Articles

Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - July, 2010

ARTICLE INDEX

"The Man With No Name Trilogy – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Chris Eberle

movie-july-2010-mwnn

Synopsis

With the Civil War as a backdrop, The Man With No Name (Eastwood) returns as a con man working a scam with a nutty bandit named Tuco (Wallach).  Together they collect the rewards on Tuco then the Man frees him as he’s being hung by shooting the rope and escaping with the cash.  When the Man decides to end the partnership, Tuco doesn’t take kindly.  He forces the Man to walk out into the desert with the intent of leaving him there.  Just as he is near death, Tuco learns of a fortune in gold buried in a distant cemetery.  Unfortunately for him, only the Man knows which grave to look in so his life is spared.  In the meantime Angel Eyes (Van Cleef), a ruthless mercenary is also after the loot.  The Man manages to play Angel and Tuco against each other as they close in on the prize.  The final standoff is a classic and fitting end to the Man With No Name Trilogy.

 

Specifications

  • MGM
  • 1966, Color, Rated R, 2 Hr 59 min
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Codec: AVC
  • Starring: Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, Eli Wallach
  • Directed by Sergio Leone
    Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Yes
  • Sex: No
  • Language: Mild

Commentary

For me, this was the least enjoyable of the three films.  There are action scenes but they’re separated by long scenes of dialog or distant shots of men riding through the desert.  If the movie had been two hours instead of three, the pace would undoubtedly be better.  Sergio Leone’s masterful direction is still evident; the story just didn’t move very well.  It certainly started out with promise as we see a sequence with no dialog whatsoever.  For over 10 minutes all we see are eyes, boots and scared faces.  It’s quite riveting.  The final standoff sequence is equally tense.  I was on the edge of my seat for the last 15 minutes.  Unfortunately most of the material in between was a bit of a snoozer.  I also found the Civil War depictions to be distracting.  The story could have been told without enormous battle scenes or seeing long lines of wounded soldiers and refugees filing out of razed towns.  Still, for fans of the spaghetti western, this is a must-add to the library.

Technical

Picture quality is excellent and like For A Few More Dollars More is one of the best restorations I’ve ever seen.  Contrast is very deep with consistent black levels and bright detailed highlights.  Color is very natural and nicely saturated.  I didn’t see any edge enhancement this time but some dirt and stains were evident.  It wasn’t enough to distract.  Grain was also very minimal.  In fact it was far less present than the other two transfers.  This is certainly the best-looking 44-year-old film one could ask for.

Audio was no different than the previous movies.  The original monaural mix has been converted to 5.1 with decent panning effects.  Dialog is clear but flat as it was entirely recorded on a sound stage.  Only Clint Eastwood and Lee Van Cleef seem able to sync their lines with the image.  Every other actor is obviously speaking English but the sound and lip movements are never aligned.  Often, they’re delivering different lines entirely.  Gunshots and explosions were a little better with sparing use of the subwoofer.  Overall though, it’s very vintage.  Still, I doubt it could sound any better given what the engineers had to work with.

Extras

Bonus features are plentiful once again.  There are two overviews of Sergio Leone’s work and approach to directing and a historical featurette about the Civil War battles depicted in the movie.  You can turn on two different commentary tracks by film historians Christopher Frayling and Richard Schickel. Finally, there is a documentary about the restoration process which as it turns out was done almost completely by hand.