From: David P. Hayes
Newsgroups:, rec.arts.movies.past-films
Date: Tuesday, February 03, 1998 5:07 PM

Cyril Bouanna wrote in message <6b7t42$>…
>In reply to the discussion about who in the movie is the Bad and who is the
>Boy, how pathetic this whole discussion is!!!
>Guys, how many times do you need to see this legendary Sergio Leone movie in
>VHS, LaserDisc, 35mm, L.A. revivals, English, Italian or French to
>understand that the WHOLE POINT of the movie is that in the dark days of the
>american far west, it was impossible to make the difference between the
>Good, the Bad, and the Ugly!!!…

>Trying to find out is pointless: there's no difference between the Good the
>Bad and the Ugly; It's the whole point!!!

Reportedly, Sergio Leone was tired of the complaints made by lazy critics of his earlier films that they could not tell who were the good guys and the bad guys, and that that was why he put on the superimposed titles labeling the morality of each of the three main characters. Sure, Leone redefined the moral categories from what they had been in previous Westerns, but a redefinition is not the same thing as a dispensing with standards entirely--Leone's position is not amorality.

>Or do you really think that Eastwood's character is good?!! Do you think
>that turning someone to the authorities to get the reward and then releasing
>him to do it over and over again is a *good* behavior?!

Eastwood cheats society but not the people with whom he enters into long-term dealings. He smears the lines, outsmarts the hangman, but lives by hard rules. Notice that Eastwood does not kill Tuco when their bounty-cashing partnership is dissolved. Tuco has threatened Eastwood, but although Eastwood could take advantage of Tuco's ill-advised articulation of his position by killing Tuco and taking both halves of the final bounty without fear of reprisal, Eastwood doesn't do this, giving Tuco a chance to survive.

Do you think
>cheating on the final contest (he had removed the bullets from Tuco's gun,
>so he was the only one who had just 1 enemy to watch, and it's the only
>reason he wins!!) is a really *good* behavior?

Tuco had showed himself to cheat at their deals, and would surely have killed both other parties in order to keep all of the money for himself. Eastwood doesn't do this; he takes only his half. Notice that although Eastwood had removed Tuco's bullets, he doesn't kill Tuco but rather the one other participant who is armed (and who doesn't keep deals either). Sure, Eastwood gives himself an edge (although he gave Tuco more than enough time to discover the missing bullets and replace them), but that is to survive, to assure himself his own share (but nothing more).

>Do you think his last joke to
>Tuco (very last scene) is a very *good* joke?!

It isn't a joke, but an appropriate reaction to someone who would surely kill Eastwood given the chance. With all of that money which Eastwood takes as his half, Eastwood must create as much distance between himself and Tuco as possible before Tuco can be released.

David Hayes


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