A sprawling Western epic that follows the adventures of three
A sprawling Western epic that follows the adventures of three gunfighters looking for $200,000 in stolen gold, Sergio Leone's `The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly' is a masterpiece, one that continues to get better and better with each viewing. In a way, it's a morality play, weighing the consequences of good and evil, but it does so in a realistic manner. Sometimes, crime does pay, at least in the short term, and sometimes good does go unrewarded. This film probably signaled the death knell of the traditional John Wayne `White Hat/Black Hat' Western.
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly or the Good, the Better and the Best, as I prefer calling it, is a bizarrely sublime and a uniquely aesthetic masterpiece. The actors in title roles have given such extraordinarily superb performances, that it would be impertinent and disparaging to merely regard their swell work as acting. In fact their brilliant portrayals have immortalized Blondie, Sentenza/ Angel Eyes and the enigmatic Tuco. Lee Van Cleef is fiendishly unforgiving as the merciless Angel Eyes. Clint Eastwood is rugged yet suave, cocky yet adorable as laconic cigar-smoker Blondie, a role that laid the foundations of his illustrious career. But it is Eli Wallach, who steals the show with his captivating portrayal of Tuco, a portrayal that is as entrancing as it is enlightening. Wallach is amusing, capricious, nonchalant, uncanny and yet tenacious as Tuco, perturbed by his insecurities and dampened by his solitude. It is the tacit amicability between Blondie and Tuco and their mutual hostility towards the evil Angel Eyes owing to the vestiges of virtue present in them, redolent of their moribund morality, which gives the story, the impetus and the characters, a screen presence that is not only awe inspiring but also unparalleled.