Blind Spot 08: Il Buono, Il Brutto, Il Cattivo (1966), dir. Sergio Leone

this post is part of the blind spot series, a feature first seen on The Matinee

Il Buono, Il Brutto, Il Cattivo (1966)

directed by Sergio Leone
starring Eli Wallach, Clint Eastwood and Lee Van Cleef

After an inspiring streak of three great, near perfect Blind Spots, we really hit a low. I won’t hesitate to call this one the worst blind spot watch of the year. So it’s probably time I remind everyone that my ratings are a reflection of my enjoyment of a film, and not necessarily of its quality (even though that is an endless discussion right there). While Sergio Leone’s Il Buono, Il Bruto, Il Cattivo (1966) may be number 9 in IMDB’s Top 250 Movies of All-Time, it’s not in mine, and that’s okay.

Are westerns the issue? Halfway through the film I took a break (needed many of those) to look at my letterboxd account and check if I had ever seen a western besides Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (which I thoroughly enjoyed) and 3:10 To Yuma (which I largely can’t remember). And for the most part, I’ve either seen modern westerns, or classic ones that are not really typical, at least when compared to this one. Some are even favourite movies of mine, though I wouldn’t put The Assassination of Jesse James by The Coward Robert Ford (2007), or even Hud (1963), next to The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (1966).

You see, in this world there’s two kinds of people, my friend: Those with loaded guns and those who dig. You dig.
— Blondie, in The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (1966)

There were some good moments though. Like the truel and the cemetery, and Tuco having a bath. A couple of jokes landed, too. The movie absolutely thrived in those scenes and I could feel myself wake up for a bit and know exactly why The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (1966) is so beloved.

But mostly it was just a whole lot of riding, staring, and smoking. And shooting. Sometimes all the same time. Of speaking slowly, but mostly saying nothing. I’m not opposed to slow movies with long running times (the above mentioned favourites prove just that), but this was painfully boring for most of its run.

Il Buono, Il Brutto, Il Cattivo (1966) GIF
Il Buono, Il Brutto, Il Cattivo (1966) GIF

When you have to shoot, shoot. Don’t talk.
Tuco, in Il Buono, Il Brutto, Il Cattivo (1966)

And I know I will get hell for this but the score also really tried my patience. Yes, Morricone composed some iconic tracks, and those were great (I mean, really great), but I can’t get over how annoying the sentimental ones were. Visually there was very little to hold on to as well. It’s purely a subjective matter, but ashy, desaturated colours, with little contrast and where everything is a shade of brown and sweat, really aren’t my aesthetic.

Best part of it was probably the acting: Wallach was pretty entertaining and funny (definitely the most energetic of the three), and Eastwood is effortlessly cool wearing a poncho. Van Cleef was aptly like a cheshire cat. But yes, this was not my cup of tea at all. Now, you know I like to keep things positive, but I’m also honest, and so I couldn’t write this post any differently. I don’t see myself revisiting this one in the next 30 years but I’m open to suggestions for good westerns. I’ve always wanted to see High Noon because I figured, besides Paul Newman, Gary Cooper is the man to make me enjoy any film – so hit me up in the comments with the ones you think I’ll like!

The Good The Bad and The Ugly (1966) Poster
Il Buono, Il Brutto, Il Cattivo (1966)

Rating: 2.5 Stars
Directed by Sergio Leone
Writen by Luciano Vincenzoni, Sergio Leone, Agenore Incrocci and Furio Scarpelli
Starring Eli Wallach, Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef
Running Time: 3h06min Genre: Western

Synopsis While the Civil War rages between the Union and the Confederacy, three men – a quiet loner, a ruthless hit man and a Mexican bandit – comb the American Southwest in search of a strongbox containing $200,000 in stolen gold.

IMDb | Movie Trailer
Watch with Amazon Prime Video | Buy on Amazon

Previous Blind Spot Entries:
A Place in The Sun (1951) | January
Love With The Proper Stranger (1963) | February
Letter From An Unknown Woman (1948) | March
La Notte (1961) | April
Metropolis (1927) | May
Paths of Glory (1957) | June
Le Mépris (1963) | July

Have you seen Il Buono, Il Brutto, Il Cattivo (1966)?
How was your own Blind Spot this month? Don’t forget to leave your links below!

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  1. August 28, 2018 / 6:32 PM

    I mean.. it can’t be worse than Brick was for me. 😀

    • August 28, 2018 / 6:34 PM

      I don’t know Getter, this is 3 hours long. Three. Hours.

      I guess we’ll know in December 😂

  2. August 28, 2018 / 10:26 PM

    This is one of my husband’s favorite movies and I hate it. I can’t make it through. Like you, I’m just not a fan of the genre. The 3:10 To Yuma remake is probably my favorite Western and I’m sure most Western fans would scoff at that.

    • August 28, 2018 / 10:38 PM

      As a fan of westerns and somewhat of a purist, there’s nothing wrong with your choice for 3:10 to Yuma. It is a damn good remake.

      Besides, the fact that Sofia watched the 3 hour version of The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly is still the definitive version considering that the film premiered in the U.S. and the rest of the world with 16 minutes of the film cut out which was later restored more than 30 years later though there had to be a new soundtrack and dubbing. Fortunately, Eastwood and Wallach were available to do a few re-dubs while another actor came into dub Van Cleef’s lines. For me, it’s the greatest western…. EVER!

    • August 29, 2018 / 1:08 PM

      I feel your pain Brittani 😂 and I remember enjoying 3:10 to Yuma, but then again, a modern take on the genre solves my biggest issues with old westerns, so I’m not surprised you like it, too.

    • August 29, 2018 / 1:12 PM

      @thevoid99 yes I read about the cut version and subsequent restoration of those scenes, pretty amazing. Again, the movie certainly has its brilliant moments but it ultimately comes down to personal taste and this just wasn’t it for me. But I’m glad you like it so much!

      I liked 3:10 to Yuma too, and I do enjoy other modern westerns like True Grit, so hopefully I’ll find some classics to like as well. Any suggestions are welcome!

  3. August 29, 2018 / 3:04 PM

    If you’re looking for a couple of good Westerns, I’d recommend Stagecoach (1939) and The Searchers (1956). I was never one for watching Westerns before, but these two films made me change my mind about the genre. Also, Shane (1953) is very, very good.

    • September 5, 2018 / 11:38 AM

      Thanks for the recommendations! I have heard of Shane before, I’ll be sure to check out those three

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