Monday, September 6, 2010

Capsule Review: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)

The third, and best, of Sergio Leone's "dollars" trilogy, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly has Leone working at the very height of his powers, combined with three legendary performances and an unforgettable score from Ennio Morricone. While Clint Eastwood brings his usual icy charm, and Lee Van Cleef is excellent as Angel Eyes, it's Eli Wallach as Tuco (The Bad) who steals the film with a combination of wretchedness and surprising pathos. All three are racing towards a fortune in Confederate gold, but it's the journey that makes this such a sterling example of what Spaghetti Westerns did best - exploring the mythology of the American West as filtered through the iconography of American western films. So many classic moments, but it's the final stand-off between the three men that remains its most memorable moment - backed by Morricone's "The Ecstasy of Gold". Supremely entertaining.

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