Plot: What’s it about?
While my time is a bit more valuable to me these days, there was a period where I went through particular phases when it came to movies. For example, I went through a Marilyn Monroe phase, a Rat Pack phase and that brings me to the topic at hand: Clint Eastwood. There were several cycles I went through, but he has quite an extensive catalog of films, both behind and in front of the camera. Even sometimes, both. While I’m more into his Dirty Harry films and some of the other action titles, his westerns are nothing to shake a stick at, either. He’s no stranger to westerns, having starred in several of them. I was always familiar with The Good, the Bad & the Ugly if only by name. It wasn’t until more recently that I actually had the pleasure of seeing it. The opening theme song should be more than familiar to many even if they’ve never seen the film.
I realize that most people are aware of the film to some degree, but the site needs a review of the film and this upcoming Blu-Ray will obviously be a must-own for fans of the film. The film is set in the American west during the Civil War and we meet Angel Eyes (Lee Van Cleef) who’s searching for a man named Jackson. There’s word that Jackson (who goes by the Alias “Bill Carson”) knows where some hidden cash is and Angel Eyes is more than determined find it. We then discover Blondie (Clint Eastwood) who ambushes Tuco (Eli Wallach) to collect a $2,000 reward. We then see Blondie interfere with what is to be Tuco’s hanging, thus freeing the man. We then see the two of them meeting up and splitting their money. We learn that this is a common trend among the two of them. Things reach a point where Blondie abandons Tuco in the desert, setting the stage for Tuco to seek revenge on him. We then follow these three characters across the film.
While the first time I saw the film was on DVD, it has had several versions released, including a previous Blu-Ray disc. I never viewed that version, but there were some complaints of a yellowish tint to the transfer. All I can say is this disc has rectified that problem, and delivers a stunning 4K restoration. I’ll discuss this more in video section, but both cuts of the film are included here on separate discs. All things, considered, purchasing this disc will be a no-brainer for fans. I will say this this isn’t one of my favorite westerns, but I did enjoy it, and it moves rather quickly for an exhaustive running time. The plot is simple and the action is nicely staged and keeps us with it.
Video: How’s it look?
We get a newly restored transfer that’s AVC encoded with a 2.35:1 ratio. I mentioned that there were complaints about the previous Blu-Ray edition having a yellowish tint to it. I’ve never seen that version, so I can’t compare. All I can say is things look excellent here on whichever version you choose to watch. We’re given two discs. One houses the theatrical cut, and one holds the extended cut. It really is rewarding to the eyes to see such a classic film look so nice in HD. Fans will be delighted with the results here. There really weren’t any serious flaws to recognize. I was surprised by how clean the transfer looked.
Audio: How’s it sound?
We’re given some DTS HD tracks here. A 2.0 and 5.1. Both of which are first rate. There’s a crispness to the vocals and we’re always involved with the experience. It really puts us front and center in the action. It’s important to remember that we’re watching a 50 year old film in this modern, digital age, so don’t expect the best track you’ve ever heard. It simply serves the film the best it can. For my money, it does an admirable job.
Supplements: What are the extras?
- Commentary Tracks – There are three total here, including a new one by film historian Tim Lucas. There’s another with film historian Richard Schickel and a third with Christopher Frayling.
- Deleted Scenes
- Animated Image Galleries
- Leone’s West – This is a nice retrospective that looks at Eastwood’s other westerns and other topics.
- The Leone Style – This mainly focuses on the look of Leone’s films, among other things.
- The Man Who Lost the Civil War – This is more of a historical look at things, but history buffs should get a kick out of it.
- Reconstructing The Good, the Bad and the Ugly – This gives a nice and detailed look at the process of cleaning up the film.
- II Maestro: Ennio Morricone and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly – This is broken into two parts that discuss the film’s score.
The Bottom Line
Fans of this film will definitely want to pick up the disc. There’s a new audio commentary along with a 4K restoration to both cuts of the film. The other features (which are still very good) appear to be carried over. This is the most complete version of the film to date. Recommended.