Golden Oldies On the Big Screen Golden Oldies On the Big Screen




For, Friday, March 11, 2016

 “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” (1966) is 50 years old but doesn’t look it, a sweeping three-hour Civil War adventure with Clint Eastwood reprising his Man With No Name role from “A Fistful of Dollars” and “For a Few Dollars More,” with stylish, operatic direction by Sergio Leone and a memorable Ennio Morricone musical score.


Eastwood is a bounty hunter, dubbed “Blondie” by his partner-in-crime Tuco (Eli Wallach in a memorable wild-eyed riff on his “Magnficent Seven” character), as they travel from town to town pulling an elaborate scam. Blondie turns Tuco into the sheriff, collects a bounty and then rescues Tuco so they can move on to the next town.



     A bridge blows up in 'The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.'


But their uneasy relationship falls apart when they have a falling out. Soon, however, they will to partner up again when each one learns something about the location of a stolen $200,000. What they don’t know, however, is that a mercenary named Angel Eyes (Lee Van Cleef) is also looking for the money, and eventually all three will collide.


Meanwhile, the North-and-South battles interfere with their plans as the trio suffers from infighting, and as they repeatedly double-cross each other while the war rages around them.


The dialogue is filled with quips, the performances are engaging and Leone’s direction is first rate in this blockbuster, which outperformed the earlier two films and helped Eastwood’s climb to superstar status (solidified a few years later by “Dirty Harry”).


But a film of this scope loses something on television, and I don’t care how big your

home-theater screen is.



Clint Eastwood is surprised by a gun to his head in this 1966 lobby card for The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.'


So here’s your opportunity to see “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” at a Cinemark movie theater near you, on Sunday, March 13, at 2 p.m., and then again on Wednesday, March 16, at 2 and 7 p.m.


TRIVIA NOTE: An interesting aspect of “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” is that in 1966 the rating system was still two years away, so like all films of the era it went into release with no rating. A couple of years later, before a planned theatrical re-release, the film was submitted for a rating and received an M, which was the rating between G and R at the time. M was essentially the earliest version of the PG rating, lasting from the ratings’ inception in late 1968 through the end of 1969.




It's difficult to see but in the lower center of this poster — for a double-feature re-release of these two films — there is a box with an 'M' above it, meaning both movies are rated M, the rating that would evolve the next year into PG.


Years later as “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” was being prepped for its first home-video release, the studio, feeling no one would know what the M rating meant anymore, submitted the film to be re-rated, expecting a PG-13,. Imagine their surprise when the film instead came back with an R, which is the rating it carries today.