Sunday, August 25, 2013

Movie #208: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly, is, of course, one of the most influential Westerns ever, starring Clint Eastwood, Lee van Cleef, Eli Wallach and a whole lot of Italian folks (it was filmed in Italy and directed by Sergio Leone). It's evidently one of the "Dollars" trilogy (with A Fistful of Dollars and For a Few Dollars More), but I haven't seen those.

The story follows three men: Angel Eyes (Van Cleef), a hit man who always does the job and kills without remorse, Tuco (Wallach) a bandit on the run, and Blondie (Eastwood), a gunslinger-for-hire. Of the three, only Tuco has any kind of character arc - we never really learn anything about Angel Eyes (he's just kind of there to be scary and provided some opposition) or Blondie (we know he's badass and mysterious and not quite as willing to gun people down as Angel Eyes). Tuco, though, although he's a killer and a scumbag, we actually see his history somewhat when he visits his priest brother, and if we don't exactly feel for him, we at least come to understand him.

Anyway, basic plot: A Confederate soldier who was once a bandit stole a lot of gold and hid it in a grave. Dying, he tells Tuco the name of the cemetery and Blondie the name of the grave, but since neither of them know both, they have to tolerate each other as they search for it. Eventually the run afoul of Angel Eyes, who tortures the information out of Tuco and just offers to split the gold with Blondie (whom he correctly figures wouldn't talk no matter what he did). Eventually, all three men wind up at the graveyard, Blondie shoots Angel Eyes, and splits the money with Tuco (though not before nearly hanging him - it's kind of a thing with them).

This movie is, for me, like Enter the Dragon in that I feel like I'd seen it already. The moments and visuals in the movie show up in so many subsequent ones that it's fun to see where the tropes come from. But man, it's not a short movie, and there are a lot of repetitive shots, and it does sort of drag in places.

My grade: A-
Rewatch value: Medium-low

Next up: The Good, The Bad, and the Weird