Saturday, November 24, 2007

For the album by Frankee, see The Good, The Bad, The Ugly (Frankee album).
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (Italian: Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo) is a 1966 Italian epic spaghetti Western directed by Sergio Leone, starring Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef and Eli Wallach in the title roles. The screenplay was written by Age & Scarpelli, Luciano Vincenzoni and Leone, based on a story by Vincenzoni and Leone. Director of photography Tonino Delli Colli was responsible for the film's sweeping widescreen cinematography and Ennio Morricone composed the famous film score. It is the third film in the Dollars trilogy following A Fistful of Dollars (1964) and For a Few Dollars More (1965). The plot centers around three gunslingers competing to find a fortune in buried Confederate gold amid the violent chaos of gunfights, hangings, Civil War battles, and prison camps.


Clint Eastwood as Blondie: The Good, the Man With No Name, a phlegmatic, cocksure bounty hunter who competes with Tuco and Angel Eyes to find the buried gold in the middle of the two warring factions of the American Civil War. Blondie and Tuco have a love-hate relationship. Tuco knows the name of the cemetery where the gold is hidden, but Blondie knows the name of the grave where it's buried, forcing them to work together to find the treasure. In spite of this greedy quest, Blondie's pity for the dying soldiers in the chaotic carnage of the War is evident. "I've never seen so many men wasted so badly," he laments. Rawhide had ended its run in 1965 and at that point none of Clint Eastwood's Italian films had been released in the United States. When Leone offered him a role in his next movie it was the only big film offer he had but the actor still needed to be convinced to do it. Leone and his wife traveled to California to persuade Eastwood. Two days later, he agreed to make the movie and would be paid $250,000 plus 10% of the profits from the North American markets – a deal that Leone was not happy with.
Lee Van Cleef as Angel Eyes: The Bad, a ruthless, unfeeling mercenary named "Angel Eyes" Sentenza who kills anyone in his path. When Blondie and Tuco are captured while posing as Confederate soldiers, Angel Eyes is the Union officer who interrogates them and tortures Tuco, eventually learning the name of the cemetery where the gold is buried, but not the tombstone. Angel Eyes forms a fleeting partnership with Blondie, but Tuco and Blondie turn on Angel Eyes when they get their chance. Originally, Leone wanted Charles Bronson to play Angel Eyes but he had already committed to The Dirty Dozen (1967). Leone thought about working with Lee Van Cleef again: "I said to myself that Van Cleef had first played a romantic character in For a Few Dollars More. The idea of getting him to play a character who was the opposite of that began to appeal to me."
Aldo Giuffrè as Union Captain: A drunken Union captain who befriends Tuco and Blondie. He feels that the bloody siege his men are involved in is a futile waste, and dreams of destroying the bridge - a wish carried out by Blondie and Tuco. Mortally wounded in the Battle of Langstone Bridge, he dies just after hearing the bridge's destruction. Giuffre was an Italian comedian who had become an actor.
Mario Brega as Cpl. Wallace. A thuggish prison guard who works for Angel Eyes and tortures Tuco to get him to reveal the hidden location of the treasure. Angel Eyes turns Tuco over to Wallace so that he can turn Tuco in for the reward money; Tuco, however, kills Wallace by pushing him out of a moving train. A butcher-turned-actor, the imposing, heavyset Brega was a mainstay in Leone's films and Spaghetti Westerns in general.
Antonio Casale as Jackson: The dying Bill Carson, also known as Jackson. He shares the secret of the gold's location with Tuco, telling him the name of the cemetery where it can be found, but tells only Blondie the name of the gravestone where it is hidden, and then dies. Casale would later appear in Leone's A Fistful of Dynamite.
Luigi Pistilli as Father Pablo Ramirez: Tuco's brother, a Catholic friar. He holds Tuco in contempt for his choice of life as a bandit, but ultimately loves him. Pistilli was a veteran of many Spaghetti Westerns, usually playing a villain (as in Leone's For a Few Dollars More).
Antonio Casas as Stevens: The farmer involved in the deal with Baker and Bill Carson. He and his son are quickly killed by Angel Eyes after he divulges information about Jackson's new identity and the money scam. Casas was a well-known Spanish soccer player-turned-actor who appeared in over 170 TV shows and films through his career.
Rada Rassimov as Maria: A prostitute beaten by Angel Eyes, she is involved with Carson.
Al Mulock as One-armed Bounty Hunter: Wounded by Tuco in the films opening sequence, he loses his right arm. He seeks revenge, only to be killed by Tuco, leading to the line: "If you have to shoot, shoot! Don't talk." Mulock was a Canadian actor who later appeared in Once Upon a Time in the West as one of the three gunmen in the film's opening. He committed suicide on the set of the latter film.
Claudio Scarchilli as Bounty Hunter in Ghost Town
Frank Brana as Bounty Hunter in Ghost Town (uncredited)
Sergio Mendizábal as Blonde Bounty Hunter. One of the three bounty hunters killed by Blondie during an attempted arrest of Tuco.
John Bartha as Sheriff: Captures Tuco.
Sandro Scarchilli as Deputy:
Molino Rocho as Captain Harper: The good captain at the Union concentration camp whose leg is slowly deteriorating by gangrene. Harper warns Angel Eyes not to be dishonest on his watch, but Angel Eyes holds him in contempt and deliberately ignores his orders. Rojo usually played henchmen in Leone's films and other Spaghettis, but here played a more sympathetic character.
Benito Stefanelli as Angel Eyes Gang Member: Henchman. Killed by Blondie. Leone's stunt coordinator who frequently had bit parts in Spaghettis.
Aldo Sambrell as Angel Eyes Gang Member: Henchman. Killed by Tuco. Sambrell was a Spanish actor whose initially small parts in Spaghetti Westerns made him somewhat famous in his home country.
Lorenzo Robledo as Angel Eyes Gang Member. Henchman. Sent to follow Blondie when he leaves Angel Eyes' hideout, after Tuco kills the bounty hunter. Blondie discovers him and shoots in the stomach.
Enzo Petito as General store owner: The guileless store keeper robbed by Tuco.
Livio Lorenzon as Baker: The Confederate soldier involved in the money scheme with Stevens and Carson, he sends Angel Eyes to kill Stevens and extract information from him. However, Baker himself is killed by Angel Eyes, who was paid by Stevens before his death to kill Baker.
Angelo Novi as Monk: Head of the San Antonio Mission. Novi was one of the film's still photographers.
Chelo Alonso as Stevens' Wife. An Italian star of the peplum films in the '50s and early '60s, she had worked with Leone on several of his films as an assistant director. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Cast
After the success of For a Few Dollars More, executives at United Artists approached the film's screenwriter Luciano Vincenzoni to sign a contract for the rights to the film and for the next one. He, producer Alberto Grimaldi and Sergio Leone had no plans but with their blessing Vincenzoni pitched an idea about "a film about three rogues who are looking for some treasure at the time of the American Civil War."
The film's working title was The Two Magnificent Tramps and was changed just before shooting began when Vincenzoni thought up The Good, The Bad & The Ugly which Leone loved.

The film was not released in America until December 29, 1967 and some American cinemas until January 1968. The original Italian cut was 2 hours and 57 minutes long, but when released in America, it had been cut to 2 hours and 41 minutes. Since the scenes had been cut before they could be re-dubbed in English, the footage was rarely shown in North America (although MGM did include the scenes, in Italian with English subtitles, on its original US DVD release in 2000). In 2002, the film was restored and two years later re-released on DVD, with the 18 minutes of scenes cut for U.S. release edited back into the film (Clint Eastwood and Eli Wallach were brought back in to dub their characters' lines, actor Simon Prescott substituted for the now-deceased Lee Van Cleef, and other voice doubles filled in to redub for other actors who had since passed away).
Because the Italian title translates literally as The Good, the Ugly, the Bad, reversing the last two terms, ads for the original Italian release show Tuco before Angel Eyes, and when they were translated into English Angel Eyes was erroneously labelled "The Ugly" and Tuco "The Bad".

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Release
Critical opinion of the film on initial release was mixed as many reviewers at that time looked down on spaghetti westerns. Roger Ebert, who later included the film in his list of Great Movies,
Empire magazine added The Good, the Bad and the Ugly to their Masterpiece collection in the September 2007 issue.

In 2004, MGM released a special edition DVD of "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly", which contained 18 minutes of rarely seen footage edited into the film, including a scene which explains how Angel Eyes came to be waiting for Blondie and Tuco at the Union prison camp. As no audio was recorded during production, and the scenes had never been dubbed (having been cut by the US distributor), Eastwood and Wallach dubbed their dialogue more than 35 years after the rest of the film. Van Cleef, who died in 1989, had his new dialogue provided by a professional voice actor.
Disc 1 contains an audio commentary with writer and critic Richard Schickel. Disc 2 contains two documentaries, "Leone's West" and "The Man Who Lost The Civil War", followed by the featurette, "Restoring 'The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly'"; an animated gallery of missing sequences entitled, "The Socorro Sequence: A Reconstruction"; an extended Tuco torture scene; a featurette called "Il Maestro"; an audio featurette named, "Il Maestro, Part 2"; a French trailer; and a poster gallery.
This DVD was generally well received, though some purists complained about the re-mixed stereo soundtrack with many completely new sound effects (notably, all the gunshots were replaced), with no option for the original soundtrack. At least one scene which was edited back in had been cut by Leone prior to the film's release in Italy, but had shown once at the Italian premiere. It is generally believed that Leone willingly cut the scene for pacing reasons and, thus, restoring it was contrary to the director's wishes. The original US cut with the original mono soundtrack is still available in stores, although the transfer is vastly inferior to that on the restored DVD. (However, unlike the original DVD releases of the other two "Dollars" films, the transfer is anamorphically enhanced for 16:9 televisions.)
In 2007 MGM re-released the 2004 DVD edition in their "Sergio Leone Anthology" box set.


A Fistful of Dollars
For a Few Dollars More
Man with No Name
Spaghetti Western
Films that have been considered the greatest ever

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