The reasons why The Good The Bad and The Ugly is better than Once upon a time in West
I’ve had this disagreements with a few persons and I’d like to point here in details my reasons why I find The Good The Bad and The Ugly superior to Once upon a time in West.
While I agree that technically Once upon a time in West is better, Leone obviously knew his technics better, so the movie is more polished, the images and music better. But as you know, it takes more than pretty images to make a movie and this is where Once upon a time in West falls flat.
As Hitchcock once said, it takes a good scenario to make a good movie. And here lies one of the flaws of Once upon a time in West, the scenario. The entire movie is based on suspense and mystery and once you know it all there is nothing left. Of course, the mysteries are the reasons why the entire family was killed, the origins of the character played by Charles Bronson and what he wants, etc. The problem with a story based on suspense and mystery is that once you know it all there is no reason to watch it a second time, heck some persons just by knowing the end of such stories don’t see the reasons to read/watch entirely the stories. Some manage, like The Usual Suspects, to go beyond their scope and with a good scenario, make them watchable again and again to find all the tricks and see all those details they missed the first time. Since Once upon a time in West’s movie relies entirely on mystery, everything else was left aside, including character development, leaving the movie cold when you rewatch it. Once you rewatch it, you notice the scenario’s weaknesses and the actors’ stiffness.
The Good The Bad and The Ugly in the other hand is a character driven movie. The story is nothing but a background for the characters to live, the gold to find is not that important compared to the characters trying to find it. Since the movie is around the characters, the scenario is important, especially the dialogue, in order to express visually and through the story the characters. Everything is tight-knit and attention was all around for the scenario.
There are a lot of stars in Once upon a time in West while the actors in The Good The Bad and The Ugly are rather unknown. With the weak scenario the actors do their best in Once upon a time in West but you can see that the actors have way juicier stuff in The Good The Bad and The Ugly and that they seem to have more fun. Even more so, since The Good The Bad and The Ugly is character driven, that means that secondary characters get deepened compared to Once upon a time in West and that even those actors seem to enjoy their characters and play them very well, up from Angel Eyes’ accomplice at the camp to the drunk Captain who dreams to blow up a bridge. Both movies have a comic element brought by two different actors and both play similar characters, a bandit. Unfortunately for Jason Robards, whom I like very much, he is not funny at all and the comic elements fall flat again here in Once upon a time in West. In the other hand, Eli Wallach does such a good job with his well written Tuco that he manages to scare us, move us and amuse us as well.
The music is superb in Once upon a time in West but there are many great moments as well in The Bad and The Ugly, like when the soldiers play the violin or at the end when they are in the cemetery.
In my mind, a good movie must have many qualities and one of them is that I have to be able to watch it again and again and still enjoy it. While I was mesmerized the first time I watched Once upon a time in West, the times after showed me the flaws and now I prefer The Good The Bad and The Ugly well over it.
This is a past blog entry from MySpace.