July 3rd, 2005

Tuco (The Good the Bad & the Ugly)

Hey, Blondie!!!

I was supposed to go hang out with Ryan (Douchebag) over at his place, but I ended up just staying home and watching A Few Dollars More and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, then I took a nap before quietly driving over to my parent's house. whosamama is here, Zach and Steve have gone camping. And, of course, Willie (dog) is ecstatic to see me. I'm not doing terribly much today, though, because the last two July 3rds have contained truly horrible experiences for me. On the other hand, July 3rd (at about 3:30 PM) marks the third anniversary of very last cigarette I ever smoked. So hopefully it'll be a day like that one, not a day like the other two since. Tim and Patsy are bringing Sally over and all that, so it'll be an easy day to maintain a low profile.

No name, my ass!

Why do people refer to these films and A Fistful of Dollars as "The Man With No Name" trilogy? Clint Eastwood's character in A Fistful of Dollars is Joe, and in A Few Dollars More and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is Monco (A.K.A. Blondie); if he is playing the same character - and he may not be because Lee Van Cleef sure as hell ain't in the two of them he's in - then his name is Joe Monco. I usually refer to these films as the Dollars trilogy, only because it is three films that Sergio Leone, Clint Eastwood and Ennio Morricone did together that deal with some similar themes. I'm not saying that it isn't the same character throughout - in fact, I like to think that he is, and each film presents him in a logical progression from the last, 'cause he was never really that nice a guy - but he's definitely got a name.

Two weeks ago the Film Score Monthly website ran a interesting letter from David Wyeth on their "Film Score Friday" column on how film music has recently been becoming more accepted in certain circles, but how it is still not given much credit from much of the musical cognescenti. Because this is a topic that truly interested me, I wrote a response, which was run in the next week's edition of the column. Well, this week's edition had a letter from a Sean Nethery in which he basically makes the same, tired argument that because film music is written for another medium it is intrinsically less as music. It has sparked some discussion I've been contributing to on the message board.

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Conan the King (Conan the Barbarian)

Still keeping it on the DL...

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Tim and Patsy brought over Sally so whosamama finally met her. Of course, she turned into rasberry jello the moment Sally smiled at Mom. Aside from a little fever that made her a bit fussy (which may be a cold or teething), she is a pretty jolly baby. Drools a lot, though.

Willie was also on his best behavior, although there was frickin' dog hair everywhere...

I Hope the Others Find
An Easier Road

A few days ago I got a call from waystone, who found herself rather surprisingly driving through Mordor. Perhaps she could be persuaded to elaborate...?
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Conan the King (Conan the Barbarian)

Per qualche dollaro in più

For A Few Dollars More represents one of those annoying areas of collecting. While A Fistful of Dollars was essentially a bold remake of Akira Kurosawa's Yojimbo, For A Few Dollars More combines the Western genre with the tension of the crime genre, and the results are arresting. It has some of the most dangerous situations as Joe Monco (or whatever you want to call him as I refuse to refer to him as "The Man With No Name" when he's clearly named in the damn films) finds himself in over his head. The undercurrent of Omerta somehow manages to work in this new context, and the brilliant camerawork and performances (Lee Van Cleef is perfect) signal a new maturity in Leone's work that would be followed through with The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and Once Upon A Time in the West.

There is a DVD of this entertaining and artistically satisfying film, but it is a spotty transfer that is not anamorphically enhanced, so I won't purchase it (that's why I rented it). There has been talk of a remaster of A Fistful of Dollars and this film similar to The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, but so far no such DVD has appeared.

Similarly, the original LP of the brilliant Ennio Morricone score ran under twenty minutes. There is an expanded CD of it, but the additional tracks are sourced from the film itself and contain dialogue and effects. I could do that myself. Apparently the masters are lost, which is a damn shame, as the music is one of the best aspects of the film (that's quite a bit of praise for the music coming from me).
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