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The Good, The Bad and The Ugly is my all time favorite movie. For some reason I am very atracted to Sergio Leone’s western fantasy. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen it on DVD or TV. What I lacked, until a couple of days ago, was the experience of seeing it in it’s full glory in a movie theater. This was fixed last Wednesday when the local student movie club, Elokuvakerho X, finished the Fall’s movies in the company of Blondie, Tuco and Angel-Eyes. Each time I’ve seen the movie I’ve payed attention to different things, this time I mostly looked at how this great movie is built and mostly three aspects of that: Firstly the way excitement is built up and then suddenly erupts into action, second a sort of duality in the characters and dialogue, and finally the allusions towards Christianity.

The first scene already shows how Leone builds tension. The scene begins with the face of a bounty hunter. Then we see two bounty hunters facing him some distance away. The three men are walking towards an abandoned building. From close-ups of the mens’ faces we can tell they are very tense. Then for what seems a very long time the camera shoots the men nearing the building, one from the left and two from the right. There is no music, only sounds of the environment: Like the wind blowing or a horse moving. The tension just keeps building up, the men finally reach the building and after getting their weapons ready, rush in. Gunshots follow and the man the three bounty hunters were chasing, The Ugly or Tuco, jumps out of the window. A buildup and then a violent outbreak of tension. Tarantino’s films work much in the same way as is evident from Inglourious Basterds, where the beginning scene is very similar to The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. But instead of silence Tarantino uses dialogue.

Hanging

Then on to the duality. A lot of the dialogue in the film uses the phrase “In this world there are two kinds of men…” What follows can be, for example: “those with loaded guns, and those who dig”. Similar phrases are used so often in the film that one can’t help but notice and wonder how it affects the story. When you look at the plot of this movie you realize that in the center are two men: Tuco and Blondie. Almost the entire movie revolves around these two, who contrast each other extremely well. Blondie is a quiet wall, speaking only rarely, while Tuco talks almost constantly and shows his feelings very openly. The relationship of these two kinds of men develops in very interesting directions in the movie and it’s rather open to discussion how one might analyze their relationship.

One way of looking at it is a religious approach. Tuco is very straightforwardly compared to Jesus in the movie. At a scene in the missionary Tuco stands next to a painting of Jesus very noticeably. Blondie is also compared to a golden haired guardian angel and Tuco compares him to Judas frequently. The way blondie saves from hanging by shooting the rope could be interpreted as a symbolic death. Especially the ending where Tuco stands precariously atop a cross marking a grave is rich with symbolic meaning. I won’t be so brave as to draw any conclusions, I was just wondering about these aspects while watching the movie. Comment is free: Draw, aim and fire.

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