Another of my top three westerns this week. Clint Eastwood’s name can not be mentioned without the, “man with no name,” series being included as a part of his persona. His nemesis in the series Lee Van Cleef provides his usual menacing performance as one of the Western genre’s most memorable bad guys. Also delivering a terrific performance in this movie was one of Hollywood’s best character actors, Eli Wallach.
This particular movie provided the end to the, “man with no name series.” It was also, in my opinion at least, the best of that bunch. The movie concludes with what is perhaps the single most iconic standoff ever recorded. The three way gun duel between the the good, bad, and ugly, as there is only enough gold for a two way split. Parodied many times over the decades since this movie, it still stands as one of the few movie scenes worthy of such imitation.
This got added as a comment, and I felt it worthy of sharing. Sergio Leone was Italian, and probably had zero idea of anything even remotely pertinent in terms of historical accuracy with his Westerns. His chief concerns probably had more to do with facial expressions, tension, interactions between the characters, music etc.
Still, I found this comment to be both fun and interesting. Hat tip Mike C., for posting this comment. It’s still a favorite movie.
That iconic stand-off scene is hilareous for it’s errors. Lee Van Cleef has his gun in a cartridge belt loaded with cartridges. What the cartridges are for we never will know, because his gun is a cap and ball revolver. It is also a cap and ball revolver with no caps on the nipples — not a good idea if you’re going to need to use it. Subsequently, Eastwood tells Wallach that he unloaded Wallach’s revolver the last night. Wallach’s revolver is also a cap and ball revolver. Ever try unloading a cap and ball revolver without just firing off the charges?
BTW, “Wild Bill” Hicock carried cap and ball revolvers even as cartridge revolvers were replacing them. He reloaded them every morning, and also did something else unusual for the time — he practiced with them. Didn’t carry them in holsters, either, but rather tucked in a sash he wore around his waist. Holsters of the time were designed for gun retention, not quick drawing.
Oh, and I rather imagine the late Bob Munden could have easily shot Eastwood, Van Cleef and Wallach before any of them could have gotten off a single shot. The man was mind-bogglingly fast.