“Every gun makes its own tune….”
Everyone has a blind spot when it comes to popular culture. My wife had never seen an Indiana Jones film before meeting me. My dad has never seen a Star Wars movie. For me it is Westerns and Anime. As I have committed to working my way through the remaining films in the hallowed IMDB top 250, I will surely become more acquainted with both.
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly is the 9th greatest film of all time according to the Internet Movie Database and while I couldn’t quite agree with that assessment it is certainly a masterpiece. I have actually never seen any Sergio Leone films and it took me a while to get used to the dubbed sound, the close ups and the long scenes with no dialogue. Once you become accustomed to Leone’s style however everything really clicks into place. The score is possibly the best I’ve ever heard and also one of the most famous. The editing is beautiful and allows lot of scenes that are essentially just Clint Eastwood staring into the middle distance to become something almost otherworldly. It is utterly astounding that the film didn’t receive a single Oscar nomination.
The beauty of Leone’s fourth film is its simplicity. Three men are desperately trying to get hold of $200,000 that is buried somewhere in a graveyard in the desert. The thing that elevates that simple idea and makes it so captivating is how the three men weave in between each others lives and keep crossing paths. The acting is spellbinding with Eli Wallach wonderfully grubby as Tuco, Lee Van Cleef bringing a cold eyed determination to Sentenza and Clint Eastwood looking every bit the quintessential cowboy as The Man With No Name. It is easy to see why Eastwood is considered one of the greatest ever movie stars. He is mesmerizing and charismatic throughout despite, or perhaps because of, having very little dialogue.
There were little idiosyncrasies that I enjoyed too. At one point Tuco or ‘The Ugly’ opens a pink umbrella while riding a horse through the punishing desert. Soon after we see ‘The Good’ or Clint Eastwood idly playing with a kitten. It is these touches that make The Good, The Bad and The Ugly so memorable.
It is to my great discredit that I had dismissed this film simply because ‘I don’t like Westerns’. I will learn to shut my fat mouth in future and just watch what IMDB tells me to…