What Happened In the 1960s?
The Dangers of Being a Player

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Revisited

I really enjoyed it this time. (See this post from a week and a half ago for background.)

It's been over ten years since my first viewing of it. Wondering now about my mostly negative reaction then, I vaguely recall that we (my wife and I) were watching it at night and I was sleepy long before the end of its nearly three hours. Also, at the time we had an old CRT television, not especially big and of the old nearly square proportions. So the wide-screen picture, formatted for CinemaScope or whatever it was, was squeezed into a smallish rectangle in the middle of the screen. And the layout of the room was such that I was relatively far away. We finally made the switch to a flat-screen a few years ago, and although it isn't very large, my favored chair is very close to it. And I have a halfway decent sound bar setup  for the audio, and as we all know the score is an important part of this film.

So on this viewing I got something much, much closer to the visual experience of seeing it in a theater, and it did draw me in immediately in a way that it certainly did not before.

I still have some reservations--Tuco's almost comic villain laugh, for instance. And Eastwood's strong silent narrow-eyed menace is laid on too heavily. And I can certainly understand the revulsion of some contemporary critics at its violence. It's not really an improvement in our culture that we've now seen so much worse. It veers pretty close to nihilism, pulled back from that brink by the minimal but solid ethical code of Blondie ("the Good"). The treatment of the Civil War as a more or less meaningless struggle between more or less interchangeable forces is very much of its time, and of time since. I'm sure a great deal has been said by critics about the interplay of American Western and 20th century European sensibilities and culture in that vision. 

It's not among my favorite films, but I see its appeal and its strengths now. And I want to see the two Leone-Eastwood predecessors in the "Dollars" trilogy. 

Comments

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The entire ending sequence is pretty great, and then Tuco yelling "Blonnnnndieeeeee!!"

Yes, I thought that final faceoff was really good. Almost in spite of my better judgment.

I just switched in a sans-serif font (Merriweather). What do y'all think?

Font looks good, Mac!
Since you don't yet have a search I cannot look for your Quadrophenia entry from a while ago. So I'm going to talk about The Who here. :)
Recently I've been listening to Tommy and have found it very moving. Not just the CD and music, but also I re-watched the very odd movie (that I maybe last saw as a teen-ager), and on the music station I get from Century Link cable there was a pretty recent concert (within the last decade certainly) of Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend and other newer Who members (Zak Starkey on drums perhaps?). All three versions were moving, but I suppose especially watching these old rock and roll guys still sounding really good doing the opera after so many years. I'm listening to the CD now as I write this. Great music.
I know it is age. Their age and my age and thinking about this music and being really young when I first heard it. So there's my story. I guess I should revisit Quadrophenia soon.
BTW - I have the new Who album and am liking it more each time I listen to it (it's title is WHO).

Much easier to read, thanks. :)

Glad it's better for you, Marianne. I think I find it a bit easier, too, though it's not a dramatic difference for me.

Stu, if you reload the page you should see a Google search bar at the top. It will locate the Quadrophenia post. It looks really ugly now and I'm looking to see if I can make it more discreet. It does seem to work, though, unlike the Typepad search.

I haven't heard Tommy for many years. As I said in the Quad post, I've long thought it was over-rated. Could change my mind if/when I hear it again, but I suspect not. It does have a lot of great individual songs. I'm a little shocked to hear that the Who have a new album out. Thought they gave it up a long time ago.

Also, regarding the appearance of the blog: I turned the brightness and contrast all the way up and am surprised at how different the blog looks. Makes me really wonder what y'all see.

I love the scene before the final showdown where Blondie gives the dying soldier his jacket.

And then that whole "Ecstasy of Gold" scene with Tuco running around looking for the grave....great stuff. I'd have to look it up but I wouldn't be surprised if Morricone had written that song in advance and Leone edited that scene to match the length of the song. He did do that sort of thing fairly often.

I think you'll find the two previous ones to be entertaining but less substantial. There was style there from the beginning, but the substance got better as Leone went on -- plus the increased budgets didn't hurt.

In principle I like the running-around scene, too. I mean, I think it's well done and all. But I started feeling just a bit seasick while watching it. Odd because I don't normally have that kind of reaction. And yes, the dying soldier scene was really good. That, and his final mercy toward Tuco, are the things that really justify calling Blondie "the Good." Offhand I can't think of others.

Re the budget: I was a little surprised at how elaborate the production was. "Spaghetti western" sort of suggests cheap, but in most respects this was on the level of Hollywood productions of the time. That bridge scene must have cost a mint.

Especially because they had to do it twice! The first time the bridge was blown up accidentally (an assistant misheard a verbal cue) and it wasn't caught on film. They had to rebuild it and do it again.

!!

I've temporarily removed the Google search module, because it looked so bad. I'll put it back when I've figured out how to integrate it better into the design.

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