(1966) dir. Sergio Leone
viewed: 07/07/03 at Castro Theater, SF, CA
I was on vacation for a while and had hopes of catching up on my little diary entries. Now, much later, I am afraid that I am not going to do these films the sort of justice that I would have, having come right off from seeing them.
This movie totally kicks ass! When the film ended, all of us in our party came out feeling like shouting “Fuck Yeah!” or something, so totally satisfying and exciting it was to see it on the big screen. I have to say that despite the fact that it seems like such a mainstream sort of choice to say this about, but I would definitely classify this film among perhaps my all-time top 10 favorite films.
Eli Wallach is utterly fantastic, carrying the whole film on his grizzly, comic anti-hero’s back. From the iconic music, to the campy inter-titles that announce the characters, to the climactic shoot-out in the amphitheater-like graveyard, this movie is hands-down awesome.
The film’s epic, picaresque narrative is set against a truly sweeping scope of a backdrop, the fallout and leftover doom from the end of the American Civil War, with maimed, lost soldiers wandering everywhere. It was only on reading about this film, just briefly before going to see it, that I realized that in essence it is a prequel to the other two films, most notably as when Clint Eastwood picks up the poncho near the end of the film that he so iconically wore in the first two. I think I had also been somewhat confused as the fact that Lee Van Cleef plays an altogether different character in this one, too. I think the first time I saw these, I didn’t see them nearly so close together as this time, having seen them all in a couple of nights.
I can’t say enough about it…but I have, so I will stop.