Saturday, February 21, 2015

Movie review - "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" (1966) ****

They don't come much bigger than this, either in terms of close ups, lingering shots, or running time. The best of the Dollars trilogy, with Eli Wallach making a welcome addition to the gang - he has a lively unscrupulousness which adds considerably to the energy of the piece.

Clint Eastwood's "Blondy" is more vulnerable here, spending a far whack of the running time at Wallach's mercy - which actually adds to the tension because he's not an invincible superhero, and makes his re-emergence at the end very satisfactory. Lee Van Cleef's "bad" is a worthy villain (or is that anti-hero?), ruthless and powerful. There is also a fine collection of supporting actors and faces such as the dying solider.

It's a genuinely good script, with plenty of twists and turns and characters double crossing each other, and the powerful motivating force of money. Setting with the Civil War backdrop gives the action extra scopre. The theme song is deservedly famous, although I actually preferred other lesser known tunes like "The Carriage of the Spirit" which are incredibly moving, particularly with all those dead soldiers - this I feel is what gives the movie an extra special resonance.

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