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THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY ($25) is the best known, if not the best Spaghetti Western ever made. THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY is the third film in the "Man With No Name" collaboration between director Sergio Leone and star Clint Eastwood. This film followed on the heels of the very popular first two installments entitled A FIST FULL OF DOLLARS and FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE. Clint Eastwood is the "Man With No Name" a gunfighter who engages in things that are not always legal, but never in things that are wrong. His character is "The Good" of the film’s title. He is the moral center of the film, a man living in a time when the American west was on the edge of lawlessness and amorality. Lee Van Cleef is Angel Eyes, "The Bad" of the title, a brutal, lawless murderer and opportunist, willing to take advantage of any situation. Eli Wallach is Tuco, "The Ugly", a Mexican bandit, who isn’t beyond redemption, but it remains unlikely.

Set during the Civil War, the plot of THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY centers on $200,000.00 in gold buried in a cemetery, with the film’s three title characters being hell bent on retrieving it. Eastwood’s character knows the name on the grave where the money is buried. His sometimes partner, Tuco, knows the name and location of the cemetery. Angel Eyes knows about the money and isn’t above using the other two against each other to get it. Considering its two hour forty one minute running time, THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY has very little dialogue. Because Sergio Leone is a master of visual storytelling, the film requires very little. The films sweeping imagery tells far more than mere words ever could.

MGM Home Entertainment has done a marvelous job with their Letterboxed DVD edition of THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY. The new Letterboxed transfer restores the most of the film’s 2.35:1 Techniscope aspect ratio and features the 16:9 anamorphic enhancement for wide screen televisions. The transfer is beautiful looking. Everything is sharp and finely detailed. Colors are well saturated and give the impression of an IB Technicolor print. Digital compression artifacts were almost undetectable. This dual layered DVD offers RSDL technology for uninterrupted playback.

The Dolby Digital monaural soundtrack is very good and clean sounding. Like most Italian productions from this period, the dialogue wasn’t recorded live on the set and needed to be completely looped in a sound studio, so synchronization is not always perfect. However, Ennio Morricone’s classic score sounds great on the track and is well worth amplifying. Other soundtrack options include French and Spanish language tracks. Subtitles are available in English, French and Spanish.

The interactive menus offer access to a theatrical trailer, 14 minutes of never before seen footage (from the Italian language version of the film), trivia and production notes.

As I stated above THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY is one of the great Spaghetti Westerns. The DVD is marvelous looking and offers a great value. Absolutely recommended!


The Good, the Bad and the Ugly



DVD reviews are Copyright 1998 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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