From the tumbleweed in the opening scenes, to drunks fleeing bar brawls via the window, quick draws, “wanted” posters, and the obligatory “man shot dead off the roof of a building”, ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’ is everything you could hope for in a Western, and more.
The movie is a whopping 161 minutes (over 3 hours if you watch the extended English version like we did). It took us 2 nights to watch it! Nevertheless, with a “whiskey on the rocks” in hand, we settled in for the ride.
I was surprised to learn that this was the third movie in a series of 3. Like ‘Desperado’, this sequel has managed to totally eclipse the original. The dubbing is beyond atrocious, but somehow that adds to the charm of the film. The local Spanish actors apparently said all their lines in Spanish so the English dubs (in horribly ill-matching voices) make for entertaining viewing. One of the most hilarious examples is when “Maria” is thrown off a cart by a bunch of hoons and screams “You filthy rats!” in a bizarre, hoarse voice. We lol’d.
At times the dialogue is barely intelligible and eventually we switched on the subtitles just to follow what was being said. Perhaps for these reasons this film has the least dialogue of any “talkie” I’ve ever seen. The first 20 minutes or so are completely silent and the “stare-off” between Angel Eyes and his next victim would leave anyone speechless. I’d seriously watch the movie again just for that scene. Gold.
There are plenty of Bond-esque scenes where the villain spends far too much time explaining his every move to his victim, only to be blindsided at the last minute. This leads to one of the best lines in the film, after Tuco blasts away a potential threat mid-soliloquy:
“When you have to shoot, shoot! Don’t talk”.
Some of the most memorable parts of the film are born of pure evil. There is the moment when you think Sentenza is about to smother a dying man with a pillow, only to discover he’s just using it as a shield to protect hismelf from the blood spatter when he shoots the guy in the head. Bam!
The coolness factor is through the roof. I was waiting with Dad at the doctor’s yesterday when the phone of the guy next to us started ringing with that classic whistling tune. Almost 50 years later and your soundtrack is a ringtone? Awesome. I’d never really understood the hype surrounding Clint Eastwood, but I completely understand that now. What a dude! Then there’s Tuco’s scene at the shooting range. Kapow!
It’s the fuel of a thousand games of “Cowboys and Indians”. I kinda wanna play now… I’ll be Blondie!
Who wants to be Angel Eyes?
Pow! Pow! Pow! You’re dead!