is the real cool and smooth villain. It's quite a change to see Lee Van Cleef play such an evil character in this film while in the previous movie he was a good guy.

    The dialogues are incredibly quotable. Tuco probably has the best lines out of the three. "If you want to shoot, shoot. Don't talk!". But Blondie has has some cool lines as well.

    The climactic three way duel still gives me goosebumps! The way the tension builds up slowly only through the music and the successive close-ups of the three. Leone really knew his stuff!

    What can I say about the music that hasn't already been said before? It's just fantastic beyond description. The title theme is obviously the most popular one, but the other tracks are equally impressive. I love "The Carriage of the Spirits" and "The Death of a Soldier". Very poignant and moving. Even the music that plays during Tuco's talk with his brother Father Ramirez is very touching. And I love the way it changes back to the main motif at the end when Tuco joins Blondie in a cigar! But my top pick is undoubtedly "The Ecstasy of Gold". It's pure genius at its best!

    This really is Tuco's movie. Even Blondie is somewhat sidelined by the lovable bandit. I guess that is why Clint was upset with Leone and probably never worked with him again. My only complaint with the movie is its length. Unlike the previous two films, I feel this movie is a bit too long and drags in places. A little bit tight editing to trim the movie down would have really improved its pacing. If I'm not mistaken the length of the movie is almost double that of "AFOD".
    LiamABC and Mark M like this.
  3. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    I've just watched it myself, again for the first time ever.

    What to say here? OK, first I'll get the negatives out of the way. There are two obvious faults with it for me. Firstly, while Lee Van Cleef is excellent as the dyed-in-the-wool villain here, he was the wrong choice for the part as he'd played the good guy alongside Eastwood in the previous film. Imagine Ricardo "Khan" Montalban coming back in a later Star Trek film as a good guy - the audience just wouldn't buy it. Secondly, like the previous one, this movie is definitely too long. They could easily have trimmed half an hour off it, maybe even a whole hour.

    That said, it has some great moments, and I would say is still the best of the three. And I was right yesterday when I watched the second movie, this third one was the one with the iconic music I had in my head.

    Blondie and Tuco have some great adventures together while the American civil war rages on in the background, clearly indicating that this is a prequel to the previous two - indeed, for a moment at the beginning, I was wondering if Lee Van Cleef's character, looking much younger than he had in FADAM, was the same character he played in that one (hence my saying he shouldn't have been cast in this one). Also evident is Eastwood's character gradually acquiring the accoutrements he's shown with in the previous two.

    Once again, the mistrust between the two characters is very enjoyable - but this time we get to see an explanation for it at the beginning, they were a partnership that went sour, then Tuco is out for revenge, but then quickly changes his plans when Blondie/Joe/Manco/The Man With No Name becomes the key to his fortune.

    I agree Wilycub your comment about Tuco's comic persona making him more like a loveable rogue next to Angel Eyes makes me think of the musical Oliver! where Fagin compares to Bill Sykes in a similar manner, although in the original book he is very scheming (apparently - I've tried reading it several times and never got even halfway!).

    The final three-way duel between these characters is indeed excellent, probably the best showdown in the history of westerns. You watch a western, and you know there's going to be a gunfight at the end, you can't really have one without it. This is easily the best showdown I have ever seen in any western. The tension is so thick you could cut it with a knife, who's going to go for his gun first?

    I agree again Wilycub about the relative morality of the characters. Eastwood's character is "the good" because while he has no qualms about killing, he does have a certain code, and you can see that at the end, when he does something that on the surface looks highly dubious, but you quickly realise what he's up to, although the director manages to spin it out so long that you do begin to doubt your expectations. But in the end, what we expect to happen does indeed happen.

    Overall? Yes, definitely a thumbs-up.
    Mark M and Wilycub like this.
  4. Wilycub

    Wilycub Staff Writer and Artist Staff

    I agree that the casting of Lee Van Cleef really is a bit odd. It is one of the things that prevent these movies from being considered a trilogy. For anyone who saw FAFDM first will find it difficult to accept Cleef as a real baddie in this one. For me it was the opposite. I saw GBU first many years ago so I found it odd to see Cleef as a good guy in FAFDM. :)

    Do you think Gian Maria Volonte would have made a good Angel Eyes? That would have made him the main villain all three movies. Somehow I feel that he might not have been the best choice. He can play the bad guy really well but I don't think that he could have pulled off the cool, calculating and suave Angel Eyes. I actually read that Leone wanted Volonte for Tuco's role.

    And I already mentioned that I too felt the movie was a bit long. I have even seen the extended version in which some deleted scenes were restored. They do explain some of the things like how Angel Eyes was waiting for Bill Carson in the prison camp. But ultimately these scenes weren't really essential and it' good that they weren't included in the already long original theatrical cut. It was odd to hear Clint and Wallach dub these deleted scenes because their voices sounded very different. Naturally, since they were dubbing the characters after almost 40 years! :00
    Mark M and LiamABC like this.
  5. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    I didn't know that. I can certainly believe it of the dubbing. Most people's voices do sound different after four decades. Make you wow even more at Frank Welker, who has been the voice of Fred in every Scooby-Doo cartoon bar one for almost five decades, and he still manages to sound the same. The one exception is "A Pup Named Scooby-Doo" which features younger versions of all the characters anyway so it's sort of not the same thing anyway.

    Deleted scenes . . . there's a debate that will never be resolved. In some cases, you think, "they should have kept that one in", but with others, you think "why did they even include it in the script?" - which sort of brings me back to Alfred Hitchcock. He was a genius because he generally had every scene, every camera angle, every cut worked out in his head before the actors stepped onto the set. It's a gift not many directors have. We'll have to do a few more of his at some point . . .
    Mark M likes this.
  6. Mark M

    Mark M Thunderian Legend

    What a wonderful movie. It's been a few years since I last watched The Good, The Bad and the Ugly.
    This was the first of the Leone films I ever seen growing up when I was quite young.
    The soundtrack is amazing and in my opinion even better than the previous two films...but not by much.
    The lead characters are great. Blondie as the hero, Angel Eyes the villain and Tuco the rogue/comic relief.
    The build up to the final duel is amazing.
    Definitely my favourite of the three films.

    Speaking of the soundtrack I got to hear ''The Ecstasy of Gold'' live when I saw Metallica in Dublin in 2004. It was the first piece of music they played at the start of the show. The show was amazing. :D
    Wilycub likes this.

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