The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
(Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo)
Dir: Sergio Leone
Scrs: Agenore Incrocci, Furio Scarpelli, Luciano Vincenzoni, Sergio Leone
Pho: Tonino Delli Colli Eds: Eugenio Alabiso, Nino Baragli
Music: Ennio Morricone
Cast: Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, Eli Wallach
Italy / Spain / West Germany / 1966 / Colour / DCP / English Chi & Eng Subtitles / 179min
Leone's third collaboration with actor Clint Eastwood forms a loose series, together with A Fistful of Dollars (1964) and For a Few Dollars More (1965), often referred to as "The Man With No Name Trilogy" or the "Dollars Trilogy", despite having precious little else in common. Set during the American Civil War, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is actually a prequel to the two earlier films, and easily the most ambitious in scope and ambition.
Eastwood's quietly composed gunslinger, Blondie, forms an uneasy alliance with Tuco (Eli Wallach), a notorious Mexican bandit, when they both learn different specifics regarding the whereabouts of a stash of hidden gold. As they attempt to cross the hostile wilderness and avoid both the Confederate and Union armies, a third gunslinger, Lee Van Cleef's villainous Angel Eyes, is also on their tail.
Leone sets out to satirise the violence of the Old West, creating a surreal, yet bloody canvas, blown up to huge proportions by Tonino Delli Colli's incredible cinematography and the iconic music of Ennio Morricone. Leone's talent for spot-on casting is on full display, gifting career-defining roles to both Eastwood and Van Cleef, while allowing a never-better turn from Wallach to steal the film from both of them. Leone's fascination with his actors extends way beyond his three leads, however, as he explores the steely gazes and craggy contours of even his minor characters using huge, probin close-ups.
||Cinema, Hong Kong Film Archive
*Post-screening talk with Matthew Cheng, in Cantonese
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