You can go a long way, as many a member of the English aristocracy will happily attest, with a good title. And with The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (II Buono, II Brutto, II Cattivo) Sergio Leone certainly found one for the concluding film in his Dollars trilogy. Undoubtedly, it's hard to imagine the film having had quite the same impact with its original working title, The Two Magnificent Tramps, although, in fairness, posterity would have been spared some quite gruesome wordplay (raise a glass, if you must, to George Best's autobiography, The Good, The Bad And The Bubbly). More than this, however, it's a title with a pleasing irony and one which encapsulates the dark nihilism which made the film so unpopular with many US critics.
For despite the superficial demarcation between The Good, Blondie (Eastwood), The Bad, Angel Eyes (Van Cleef) and The Ugly, Tuco (Wallach), it's clear from their opening freeze-frame introductions that these men are united by their greed and virtually shorn of any humanity. As if to emphasise the point, the original US trailer even confused Van Cleef as the Ugly and Wallach as the Bad. Futhermore, by setting his story of three renegades all searching for buried gold against the backdrop of the US Civil War, Leone makes a mockery of any conception of good and evil.
A war which in one day alone saw more Americans killed than in the entire Vietnam conflict negates any notion of humanity in Leone's eyes. As well as pointing out the lack of moral distinction between his three main characters, he goes to great lengths to show both North and South as equally reprehensible in a pointless war. When Tuco salutes a column of grey soldiers whom he believes to be Confederates only to see them brush off the dust and reveal themselves as Yankees, the implication that there is nothing to choose between the two sides is abundantly clear.
Similarly, Leone took pains to ensure that the camp in which Tuco and Blondie are subsequently imprisoned and tortured is run by the victorious Union side.
The Betterville camp, where a group of musicians are forced to play to mask the screams of torture victims, has obvious parallels with Nazi concentration camps, but it was inspired by the notorious — and very American — Andersonville prisoner-of-war camp. Run by the Confederates in Georgia, this camp was witness to slaughter, starvation and even cannibalism, a dark secret of a bitter civil war. Leone's decision to make Betterville a Union-run establishment — to emphasise his distrust of the winner's view of history — managed to penetrate deeply into the nasal passages of most US critics. The irony that this extremely violent condemnation of war was shot largely in Spain, and therefore with the cooperation of General Franco, only muddies the moral waters further.
If the moral issues tackled by Leone placed him firmly in the tradition of John Ford, the production disasters which befell the film evoked the spirit of Mack Sennett. Eli Wallach later claimed he narrowly avoided decapitation in the scene where a train severs his handcuffs, and almost drank acid handily left in a water bottle. The key action scene of the film — the blowing-up of the 200 yard long Langstone bridge in the
middle of a Civil War battle sequence — was a calamity masterclass. A Spanish army captain, given the honour of detonating the charge, misheard the word "Vaya" (meaning "go") and blew it up before any of the three cameras were in position.
He coaxed a superb performance out of Eli Wallach, who eclipsed Eastwood (as the star had feared he would) and was blessed with one of the most memorable soundtracks of all time, penned by his old schoolfriend, Ennio Morricone. The distinctive riff — Morricone's attempt to replicate the cry of a coyote — was covered by Hugh Montenegro and reached Number 1 in the UK. The film also contributed to another hit tune when Big Audio Dynamite sampled the reading of Tuco's charge sheet for Medicine Show. Leone's reputation in the States was enhanced by the film's box office success, and the title found its way into the popular lexicon thanks largely to Bobby Kennedy, who first used the phrase in a campaign speech.
Nevertheless, The Man With No Name fell out with his director shortly afterwards and Eastwood never worked with Leone again. Aptly enough, after their final collaboration, the source of their dispute was a simple one: money.
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Out of the chaotic shoot, however, Leone fashioned a worthy conclusion to his trilogy, even though the effort left him dejected and temporarily ended his infatuation with the western.
Good and Bad People
By: Leah Hammer
Ever since we were in elementary school our parents have told us to “be good” at school and to not get into any trouble. We took their advice and when someone was doing something bad you either told on them or told them it wasn’t nice. As you get older, you begin to “change,” often forgetting your parents’ advice about “being good.” We live in a society in which daily we are exposed to drinking and people using drugs illegally.
Good people do have some similarities to bad people. First off, we’re all people that make mistakes in life. Good people aren’t perfect, which everyone may think they are, but they do not let this define the rest of their lives.
The definition of a good person is “someone who thinks of others before themselves,” and “shows kindness to one another.” Making good choices in life can lead you to the path of becoming a good, moral person. However, good people do not get all the attention that their counterparts get. In today’s world this often discourages those who are trying to do what’s right and not wrong. It’s like the world has forgotten the good and only chooses to see, publicize, and promote the “Bad.” If ones truly desires to be a “good” person, then he or she is doing something because it is the right choice not the popular one.
We are capable of both good and evil, especially in today’s society where everywhere you look evil things are being presented to us as the “new normal.” No longer are things that were once considered evil/bad in our parents’ and grandparents’ day seen as something one should avoid, but rather are presented to teens as something that is normal, even expected of you, and will complete your life. We were not born as either a bad or good person, but the choices we make in life provide us with either a bad or good name.
When I was a freshman, I saw this boy who was getting bullied by this other boy. I knew this boy that was getting bullied didn’t have much at all. I felt sorry for him, but I knew that everyone picked on him and made fun of him. Going through my mind I didn’t know whether to laugh or to stand up for this boy, because knowing that if I stood up for him, everyone would make fun of me.
At that point the other boy threatened to throw the boy in the trash can, I couldn’t take any more so I got up and told the boy to just throw me in the trash can instead of him. I knew I did what was right because I didn’t get thrown in the trash can but knowing that I stood up for a person made me feel good about myself and I knew that God wanted me to be the “good” person.
Fitting in “with the crowd” is usually what bad people tend to do. In high school you are faced with alcohol, drugs, parties, and a lot of peer pressure from your friends. Your friends change and they will get you to do things that you don’t want to do. Being the person that says “No” makes you the better person.
A bad person is “one that wants to rebel against something or someone thinking only of himself and not caring about the consequences of his actions on those around him.” All one has to do is turn on the television or listen to the radio to hear how actions of those who are selfish, uncaring, and rebellious are affecting the lives of those around us and the entire world.
Many people don’t consider there selves’ bad people because their habits become natural to them. My uncle use to be a really wild person. He had started doing drugs, which made him act very different. He would sleep for hours a day and he wouldn’t care what anyone thought. As a family it broke our hearts to see the bad things he was doing. He loved his family and friends, but drugs had overtaken his life. He wasn’t a bad person but he set himself out to get that name. He had lost his job, his truck, and his house had caught fire. What a horrible time for our family.
Five years later, he has been to AA meetings and got himself off drugs; he has been baptized and is now going to church regularly. He has got a job, a truck, and has his life back on track. I believe that bad people can become good people if they just set their minds to it. He regrets what he had done in the past, but moving forward in life has made him a very good person.
Some people don’t know what they want to be in life either a “good” or “bad” person. When you watch television most of the “hot topics” are about evil things, and very little is it about people in the world doing good things for others. Bad people crave attention and I think since everyone publicizes it, it makes people’s desire for recognition stronger than wanting to do well.
You choose the road you want to take; either it’s the “bad road” or the “good road.” We are all born to live a life where we will be faced with good, bad, and evil things. You weren’t born to be a “bad” person, but you make that decision as you get older, especially when your friends are pressuring you into doing something. You become one person at the end of your life, and you have one title to your name and that’s either you’re a good person or a bad. Choose good over bad, because the rewards to yourself, your family, and your friends will far outweigh any so called life for the moment event.
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