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Body Double (1984)



Director: Brian De Palma
Cast overview: Craig Wasson, Melanie Griffith
Running time: 114 minutes

De Palma is one of those love-hate directors from my experience, but he's one who I'm a fan of. I enjoyed Sisters, and enjoyed this slightly more. It's a terrific, slow-burning thriller about a claustrophobia B-movie actor named Jake Scully who ends up moving into this bizarre LA spaceship-shaped tower apartment. Bizarre, but then it is De Palma. There, an obsession with a woman who lives in the house down the hill ensues, and he seemingly becomes concerned for her safety when he sees someone else who may be doing the very same. I've not explained that very well, but hey...

The acting here is very good. Wasson, who seemed to star in very little else, is excellent, convincing as the weak-willed everyman he plays. Griffith, who was OK but nothing more in Pacific Heights, gives a great performance - though I've not seen Working Girl - as a porn actress, not the ditzy bimbo-type performance you'd expect. Gregg Henry adds the requisite touch of slime and duplicity to complete the cinematic jigsaw.

Pino Donaggio's music is fantastic - a tad repetitive at times, but it's certainly stirring when it does play - and the use of Frankie Goes to Hollywood's "Relax" adds a nice pop influence. There are several Hitchcockian influences that can be seen also - the film could be seen as a mesh of Vertigo and Rear Window, there are certainly elements of both. There's also some subtle humour that I thought worked well with the offbeat style.

Overall, not as good as the likes of Blood Simple, it's still a great film that I think will have rewatch value, not least to properly understand the latter part of the story which I admittedly found a tad confusing when watching for the first time. Still, probably one of the more overlooked films of the eighties, for me.



Quotes
Holly Body: I do not do animal acts. I do not do S&M or any variations of that particular bent, no water sports either. I will not shave my pussy, no fist****ing and absolutely no coming in my face. I get $2000 a day and I do not work without a contract.

Male Porno Star: I'm not just a stunt cock, I'm an ACTOR!

Sam Bouchard: Don't be so melodramatic.

Trivia
Bret Easton Ellis' book American Psycho (2000) references this film many times, it is one of the main character, Patrick Bateman's, favorite movies.

Deborah Shelton's voice is dubbed.

The set for the Frankie Goes to Hollywood sequence in "Body Double" was also used the following year for the nightclub scene in "Fright Night". Both films were released by Columbia Pictures.

Trailer



cricket's Avatar
Registered User
I look at Body Double as part of a De Palma trilogy to go along with Blow Out and Dressed to Kill. I've always been a big fan of all three but I think Body Double is probably my favorite.

I didn't care for Pulp Fiction on my first viewing-now it's a major favorite, but Reservoir Dogs is still my favorite Tarantino.



I look at Body Double as part of a De Palma trilogy to go along with Blow Out and Dressed to Kill. I've always been a big fan of all three but I think Body Double is probably my favorite.

I didn't care for Pulp Fiction on my first viewing-now it's a major favorite, but Reservoir Dogs is still my favorite Tarantino.
I'm watching Dressed to Kill at the moment. Review on the way.



Blow Out (1981)



Director: Brian De Palma
Cast overview: John Travolta, Nancy Allen
Running time: 107 minutes

As part of my recent De Palma-watching period, I checked out this highly rated 1981 thriller of his. It's a very good film, based on the likes of Blow-Up and The Conversation. This probably won't be a commonly held view, but I certainly think this is as good as the latter, though I've never seen the former. It stars John Travolta in an early role as Jack Terry, a film sound-effects man who hears and sees a car crash one evening - involving a US presidential candidate - when recording sounds for a low-budget slasher film. Sounds simple, except a web of intrigue opens wherein others with ulterior motives begin wanting the tape Terry has recorded which shows a gunshot prior to the crash, previously thought to be a tragic accident.

Nancy Allen is OK as Sally - her first couple of scenes were dreadful, but she grows well into the film and ends up being a reasonably decent character. John Lithgow steals the show, however, as a terrific villain, Burke, who really provides a menacing side to the film. Denniz Franz and others also star.

The plot is basic enough but is possessed of enough twists to stop it from being dull, and will probably surprise you at a few junctures. De Palma was clearly influenced by Hitchcock, and there are several Hitchcockian influences notable here, not least the overriding suspense that the director manages to sustain over the film's running time, culminating in a tense and unpredictable conclusion. His cinematography is very good also - the 360-degree pan when Travolta realises his tapes have been wiped was particularly effective.

Philadelphia is a cracking setting as well, with the city's grimy streets and street-lights giving a gritty backdrop to the thriller, and the final chase along the city's streets during the Liberty Parade is an entertaining moment of the film. Pino Donaggio's score is also a

This is a film packed with suspense, thrilling moments, and has a well-written story to back it up. One of the most underrated thrillers of the 1980s, certainly, and I actually think I've underrated it. I think I preferred Body Double as a film, but I suspect this is slightly better. Still, highly recommended.



Quotes
Jack Terry: I'm trying to save our asses!
Sally: I'll look after my *own* ass, thank you.

Jack Terry: Jesus, that's terrible.
Mixer: That's a terrible scream. Jack, what cat did you have to strangle to get that?
Jack Terry: The one you hired. That's her scream.
Mixer: You mean you didn't dub that?

Sally: Are yuh leavin'?
Jack Terry: Yeah, I gotta go, but, um, whatta yuh say when you get outta here, we have a drink sometime... hmmm - in a glass?

Trivia
Quentin Tarantino stated in an interview that this film is his favorite Brian De Palma movie. In fact, Tarantino cast John Travolta in Pulp Fiction (1994) because he liked his performance in this movie so much.

The use of a split-focus diopter lens is evident in several scenes, in particular the sound recording scene and the hospital scene. The split-focus lens is attached to the main lens, and it affects only the left or right portion of the main lens' view. This changes the focal distance of part of the image, allowing objects at two distances (in the foreground and background) to be in sharp focus.

John Travolta suffered from insomnia during the shoot. His lack of sleep helped him create a very moody performance and is why his character seems so downtrodden throughout the movie.

Trailer



A Fistful of Dollars (1964)



Director: Sergio Leone
Cast overview: Clint Eastwood, Gian Maria Volonte
Running time: 99 minutes

A Fistful of Dollars was the first of the now-iconic Spaghetti Western trilogy by Leone. And what a cinematic achievement it is for the time. Eastwood strides into film lore as confident as anyone before or since. His "The Man with No Name" character, known here simply as Joe, is one of the cinema's icons, predominantly remembered from the 1966 The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. This is perhaps as good, certainly not far off in terms of the end product.

Firstly, the cinematography is stunning. From the long shots of the barren desert landscapes to the close-ups of the grungy, sweaty faces coated with dust and dirt, it looks fabulous. The budget constraints and lack of resources are notable, in comparison with Leone's later films, but ironically those constraints actually show this to be even more of an achievement.

The acting isn't anything to write home about, but it doesn't need to be. Eastwood, ever the taciturn figure, delivers a performance that still manages to strike his character into film history without uttering a great deal of dialogue; Volonte and co provide villains that are fairly one-dimensional but still watchable. But these aren't serious flaws. They don't detract from what is a very accomplished nascent western from Leone.

Morricone's soundtrack is incredible; he would go on to create even better scores in For a Few Dollars More and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, but the one here is not far off the quality of those. A true great in the world of film composers.

This is a cracking opening to the aforementioned trilogy, and one that will forever be one of my favourite westerns. It's simple, well-made (even despite the budget issues), iconic, and has a wonderful Morricone score. Oh, and it has Clint Eastwood. What more could you want?



Quotes
Joe: When a man's got money in his pocket he begins to appreciate peace.

[Having said "get three coffins ready" earlier]
Joe: My mistake. Four coffins...

Joe: I don't think it's nice, you laughin'. You see, my mule don't like people laughing. He gets the crazy idea you're laughin' at him. Now if you apologize, like I know you're going to, I might convince him that you really didn't mean it.

Trivia
Clint Eastwood helped in creating his character's distinctive visual style. He bought the black jeans from a sport shop on Hollywood Boulevard, the hat came from a Santa Monica wardrobe firm and the trademark black cigars came from a Beverly Hills store. Eastwood himself cut the cigars into three pieces to make them shorter. Eastwood himself is a non-smoker.

Originally called "The Magnificent Stranger", the title wasn't changed to "A Fistful of Dollars" until almost three days before the movie premiered in theaters. In fact, nobody had bothered to inform its main star, Clint Eastwood, of the change, and as a result Eastwood remained virtually unaware of the positive buzz surrounding the movie until an agent pointed it out to him in a Variety Magazine article three weeks later.

After considering Henry Fonda, director Sergio Leone offered the role of the Man With No Name to James Coburn, who proved too expensive. Charles Bronson then turned it down after describing it as the "worst script I have ever seen". Third choice Richard Harrison also declined the role but pointed Leone in the direction of Rawhide (1959). Leone then offered the part to "Rawhide" star Eric Fleming, who turned it down but suggested his co-star Clint Eastwood for the part. The rest, as they say, is history.

Trailer



Blow Out is great but probably my least favorite between that, Blow-Up and The Conversation. I've been meaning to buy it and rewatch it though.



The Warriors (1979)



Director: Walter Hill
Cast overview: Michael Beck, James Remar
Running time: 92 minutes

I've been looking forward to this film for a while, and it's one I was planning to watch a while back but ended up sidetracked with other things. Set in New York City, it centres around a gang leader called Cyrus who is killed. The Warriors, the protagonist gang of the film, are framed, and they must make their way home to Coney Island. It's a simple enough premise, and one based on the story we are told at the beginning, relating to ancient Greece.

It's OK as a film, but not a lot more than that, for me. I can understand why some love it as it seems to be one of those films where you had to be there. It must have made a big enough impact on people when watching it back in the theatres and in the 1980s that it has stuck with them to this day as one of their film favourites. But, watching it thirty or more years on, it hasn't aged well. Firstly, it seems to be done in a tongue-in-cheek manner. I'm not sure if that's intentional - it probably is - but the gangs themselves are extremely camp and not particularly believable, the dialogue is naff, and I didn't feel anything for any of the characters.

Having said that, it is a very watchable film. It's not boring. It just feels camp and that's not the sort of film I typically enjoy. So maybe it's me rather than a problem with the film. But, hey, we can't like everything, and it would be counter-intuitive for me to give it a higher ranking than the one I think is reasonable based on how much I enjoyed it.



Quotes
Ajax: I'll shove that bat up your ass and turn you into a popsicle.

Cyrus: Can you dig it?

Luther: Warriors, come out to play-i-ay.

Trivia
In the script, Fox was originally the love interest of Mercy, but the two actors had no chemistry and the Mercy romance was transferred to Swan. Waites was fired eight weeks into principal photography, for being difficult and arguing with Walter Hill (director); his character was removed from the movie when a cop threw him into the path of a train during a fight. To this day, Hill felt bad about the rough times he has with Waites. Waites is not in the final credits because he didn't finish the movie.

Swan was to be abducted by a homosexual and sadomasochistic gang who had doberman pinschers. He was scripted to escape and lead The Warriors home.

In one take, Michael Beck (Swan) swings a bat into Deborah's face (in the scene where he throws it at the cop). She was rushed to hospital at 3am for stitches and still has a scar.

Trailer



cricket's Avatar
Registered User
Agree with you on A Fistful of Dollars and Blow Out, which I also think is better than The Conversation. I've never thought of The Warriors as campy, but you're not the only one to say that recently.



Even though I've been reading and repping along the way, I haven't taken the time to personally comment on some of the recent films you've reviewed, so here goes:

I found the The Conversation a little dull, but I still prefer it to Blow Out. (Blow-Up is the best of the bunch, although Antonioni's unique approach might take some getting used to if you've never watched any of his work before.) You seem to be watching a lot of De Palma lately, and I know he has his fair share of fans on this forum, but I'm not one of them. Granted, I've yet to see a lot of his work, but I've been less than impressed with what I have seen. People criticize Tarantino for liberally borrowing from previous films and directors, but I feel like he borrows from such a wide range of films and genres and successfully re-molds it into his own product that I don't look down on him for "stealing." (Not to mention he always stamps each film with his trademark dialogue that I love so much.) De Palma, on the other hand, seems to do nothing but ape Hitchcock in every film. Why read someone imitate Hemingway, for example, when you can just read the original? Maybe if De Palma wore more than one influence on his sleeve, I'd be a little more forgiving.

And speaking of blatant rip-offs, Leone trying to pass off a remake of Yojimbo as an original film has lessened my enjoyment of A Fistful of Dollars. Watch Yojimbo and you'll be stunned by the similarity. Basically the only difference between the two films is one features a samurai and the other a gunslinger. However, I still love Leone's Man With No Name Trilogy. I'm in the minority that thinks For a Few Dollars More is the best of the three.

I gave The Warriors the same rating and basically shared your exact thoughts.

If you give The Avengers a
, then the really crappy superhero films, like The Fantastic Four and X-Men Origins: Wolverine, must get negative ratings. Some of my friends are into comic books and superhero films, so they dragged me to see The Avengers on opening weekend. I guess some of their enthusiasm rubbed off on me, since I had a great time in the theater. When I re-watched it later on DVD, I didn't like the film nowhere near as much. However, I still think it's better than the overwhelming majority of superhero films, despite lagging in the middle and having no true villain. I prefer it to The Dark Knight Rises, for example, which I think is far more bloated and takes itself too seriously.

It disappoints me that you gave Pulp Fiction only
. It's my favorite film of all time. Hopefully now that you know what to expect from it you'll enjoy it more on a re-watch. For me, it's the ultimate hang-out film, which is why I've re-watched it more times than any other film. Just sit back and enjoy eavesdropping on all the interesting conversations, from Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson talking about the sanctity of foot massages to Bruce Willis and his girlfriend pondering blueberry pancakes. I think it's the greatest script every written in terms of dialogue.

I also think you'd enjoy Drive more on a re-watch, since it sounds like you were expecting a different kind of film. You mention the lack of driving, and you're not the first person to do so, but that comment always baffles me every time I hear it. I guess if you're referring to typical Fast and the Furious-style car chases, then yeah, the film is lacking in that area (thank God). But the car is basically an extension of Gosling's "good shark" character. We watch the tense, yet subtle, car chase at the beginning, then later a more typical chase after the incident at the pawn shop; and every time we see Gosling, he's either working on a car at the auto shop, taking Mulligan and her kid for a ride, going on a date by riding around the city at night; when we see him in his apartment, he's tinkering with car parts; at the end, he uses the car as a weapon. In some ways, he isn't that different from Eastwood's quiet, mysterious gunslinger, except Gosling uses a car in place of a horse and a six-shooter, and he exists inside a neon-lit neo-noir rather than the dusty, cactus-ridden, wide-open western.

Anyways, keep the reviews coming. I enjoy reading them, even if I don't always agree with your assessments.
__________________



Even though I've been reading and repping along the way, I haven't taken the time to personally comment on some of the recent films you've reviewed, so here goes:

I found the The Conversation a little dull, but I still prefer it to Blow Out. (Blow-Up is the best of the bunch, although Antonioni's unique approach might take some getting used to if you've never watched any of his work before.) You seem to be watching a lot of De Palma lately, and I know he has his fair share of fans on this forum, but I'm not one of them. Granted, I've yet to see a lot of his work, but I've been less than impressed with what I have seen. People criticize Tarantino for liberally borrowing from previous films and directors, but I feel like he borrows from such a wide range of films and genres and successfully re-molds it into his own product that I don't look down on him for "stealing." (Not to mention he always stamps each film with his trademark dialogue that I love so much.) De Palma, on the other hand, seems to do nothing but ape Hitchcock in every film. Why read someone imitate Hemingway, for example, when you can just read the original? Maybe if De Palma wore more than one influence on his sleeve, I'd be a little more forgiving.

And speaking of blatant rip-offs, Leone trying to pass off a remake of Yojimbo as an original film has lessened my enjoyment of A Fistful of Dollars. Watch Yojimbo and you'll be stunned by the similarity. Basically the only difference between the two films is one features a samurai and the other a gunslinger. However, I still love Leone's Man With No Name Trilogy. I'm in the minority that thinks For a Few Dollars More is the best of the three.

I gave The Warriors the same rating and basically shared your exact thoughts.

If you give The Avengers a
, then the really crappy superhero films, like The Fantastic Four and X-Men Origins: Wolverine, must get negative ratings. Some of my friends are into comic books and superhero films, so they dragged me to see The Avengers on opening weekend. I guess some of their enthusiasm rubbed off on me, since I had a great time in the theater. When I re-watched it later on DVD, I didn't like the film nowhere near as much. However, I still think it's better than the overwhelming majority of superhero films, despite lagging in the middle and having no true villain. I prefer it to The Dark Knight Rises, for example, which I think is far more bloated and takes itself too seriously.

It disappoints me that you gave Pulp Fiction only
. It's my favorite film of all time. Hopefully now that you know what to expect from it you'll enjoy it more on a re-watch. For me, it's the ultimate hang-out film, which is why I've re-watched it more times than any other film. Just sit back and enjoy eavesdropping on all the interesting conversations, from Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson talking about the sanctity of foot massages to Bruce Willis and his girlfriend pondering blueberry pancakes. I think it's the greatest script every written in terms of dialogue.

I also think you'd enjoy Drive more on a re-watch, since it sounds like you were expecting a different kind of film. You mention the lack of driving, and you're not the first person to do so, but that comment always baffles me every time I hear it. I guess if you're referring to typical Fast and the Furious-style car chases, then yeah, the film is lacking in that area (thank God). But the car is basically an extension of Gosling's "good shark" character. We watch the tense, yet subtle, car chase at the beginning, then later a more typical chase after the incident at the pawn shop; and every time we see Gosling, he's either working on a car at the auto shop, taking Mulligan and her kid for a ride, going on a date by riding around the city at night; when we see him in his apartment, he's tinkering with car parts; at the end, he uses the car as a weapon. In some ways, he isn't that different from Eastwood's quiet, mysterious gunslinger, except Gosling uses a car in place of a horse and a six-shooter, and he exists inside a neon-lit neo-noir rather than the dusty, cactus-ridden, wide-open western.

Anyways, keep the reviews coming. I enjoy reading them, even if I don't always agree with your assessments.
Thanks very much for your excellent post. I agree with some of your sentiments, and perhaps I'm sometimes too quick to denounce a film I don't like to the extreme and give it one or two out of ten when usually films aren't that bad; maybe I should sleep on a film before rating and reviewing it.

But thanks a lot for your post, it's good to see some are still enjoying my reviews.

Anyone got any requests for reviews they want to see / recommendations for films I'd probably like?



The thing isolated becomes incomprehensible
Amazing list you have! I agree with a lot of thing, with others not so much! It's bad for someone to watch Django as the first Tarantino film (in my opinion is actually the worst he ever made). You should give Pulp another shot and you should definitely watch Reservoir Dogs and Inglorious Basterds!
Apart from that there's a lot of amazing reviews there! (I still have to try Jaws again, I hated it the first time I watched it!)



The Changeling (1980)



Director: Peter Medak
Cast overview: George C. Scott, Trish Van Devere
Running time: 107 minutes

George C. Scott was a terrific actor; that was one of the first thoughts I had when watching this. He gives a powerful but grounded and realistic performance as a man whose world has been torn apart after the tragic roadside death of his wife and child. He is part of the reason why I enjoyed the film, particularly in the first half, and I found some parallels with Lee J. Cobb's character in The Exorcist - perhaps more to do with age and appearance than anything else.

The film itself centres around the aforementioned character - composer John Russell - who moves to a haunted mansion in Washington state after the death of his wife and child. There, he encounters strange goings-on - foreboding, persistent bangs; groans; balls rolling down flights of stairs. All of it is tried-and-tested horror fare, but it all adds up to an effective concoction - even if it's not altogether scary, it comes close. The cinematography and direction was, I felt, very competent - even very good in some instances. Medak doesn't appear to be a well-known director, but he did a good job here. The music is effective as well, with a simple piano composition forming much of the score.

The only real flaw I can find with the film is the plot. The first half of the film is excellent, and then the convoluted political aspect to the plot comes in and weakens the film somewhat. Perhaps it's one of those that requires a couple of watches - many do - to fully appreciate and understand. It seemed slightly unnecessary but maybe that's just a nitpicking of mine.

Overall, though, this is a good horror film that is perhaps a couple of notches short of being a great. Scott's performance is excellent, and there are some solid supporting performances to complement his. The music, direction and cinematography are all well done, but the plot itself is perhaps the film's undoing. But it's a minor issue and not something that really takes away from the overall enjoyment.



Quotes
John Russell: [to Senator Carmichael] You're the beneficiary of the cruelest kind of murder... murder for profit!

John Russell: It's my understanding... that there are, uh... twenty-three students registered... for this series of lectures on advanced musical form. Now, we all know it's not raining outside, and unless there's a fire in some other part of the building that we don't know about, there's an awful lot of people here with nothing better to do.

Minnie Huxley: That house is not fit to live in. No one's been able to live in it. It doesn't want people.

Trivia
Director Martin Scorsese included this movie on his Top 11 Scariest Horror Films of all time list.

The house seen in the movie in real life doesn't and never actually did exist. The film-makers could not find a suitable mansion to use for the film so at a cost of around $200,000, the production had a Victorian gothic mansion facade attached to the front of a much more modern dwelling in a Vancouver street. This construction was used for the filming of all the exteriors of the movie's Carmichael Mansion. The interiors of the haunted house were an elaborate group of interconnecting sets built inside a film studio in Vancouver.

Spanish filmmaker Alejandro Amenábar has claimed in several interviews that this is one of his all-time favorite Horror movies, up to the point of inspiring several scenes of Tesis (1996) and The Others (2001).

Trailer



Harakiri (1962)



Director: Masaki Kobayashi
Cast overview: Tatsuya Nakadai, Akiri Ishihama
Running time: 133 minutes

This is a challenging film, I don't doubt that, and it was made perhaps even more challenging for me as it's the first Japanese film I've watched, and probably one of the first foreign films I've seen given that the majority of my viewing over my lifetime has been mostly British and US film. This is a stark and radical departure from those sorts of films.

It centres around a samurai who arrives a feudal lord's home and asks for a place to commit suicide - the word harakiri, I believe, refers to the act of suicide. Now, I'd be lying if I said I enjoyed this film, because I didn't much. I found it very difficult to watch, again probably an effect of my lack of experience of this sort of cinema. It seems to be a completely different style of film-making to what we in the west are used to.

Now the film is certainly well-made - I loved the black-and-white cinematography and I thought the music was very good. It's a nice-looking film and it's done well. But there was very little I gained from it. Maybe that wasn't the point of it. A problem I also found was that, despite the subtitles, most of the actors barely move their lips when speaking, so I often found it difficult to tell who was speaking. Perhaps that was an issue with the copy of the film I watched, but I don't think it was, as I've seen a couple of others report similar issues.

Perhaps the main problem was that I found it dull. That may well be a problem with me, or more a problem that stems from my notable lack of exposure to films such as this, but I can't help it if I found something dull, and unfortunately that was - aside from a couple of exceptions, notably the opening - the experience I had. It seems very highly regarded by most film-watchers but it just wasn't for me. I'll perhaps come back to it one day when I've explored some other foreign cinema that may be more to my liking.



Quotes
Hanshiro Tsugumo: Swordsmanship untested in battle is like the art of swimming mastered on land.

Hanshiro Tsugumo: The suspicious mind conjures its own demons.

Hanshiro Tsugumo: What befalls others today, may be your own fate tomorrow.

Trivia
While filming, Tatsuya Nakadai was afraid during most of the sword and spear fighting scenes because real swords were being used, a practice now forbidden in Japanese films. His concern was not alleviated even though professional swordsmen were employed during the choreographed swordplay.

Stage-trained actor Tatsuya Nakadai and older film actor Rentarô Mikuni could not agree on an acceptable speaking voice while sharing the film stage. Nakadai spoke loudly and Mikuni spoke softly each citing their related acting experiences for their choice. They strongly disagreed with each other. The director, Masaki Kobayashi, halted filming and stated that he would not resume until both the actors came to an agreement. They did; stopping the shooting for three days!

Seppuku and harakiri (the US working title) both mean to commit ritual suicide in Japanese. However, seppuku is the formal term, derived from the kanji characters for "hara" (belly) and "kiri" (cut); harakiri is the cruder, less polite term for this act.

Trailer



I haven't seen either film, but both have been on my watch list for awhile.

Next time you want to venture into Japanese cinema, give Kurosawa a try.



The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)



Director: Sergio Leone
Cast overview: Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach
Running time: 161 minutes

Sergio Leone's finale to the Spaghetti Western trilogy is perhaps the greatest, and certainly the grandest, of the three. It's certainly the one with the most well-woven plot, in my view, starring as it does Eastwood and Wallach as two men who are joined together in a bounty-hunting scam to find gold buried in a cemetery, pitted against Lee Van Cleef's excellent Sentenza / Angel Eyes character. It's a wonderfully sprawling western, far removed from some of the more unoriginal, uninspired efforts that one may think of when they think of the western genre.

Morricone's score is the best he ever composed - it's ridiculous how damn good it is, frankly. The climactic gunfight at the end of the film would have been a cracking scene regardless, but it's one of the most iconic in cinema thanks to Morricone's terrific, pounding and melodic score. His soundtracks for the previous two in the trilogy were great; here he excels even his usual high standards. Wonderful.

The film is long, yes, but it doesn't at all feel like its almost-three-hour running time, with each scene flowing perfectly and smoothly into the next, and the characters being developed on so appropriately that you actually feel like you're there with them, riding through the barren landscapes and deserts. Part of the intimacy is created by the terrific direction and cinematography, not to mention the evocative locations.

All three main actors are brilliant, though I think Van Cleef steals the show. His character is cold-hearted, sinister, yet also has a silent charm. Eli Wallach is great as Tuco, injecting the film with both humour and personality. And Eastwood, as our "hero", so to speak, does what he does best - he was the king of cool in this film, no doubt.

Overall, this is a fantastic film, one of the best ever, almost certainly the best western ever, and a film that covers the gamut of emotion and feeling, from sadness and pain to wit, and from that to violence and evil. There are no black-and-white characters - you're not sure whether to feel on the side of one character or against another, but one thing you are sure of is that this is a well-made, engrossing film.



Quotes
Blondie: You see, in this world there's two kinds of people, my friend: Those with loaded guns and those who dig. You dig.

[Tuco is in a bubble bath. The One Armed Man enters the room]
One Armed Man: I've been looking for you for 8 months. Whenever I should have had a gun in my right hand, I thought of you. Now I find you in exactly the position that suits me. I had lots of time to learn to shoot with my left.
[Tuco kills him with the gun he has hidden in the foam]
Tuco: When you have to shoot, shoot. Don't talk.

[to Tuco]
Blondie: Tut, tut. Such ingratitude after all the times I saved your life.

Trivia
In addition to the train scene, Eli Wallach cheated death in the first scene where Blondie shoots him down from a hanging. The gunshot scared the horse, which took off running at full speed for nearly a mile. Wallach's hands were tied behind his back, and he had to hang for dear life with his knees.

In the gun store, everything Eli Wallach does with the guns is completely unscripted. Eli knew little about the guns, so he was instructed to do whatever he wanted.

Clint Eastwood wore the same poncho through all three "Man with No Name" movies without replacement or cleaning.

Trailer



Thanks for the review. All-time classic, all-time personal favorite. And especially impressive because it was a film I saw and loved even after I started to pay more attention to classic films; it wasn't part of that initial "eye-opening" phase. And while I'd heard before that so many of Tarantino's films were homages to spaghetti westerns and the like, this is the film that really pulled all that together for me.

Great, great movie.



Thanks for the review. All-time classic, all-time personal favorite. And especially impressive because it was a film I saw and loved even after I started to pay more attention to classic films; it wasn't part of that initial "eye-opening" phase. And while I'd heard before that so many of Tarantino's films were homages to spaghetti westerns and the like, this is the film that really pulled all that together for me.

Great, great movie.
Yoda, have you ever done a 100 list or is that not your kind of thing?
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