Short Movie Review: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

The third and final installment in Leone’s Dollars trilogy is the lengthiest and the most iconic, if for nothing other than [its trademark theme](,_The_Bad_And_The_Ugly.ogg). Eastwood’s Man with No Name (here called “Blondie”) is the good, taking on the bad, in the form of the amoral contract killer Angel Eyes (Lee Van Cleef, who played the sympathetic Colonel Mortimer in [*For a Few Dollars More*]( Then there’s the ugly, Mexican bandit Tuco, played by a show-stealing Eli Wallach, who can’t quite escape his Brooklyn accent and occasionally looks eerily like a pudgy Dustin Hoffman. All three are looking for a box of Union coins, but the convoluted plot features more twists and alliances than your average game of *Risk*. The version I saw was the extended 2002 version, with an almost twenty additional minutes of footage that had never before made it into the English cut and required Eastwood and Wallach to return to dub more lines 35 years after the original film (van Cleef had died in the meantime, with another actor filling his role—and I also swear I caught [*The Middleman*’s]( Matt Keeslar in the credits, though I haven’t been able to confirm). Frankly, several of the cut scenes probably could have been left on the floor, since they stretch the movie out almost 3 hours, and make it lag in parts, but whole film—including the 5-minute Mexican standoff at the end—is still a work of beauty.

You’re right about Keeslar; I screengrabbed the credits, though I’ll have to watch through the whole of that version (NetFlix just added it to their instant viewing) to see if I can pick his voice it. Not an easy task since nearly all of the original supporting players were also dubbed (I’m pretty sure Bernard Grant, who worked on several Leone films and dubbed Gabriele Ferzetti in “Once Upon a Time in the West,” is the union captain, and most of the rest seem to be New York dubbing artists and not the community of English speakers in Italy who handled most of the Bava and Argento stuff, likely because Leone fully postsynched, and even the Italian actors were generally dubbed by completely different Italian actors!)

The Lee Van Cleef voice match was Simon Prescott (, who was in a few (mostly trash) movies in the 60s and 70s but has built a solid career mainly as dubbing actor, with a ton of resume and a fair amount of international live action dubbing or voice matching to his credit. Andre Sogliuzzo, who voiced assorted droids in “Star Wars: The Clone Wars,” was brought in to fill in or possibly replace some of Eastwood’s new lines (possibly for smoother transitions between the new and the old), but it was mostly Eastwood; I’m trying to see if I can figure out (probably not by ear, since i know the names but not the voices so well) who did the rest, but at least two are now deceased (one being Jack DeLeon, of all people, who I’ve been watching on “Barney Miller” as gay petty thief Marty). The only comparable project to this that comes to mind is, of all things, Disney’s “Bedknobs and Broomsticks,” where they reinserted cut roadshow footage (what survived anyway), brought in Angela Lansbury and Roddy MacDowell to loop their footage, and had voice actors match the rest. Some of it worked near seemlessly (Corey Burton did a superb Sam Jaffe), but David Tomlinson’s looping always made him sound nearly Cockney and really stuck out.

I have a soft spot for “For a Few Dollars More” myself, from the titles to Colonel Mortimer, but especially the scenes in “El Paso,” which happens to be where I live. An El Paso where the hotel is run by Germans dubbed into English is also amusing. Two of the German players went on to dub “The Muppet Show” into Deutsch! Kurt Zips, the pipsqueak hotel owner, dubbed Dr. Bunsen Honeydew; the German voice of Gonzo was Werner Abrolat, aka Slim, the grinning bearded gang member.

And yes, I spend way too much time researching and thinking about this stuff.