The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: there are two kinds of memorable Westerns in the world, my friend: those with an Ennio Morricone musical score and those without. Now, of course, there are many more things to love about Sergio Leone’s masterpiece. The story is simple enough, but the literal treasure hunt is enrichened by the journey through a country ravaged by useless battles (violent killers as the central trio may be, they are mere children compared to the generals of the portrayed war). The three central characters are clearly cut from the same cloth, and what makes each of them either the good, the bad or the ugly are mere details; the film is unafraid to showcase their violence, and it is the fluid interaction between them that makes this even more interesting. Eli Wallach got dealt the best hand here, and he makes the most out of his very colorful character, down to the littlest physical gestures. Lee Van Cleef’s intense stare is the stuff of nightmares. Clint Eastwood is also in great shape as the silent type anti-hero. Casting, in general, is absolutely perfect, down to the blink-and-you-will-miss extras; so many great, distinctive faces. The same level of care went to the choice of locations. Both the micro and the macro are so noticeable because of the work of cinematographer Tonino Delli Colli; he also has a great eye for dramatic, distinctive framing. Eugenio Alabiso and Nino Baragli’s editing builds up tension by mixing shot sizes, and through good use of music, as well as silence; this is a long film that feels much shorter. That takes us back to Morricone’s score: it is a beautiful and distinctive score, one that has exhilarating themes and very sad moments; it is great by itself and it is used perfectly in the film.
Read what I wrote before: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly