Saturday 4 December 2004

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) - ickleReview (DVD)

Spaghetti Western directed by Sergio Leone. Clint Eastwood (The Good), Lee Van Cleef (The Bad) and Eli Wallach (The Ugly) scrabble against each other to recover $200,000 buried in an unmarked Civil War grave. Yet this is not about plot. It's about the stagnant parts where nothing happens except the twitch of a mouth, the dart of an eye, the rustle of a wagon hide in the wind. As with Sergio Leone's other movies - such as Once Upon a Time in the West (1968) - the soundtrack is vital to the atmosphere: not just the famous theme tune, but the sound effects so obviously dubbed on afterwards. It takes 10 minutes for the first words to be spoken.

There is a pervading sense of falseness in this film: the dirty, greasy faces; the distractingly dubbed soundtrack which doesn't quite sync up (there was a longer Italian version, 14 minutes from which are included on this DVD as an unseen footage special feature); the backlot feel of the shelled, abandoned towns. Yet it still makes compelling viewing.

Nugget: an acquired taste, but one that is well worth getting.

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