Tuesday, May 11, 2010
A Written Review: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly
I seem to be one of the few people who still thoroughly enjoy the old style of the spaghetti western. Most people see them as boring and the characters as undeveloped. Some don’t see the point to them or just plain don’t get them. I on the other hand love them to death. Everything from A Few Dollars More to Once Upon A Time In The West, I just love this genre of film. The Good The Bad And The Ugly is my favorite of the genre. Everything from the absolutely breathtaking score by Ennio Morricone to the fantastic subdued acting, to the amazing cinematography makes this film a movie worth seeing.
Firstly, many people may criticize the admittedly shoddy dubbing job done in this film. What many might not know is that the term “spaghetti western” refers to a western film that was directed and produced by the Italians. These films were usually shot in southern Italy or Spain so as to make cost of producing them much lower. The film’s cast usually consisted of Italian or Spanish actors and usually an up-and-coming Hollywood star, such as Clint Eastwood in A Fistful of Dollars, or an older Hollywood star, such as Henry Fonda in Once Upon A Time In The West. So, most of the actors were speaking Italian so what may look like a terrible ADR job is actually very good for the time period it was shot in (this was the same time as the famously terrible Godzilla films from Japan).
You cannot talk about The Good The Bad And The Ugly without talking about Ennio Morricone’s absolutely breathtaking score. The film’s iconic Il buono, Ill cattivo, Ill brutto would become one of the most iconic pieces of music associated with the old west. Whenever one thinks of a song they would want to dual to the death to, this would be it. Also, the final song L’estasi dell’oro (The Ecstasy of Gold) would be considered among Morricone’s best work.
One of my favorite parts of The Good The Bad And The Ugly is the acting. While many may find the acting cheesy and over the top or in the case of Eastwood, extremely subdued, I absolutely adored the acting. Eastwood’s amazing portrayal of The Man With No Name, a role he would later deconstruct in Unforgiven, is so iconic. The stoic unflinching, unmoving, and unchanging character is one of my favorites. This doesn’t make The Man With No Name a useless character though. He does go through situations that he hadn’t planned for, like the time he is captured by Tuco. However, it always seems that Blondie is a step ahead of everyone else. It is a great role, and one any actor could have had a lot of fun with.
Finally, the cinematography for this film was absolutely amazing. From the huge sweeping landscape shots to the up close and personal close-ups this film looks amazing. While many may not like the long takes on the actors face I really am impressed that an actor was able to hold that kind of expression for so long.
While I don’t think The Good The Bad And The Ugly is a perfect movie I still thoroughly enjoy it and it easily tops out my list of best spaghetti westerns and is in my top five westerns period. Everything from the music to the cinematography made this movie a joy to watch. I can understand why some don’t understand or like this style of western but there’s something about it these films that I just love. Maybe it’s every man’s desire to conquer an untamed land or to dual at high noon or maybe it’s just me but I adore these tales of the old west.