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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly (1966) - A great Spaghetti Western

This is a movie that will certainly not win any major awards, and was a major constituent of what were called the 'spaghetti westerns'. It was a movie directed by Sergio Leone, and starred Clint Eastwood (and Sergio Leone was the master of the art, having made a large number of such movies). What were Spaghetti Westerns ? - These were films that started coming out in the 60's, and continued till they started becoming the butt of jokes in the 70's, after which these died out. The other specialty of these movies is that they were primarily directed and produced by Italians, with a mix of young and upcoming Hollywood actors, and many other members of the cast being a mix of Italian and Spanish actors. A large number of these movies were made with a desert, wild countryside, to resemble the American Southwest (although the shooting of many of them was done in a region of Spain that was similar).



The movie has 3 characters representing each of the 3 terms:
- The Good: Clint Eastwood as Blondie. Also famously known as 'The Man with No Name'. A bounty hunter who is the best of the 3, but who can shoot first if his morals allow it as a case of self-defense. He can also swindle as part of his bounty hunter job in order to make money. Blondie knows the name of the grave stone where confederate money is hidden, but his partner knows the name of the cemetery, and hence they need to work together.
- The Bad. Lee Van Cleef as Angel Eyes. A sociopath, a mercenary also known as 'Angel Eyes', who can kill or shoot anybody in his path. He, as a Sergeant interrogates Tuco, and discovers the name of the cemetery where the gold is hidden, but is unable to get the exact grave stone.
- The Ugly. Eli Wallach as Tuco. More of a lout, wanted by the authorities (and he uses this fact as part of his partnership with Blondie to make money). He finds the name of the cemetery (Sad Hill Cemetery) where the gold is hidden, but Blondie gets to know the name of the grave stone. He is partnering with Blondie, but at some point, they are all in for themselves.

The movie is mainly about these 3, and their quest for finding hidden confederate gold. Blondie and Tuco are on/off partners, but are forced to become good partners when one of them gets to know the name of the cemetery where the gold is hidden, and the other gets to know the name of the grave stone. And then there is the third one, Angel Eyes, who also gets to know about the gold, and will not let anything stand in his way, including making a temporary partnership with Blondie to discover the gold. The movie is about their quest, mixed with scenes of treachery, bitter battles between the Union and Confederate forces (the movie is set in the Civil War timeframe). In the end, the three are standing in the cemetery, guns drawn, in a Mexican stand-off with each other. Who will win ?

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, a spaghetti western starring Clint Eastwood and Lee Van Cleef (released in 1966)

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