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Subject: 2012 Film Challenge #12: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly rss

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Joe Gola
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"In this world there's two kinds of people, my friend: those with loaded guns, and those who dig..."


"...you dig."

The Old West is a well-loved staple for storytellers. It gives us the chance to imagine ourselves outside the confines of of society, and with law and authority somewhere over the horizon we can finally take the true measure of a man—whether he is good or evil, and what principles survive. Americans in particular love the Old West because as a people we identify with the qualities that we associate with it: freedom, independence, the pioneering spirit, arrogance, wildness, and resourcefulness. There is a romance there, too, for the colonists of the East were still beholden to the Old World in one way or another, but you could say that the West is really, truly America.


Naturally there are lots of good Hollywood movies that capture this spirit—movies that inspire us or flatter us or just bring us back to a different time and place. There are the seminal movies of John Ford, the adventures of the Saturday matinee and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, the grand sweep of history of Giant, the moral fables of High Noon and Shane, and the gritty revisionism of The Wild Bunch and McCabe & Mrs. Miller. It's strange to say, then, that one of the most popular—and arguably greatest—Westerns of all time was made in Europe and produced, written, directed, shot and scored by Europeans.


The Good, the Bad and the Ugly has few of the qualities that usually endear Westerns to Americans. The infamous Man With No Name is no wounded loner, brave pioneer or high-principled lawman, and even if he is good, he is only so in comparison to the awful men around him. At the same time, the movie is no stand against the romantic; our characters still ride tall across the windswept plains with their hat brims and pistols cocked just so, cheating their own deaths and meting out those of others. One could say that the film has a sense of American history about it (even if not always strictly accurate), but that history is in truth nothing more than a convenient backdrop for the adventrues of its heroes and villains.


In short, the movie is not particularly American at all. It is, however, something bigger and better than that. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is myth on a grand scale; Blondie, Tuco and Angel Eyes are not mortals but rather superhumans who act out among themselves a drama as fantastical as we can imagine. They cross deserts, snooze through bombardments, and can shoot the hat off a man without mussing his hair from a tall hill outside of town. Their gunslinging skills and powers of foresight are nearly magical—as are the trials and tribulations that assail them—and in this the three emblematic, larger-than-life characters echo the notes sounded long ago by the flawed and rambunctious Gods of Olympus, by Hector and Achilles, by crafty Odysseus, the travelers of Journey to the West, of Beowulf and mighty Gilgamesh.


Perhaps that all sounds like rather fancy talk for a popcorn adventure about murderous gunslingers hunting for buried treasure (between the three of them the body count is eighteen, incidentally), and maybe so. I do believe, though, that there are movies that transcend their time and place to become something greater, and I would say that The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is one of those movies. It also happens to be funny, exciting, clever, and quite simply a rollicking good piece of epic entertainment. Just remember to shoot straight and watch the window, because we are but mortals, and one day you may find that it's your own neck at the end of the noose.

How did it hold up? Just fine!

Netflixxable? Yes to disc, no to streaming. Hulu? No.

Dr. Mabuse der Spieler (1922)
M (1931)
Duck Soup (1933)
Black Narcissus (1947)
The Seven Samurai (1954)
The Nights of Cabiria (1957)
La Dolce Vita (1960)
Psycho (1960)
Yojimbo (1961)
Viridiana (1961)
The Exterminating Angel (1962)
Dr. Strangelove (1964)
Simon of the Desert (1965)
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)
The Conformist (1970)
The Shining (1980)
Blue Velvet (1986)
Miller's Crossing (1990)
Ed Wood (1994)
Boogie Nights (1997)
O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)
The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
Spirited Away (2001)
No Country for Old Men (2007)

Bonus Features: TBD
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Thomas Eager
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cool Probably the most epic Western ever made. "It's no joke, it's a rope, Tuco." cool
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When you have to shoot, shoot. Don't talk.
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Joe
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"There are two kinds of spurs, my friend. Those that come in by the door, and those that come in by the window."
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Fraser
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And not to mention that its opening credits soundtrack is top ten material.

I noticed there was a screening of this on at the Melbourne International Film Festival some years ago and went with a mate. I'm glad I did.
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kSwingrÜber
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ooops... my apologies! blush

I posted something here that was intended just to be funny,
but was warned that it was RSP material, so I deleted it.

That's what happens when I shoot before I think!
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Tim Thorp
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Leonard Maltin said it best: "The quintessential spaghetti western." And definitely one of the great movie westerns.

The iconic theme (by Ennio Morricone):



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J.L. Robert
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While I recognize the film's significane to popular culture, not only do I not consider it the best "spaghetti western" film, not only do I not consider it the best of Leone's works, I don't even consider it the best of Leone's "Man With No Name" films.

But that's just my personal opinion. As I said, I realize that it resonates with a larger overall audience than other films of the genre.
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Eric Dodd
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The Civil War themes it explores (however erroneously), and the mythic qualities of the three protagonists really make this a great experience, especially when seen after the two 'Dollars' movies. It's a bit shaggy, and perhaps both 'A Few Dollars More' and 'Once Upon a Time in the West' are better pictures. But if I come across TGTB&TU while flicking through the channels I have a hard time not watching until the end...
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J.L. Robert
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Red Wine Pie wrote:
The Civil War themes it explores (however erroneously), and the mythic qualities of the three protagonists really make this a great experience, especially when seen after the two 'Dollars' movies. It's a bit shaggy, and perhaps both 'A Few Dollars More' and 'Once Upon a Time in the West' are better pictures. But if I come across TGTB&TU while flicking through the channels I have a hard time not watching until the end...


I pretty much have to stop channel surfing whenever I see any Sergio Leone film playing.
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Joakim Björklund
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J.L.Robert wrote:
While I recognize the film's significane to popular culture, not only do I not consider it the best "spaghetti western" film, not only do I not consider it the best of Leone's works, I don't even consider it the best of Leone's "Man With No Name" films.


You made me curious...

In your opinion, which is the best:

- "Spaghetti western"?
- Leone movie?
- "Man With No Name" movie?
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J.L. Robert
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JockiB wrote:
You made me curious...


Just my opinions:
Spaghetti Western - Once Upon A Time in the West...more sweeping, better overall acting.
Leone movie - Once Upon A Time in America...a masterpiece.
"Man With No Name" movie - For A Few Dollars More...better story.

But I digress...this thread is not about this.
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Erik D
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I notice an even split between people who prefer The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and those who prefer Once Upon a Time In the West. It's like choosing between Guinness and Sierra Nevada, there's no wrong answer.

(I'm a GBU guy myself. Eli Wallach is just too damn hilarious.)
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Key Locks
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ah-AH-ah-AH-ahhh...

Waah-waah-waah...
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Rob Robinson
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dedbob wrote:
"There are two kinds of spurs, my friend. Those that come in by the door, and those that come in by the window."


"There are two kinds of people in the world, my friend: Those with a rope around the neck, and the people who have the job of doing the cutting."
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Joakim Björklund
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erak wrote:
I notice an even split between people who prefer The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and those who prefer Once Upon a Time In the West. It's like choosing between Guinness and Sierra Nevada, there's no wrong answer.


There are two kinds of people in the world, my friend: Those who prefer "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly" and those who prefer "Once Upon a Time In the West".

There's some truth to that. I've never really gotten into "Once...", but "The Good,..." is one of my all time favorite movies.
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午餐先生
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JockiB wrote:
erak wrote:
I notice an even split between people who prefer The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and those who prefer Once Upon a Time In the West. It's like choosing between Guinness and Sierra Nevada, there's no wrong answer.


There are two kinds of people in the world, my friend: Those who prefer "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly" and those who prefer "Once Upon a Time In the West".

There's some truth to that. I've never really gotten into "Once...", but "The Good,..." is one of my all time favorite movies.

I like them both just fine.
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