Vivian and I ran a bunch of errands today, dropping off stuff at Goodwill, eating in the University District at Flowers, and ending the evening with the restored, extended version of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, in town on a one-week run at the Varsity on the Ave.
We stopped by my old friend Mike’s new store, Pitaya, on the Ave as well, and I chatted with him as Viv shopped.
We know we’re planning on hitting all three of the upcoming Silent Movie Mondays at the Paramount this month, which all feature Westerns:
July 7: Buster Keaton: Go West (1925), The Paleface (1921)
July 21: Tumbleweeds, 1925, starring William S. Hart
At any rate, it was enjoyable to see Leone’s wonderfully misanthropic film. As usual, seeing a familiar film on the big screen brought some new elements into my awareness of the movie, notably the consistent, confrontational use of real amputees in supporting roles throughout the film, underlining the film’s anti-war stance. The other notable thing I thought about as I watched the show was the debt of Coppola’s Apocalypse Now to the film.
Eli Wallach’s hilarious, twitching, grimacing performance as the only Mexican bandit in history with a Jersey accent remains the heart of the film and it was even funnier than I remembered. It’s interesting that Eastwood’s taciturn-loner shtick even got noticed alongside Wallach’s scenery-chewing.
Finally, the film as we saw it used a center-rear-screen stereo soundtrack. I do not know if the wall speakers at the Varsity were out or if the film was restored with the audio designed for the front and center deployment, but it was quite odd at first. I can’t recall the last time I saw a film that used that audio design.