The third and final installment Sergio Leone’s Man With No Name trilogy is by far and away the best. You can really see why other great filmmakers love this picture. We have three main protagonists and while they are labeled The Ugly- Tuco (Eli Wallach), The Bad- Angel Eyes (Lee Van Cleef) and The Good- Blondie (Clint Eastwood), I assure you they are all bad. In fact, we get the most back-story on The Ugly so while he might be the dirtiest, we find ourselves rooting for him at times. It’s an interesting perspective to give the audience three men to root for when none of them are good. Yes, Eastwood’s mysterious collected strength wins our hearts but really we are put in the position to root for the lesser of three evils.
Tuco, a wanted man with a bounty on his head, has teamed up with Blondi, a drifting gunslinger, to make a few dollars cheating the system off Tuco’s bounty. Blondie cuts the bond and Tuco makes it his mission to cause Blondie to suffer. Angel Eyes, a bounty hunter who always finishes a job that he’s paid for, is looking for a man that knows the whereabouts of a hidden treasure. That same man is killed but before he dies gives Tuco the location of a gravesite and Blondie the name of the tomb the money is buried under. The two once again make an untrusting partnership to find the gold. Angel Eyes discovers their knowledge and forces the two men to lead him to the gold as well. The three nemeses find themselves needing each other but looking for the right time to betray one another. Set against the Civil War backdrop their journey crosses paths with many interesting characters and scenarios.
The musical score is the strongest in this picture and Sergio wisely uses it often rather than the dialogue to push the picture along. It should be noted that THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY is nearly three hours long and most of it is Leone’s directing choice to let the camera linger on action or show many cuts of the same scene. While I thought the style was a bit much in FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE, it’s done to perfection here and actually more often. Many action directors today use slow motion on the action to draw out the final moment. Sergio Leone instead has his final action very quickly but draws out the moment leading up to it. You might say it’s his own version of slow motion. The final three-way shoot off at the end is intensely mesmerizing and a perfect example of Leone’s style. I guarantee anyone who comes across this moment on screen will be unable to look away and have to finish the picture.
I am truly fascinated with the depth and elaborate story telling of this picture compared to the rest. Sure some of it may be unnecessary but it all makes for an entertaining, heart-pounding great time. I see more and more of the influence this picture has on many of my favorite films.
Video: (Widescreen 2.35:1) A terrific Blu-ray transfer. I am giving leeway to the fact that the original does not look near as good and you will be able to see the difference.
Audio: (5.1 DTS-HD) Again, like all of Sergio’s spaghetti westerns, he films without sound then dubs it over. Obviously there will be problem with the spoken audio but the Blu-ray does everything possible to improve the issue. The sound affects and score are top notch.
Audio Commentary from Film Historian Richard Schickel: A detailed look into the film from the biographer for Clint Eastwood films. Schickel’s voice is a bit drone but he does get tickled at some of the scenes.
Audio Commentary from Christopher Frayling: A detailed look into the film from the biographer for Sergio Leone. Of the two I enjoy listening to Frayling more but both give excellent historical, technical and random information in their commentary as true fans of the film.
Leone’s West (19:55): Interviews with the cast and crew discussing the location and Sergio’s directing style. You get pieces of interviews from some of the features in the previous films but this is still interesting nonetheless.
The Leone Style (23:48): Many of the cast and crew are interviewed again about Sergio’s lengthy scenes and how they affected the feel for the film and have influence others filmmakers. They also discuss how he worked with the cast. I highly recommend this feature.
The Man Who Lost The Civil War (14:23): A short documentary that chronicles the true conflict during the Civil War battles, that provides the background during the treasure hunt of our three lead characters.
Reconstructing The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (11:08): This is extremely fascinating, explaining what the technical process was just to restore all the films, so they look and sound better. They found old footage and added or re-edited to help continuity. They even went so far as to having Clint Eastwood and Eli Wallach redub some of their lines. Most Impressive.
Il Maestro: Ennio Morricone and The Good, The Bad and The Ugly- Part One (7:47): Jon Burlingame gives an in depth interview about how influential and important the score is to the film.
Il Maestro: Ennio Morricone and The Good, The Bad and The Ugly- Part Two (12:26): Music Scholar Jon Burlingame gives his analysis of Morricone’s brilliant score. This time it’s sort of a verbal essay over the music. This is strictly an audio feature but fascinating nonetheless giving a history of Morricone and Leone’s relationship.
Deleted Scenes (10:19): Two scenes the first is an extension of the Tucco Torture Scene, which goes on way too long. The second is a reconstruction of The Socorro Sequence, which is never seen in the film. They only have snippets so short cuts and images are put together as words are describing what would be happening. It’s like a book for the scene.
Trailer (6:48): Theatrical and French trailer. Both trailers mix up “The Bad” and “The Ugly” characters.