For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. ---Ephesians 6:12

"The age of casual Catholicism is over; the age of heroic Catholicism has begun. We can no longer be Catholics by accident, but instead must be Catholics by CONVICTION." ---Fr. Terrence Henry TOR, Franciscan University of Steubenville

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Music And Recollections On The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

The greatest spagetti-western made by Italian director, Sergio Leone, The Good, The Bad And The Ugly had some of the greatest music of any western, as well.  The top video consists of a very talented ukulele group playing the title score, while the bottom is an orchestra playing Ecstasy of Gold (the theme of Tuco running through the cemetery, looking for Arch Stanton's grave) conducted by the composer, Morricone.  

It's one of my favorite movies for several reasons, not the least of which is the fact that it highlights an often forgotten campaign out West, one that was forged not  based upon likelihood of success, but in the remote possibility of something as grandiose as a small Confederate army building in strength as it  moved north from El Paso, through New Mexico, and into Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana, splitting the Union in half, West from East, and then invading California.  It wouldn't have had as horrible an economic impact as it would a political one, perhaps encouraging France and/or England to recognize the independence of the South and intervene at last on the Confederates' behalf.  But it was not to be.  Instead the Confederate army had their supply line cut, lost several battles, and in the end many  Confederate soldiers wandered aimlessly through the desert to their deaths.  Relics are found to this day.

I won't bore you with memorable scenes.  We all have our favorites, along with those moments that almost spoiled it for us.  The fact that most of the actors didn't speak English and spoke their lines in their own language made for some sloppy-looking dubbing.  The fact that Eli Wallach (as Tuco) ran through the cemetery with his arms swinging like a little girl did not ruin the scene for me (but almost).  If the special edition is still being sold on DVD, you will find the behind-the-scenes interviews very enlightening, including the one in which Eli Wallach tells the story of how he almost got beheaded by a moving train's boarding step (while he was trying to sever his prison chains).


Manny said...

You are much too hard on Tuco!

To me he looks like he's dancing like they did back in the late 50's or early '60's to nighttime jazz music.

Plus, he didn't want to elbow himself on those fake headstones...

Marc said...

Good commentary on a classic. One of my flawed favorites!

Kevin Gleeson said...

I love how they added the sung parts. I still crack up whenever I'm reminded of the time my middle son lay in bed singing himself to sleep with the "Uh-Ah Uh-Ah Uh-AAAH" quasi-Tarzan yell part, in the bedroom he shares with his two brothers.

Great movie! One reason I love this low budget, foreign feeling film over newer, slicker westerns is the association that stays with me. It's the first movie my dad let me stay up late to watch, and I was the only kid doing it. I felt so grown up, taking in the whole story.