The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (Il Buono, il Brutto, il cattivo) (1966)
Director: Sergio Leone
I had seen this film many years ago (about twelve I would say). All I could remember were Leone's signature close-ups, and the wonderful score from Ennio Morricone (wah, wah, waaaaah). My sudden desire to revisit this classic was sparked by my film course, as the short film we made nodded to the Western genre, and we all had this song in our head for the last week.
I am so glad I revisited this: it truly is wonderful. Watching it now with a critical eye, I can see just how good Leone's direction is, and how beautiful Tonino Delli Colli's cinematography is. The plot is simple, only working to provide a spot on the horizon that all our characters are heading towads. The changes in the dynamic of the central trio is where the fun is to be had. The three share several similarities: they are all determined, self-serving and resourceful. Eastwood, Van Cleef and Wallach give them distinctive characteristics, particularly Wallach, who is a great big ball of ugly energy. We don't really have a main character, though Blondie and Tuco feature more throughout the film.
The Western is a genre I have only sampled. I really enjoy the streak of wry humour that runs throughout this film; the more earnest Westerns from the 50s, though still very good, don't engage me as much. But hey, I've only dipped my toe into the genre, I may change my mind yet.