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Author Topic: Eastwood Movie Challenge Week Two: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Hang 'em High  (Read 8872 times)
Hemlock
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« Reply #20 on: February 03, 2016, 01:46:59 PM »

Just watched Hang`em High.

Used to think that it was this TV-western (of that time) like film with slightly harder edge (with violence and such) but it has grown on me...and even though it does not make top 5 of my best of Eastwood westerns-list,it still is quite good film.Best parts being Eastwood`s and Pat Hingle`s characters,the opening scene and six mans hanging scene.

I wish there had been more Ben Johnson in that film as Ive always liked him in so many other western films.Inger Stevens is good as well if not highly memorable.

Dominic Frontiere `s music is quite good too.

Anyways,as said good entertaining western.Im really happy that Eastwood chose this over Mackenna`s Gold  ;)
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mgk
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« Reply #21 on: February 03, 2016, 04:55:54 PM »

I watched The Good, the Bad and the Ugly last night and it is truly the best of the three Dollars movies.  In most part, that can be credited to Eli Wallach and his performance of Tuco.  The beauty of his acting is that he doesn't seem like he's acting.  It all looks so natural; seems like he really IS Tuco.  He is so funny.  When he's running around the cemetery looking for Arch Stanton's headstone, he is swinging his arms and running like a sissy which makes him even funnier.  Sometimes the humor is really subtle.  One of the funniest scenes for me is when Blondie tells him about Angel Eyes being close by and Tuco starts to quickly strap on his gun and says:  (Paraphrasing here)  "I'll go kill him.  I'll be right back."  Like it was nothing.  After that comes the funniest line in the movie (IMO) when they find the dead guy in bed with the note attached.

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Blondie:  (Takes the note and reads it) Idiots.  (Hands note back to Tuco) It's for you.

Later on, one of the funniest scenes is when they plant the explosives on the bridge and then take cover.  Blondie flattens himself on the ground but Tuco sort of hides his head but sticks his rear end up in the air.  That was hysterical.

I thought Sergio Leone's way of leading Tuco to Blondie and planting the cigarillos in the fire pits was original.  As soon as Tuco found one that was actually still lit, he knew he was close.


One of my favorite moments in the film is when Tuco fights with his brother and then goes out to the wagon, and Blondie having spied on the fight, doesn't call out Tuco but instead offers him a cigar. Offering someone a cigar is about as far as Blondie is capable of going in showing compassion.  ;D Okay, he does offer alcohol to the Captain.

Agree with Doug about the limited level of compassion that Blondie will reveal.  However, I would add the scene where he gives his coat and a few drags on a cigarillo to the dying soldier before he heads off to the cemetery.  And, the sweet scene (in my humble opinion) where Blondie is holding and petting the little cat.  Nice touches.

Three questions:

1.  Where did Tuco get all of the water that he used for a foot bath when he and Blondie were crossing the desert?

2.  Shouldn't the Confederate soldiers have been watching the bridge and seen Blondie and Tuco planting explosives...especially in broad daylight?

3.  Do you think that circle of rocks where Blondie challenges both Tuco and Angel Eyes is the same circle used in For a Few Dollars More?

An observation...it seemed to me that during the challenge, in the circle, among Blondie, Tuco and Angel Eyes is the first time we see fear on Angel Eyes face when they are all three taking glancing looks at each other.  Toward the end, Angel Eyes looks at Blondie and it looked like (to me) that Angel Eyes became afraid.  We didn't see any fear from him in For a Few Dollars More and hadn't seen any in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly up to that point.

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Doug:  So does anyone wonder if Tuco will try to track down Blondie or will he be content just being a rich man? (And will he do anything to help out his brother, or will he maybe try to show off his wealth to him?)

I don't think he will try and track Blondie down because he will be out trying to spend all of that money.  I'm not sure whether he will try to help his brother or not.  I kind of think that he will.  That's the complexity of Tuco's character.  He will probably feel compelled to help, but just a little bit.  That way he won't have to feel guilty or feel so guilty.  Throughout the movie, you can see Tuco's sadness (sometimes guilt) over the death of anyone they run across.  He "crosses" himself like most Catholics do when someone dies.  It doesn't bother him enough to stop what he's doing because he is very self-centered yet you do see that little bit of sadness.  And, he may feel guilty about not helping his family more but he can explain it away so that he can live with himself.  The selfish side usually always wins out with him.

Great movie!  Tremendous acting by Wallach!!
« Last Edit: February 03, 2016, 04:57:18 PM by mgk » Logged
mgk
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« Reply #22 on: February 03, 2016, 11:22:32 PM »

Just finished watching Hang 'Em High.  In the beginning we hear a loud noise just before the two main characters are introduced...just like we saw and heard in the Dollar Trilogy movies.  But, instead of gunshots, I think what we're hearing are the 200 pound sacks being dropped through the gallows.  I wonder if it was a conscious decision to copy those three movies.

Once again I was struck by Judge Fenton's zealous pursuit of criminals in the territory and his eagerness to hang them all.  I know he says that in order for the territory to become a state, he must rid the territory of all thr riff-raff.  But, when he doesn't allow Jed to finish his testimony trying to save the two young boys, it just seems like a sign that he's not always reasonable when deciding who hangs.   He's another one of those complex characters who has convinced himself he's right so hangs them all instead of making exceptions.  However, when he nods his head to the executioner to proceed, you see some regret on his face that he had to do this.  He's compassionate enough to want to get Jenkins a doctor when  Jed wants the sick man released.  But, I wonder if he would have ended up hanging him later.

Watching all those people come to town to watch men hang is a little hard to digest but history tells us they used to do this.  The fact that they bring their kids to watch it is a little disturbing.  I know that after working so hard on their farms and ranches, they want a little excitement but it's hard to accept that they come to town and get caught up in the "riot" atmosphere and get just as excited as everyone else.

Can you believe Jennifer had rather stay at the hanging than go to bed with Jed?  Has she lost her mind?  :idiot2:

The scene where Jed has the Captain and his men in the Captain's house was pretty well done. The Captain, with sweat pouring off his face seems like the scared, trapped animal that he is.  But he robbed the Judge and Jed of the honor of hanging him themselves.

After the Judge and Jed establish that Jed and Rachel will probably end up married, Jed takes off to find the last of the men who tried to hang him.  I kind of like the ending, watching him ride off for the last ones, but knowing that he's probably coming back since he has to turn them over to the Judge.  That allows us to speculate on whether Jed and Rachel really will end up together and Jed will continue to work for Judge Fenten.  Maybe some of Jed's reasonable points will end up rubbing off on the judge...especially when Jed starts to exert himself even more.

The movie was fairly entertaining but more difficult to see its merits after watching the three Dollars movies.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2016, 11:27:19 PM by mgk » Logged
Charlie
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« Reply #23 on: February 04, 2016, 05:04:51 AM »

Hang em' High was on Encore last night... Matt did you plan for that???
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Matt
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« Reply #24 on: February 04, 2016, 08:19:16 AM »

Hang em' High was on Encore last night... Matt did you plan for that???

To quote KC... "The Power of Matt is simply amazing!" 

 :P
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Matt
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« Reply #25 on: February 04, 2016, 09:14:20 AM »


Once again I was struck by Judge Fenton's zealous pursuit of criminals in the territory and his eagerness to hang them all.  I know he says that in order for the territory to become a state, he must rid the territory of all thr riff-raff.  But, when he doesn't allow Jed to finish his testimony trying to save the two young boys, it just seems like a sign that he's not always reasonable when deciding who hangs.   He's another one of those complex characters who has convinced himself he's right so hangs them all instead of making exceptions.  However, when he nods his head to the executioner to proceed, you see some regret on his face that he had to do this.  He's compassionate enough to want to get Jenkins a doctor when  Jed wants the sick man released.  But, I wonder if he would have ended up hanging him later.

I was reading through the Film Discussion we had on Hang 'em High years ago, and I saw that I was defending Fenton then in our thread HERE, and I'll do it again. I just see him totally differently, and so I'll offer a counter-opinion.

I don't think Fenton has an ounce of eagerness to hang in him. But, he is a judge, and his court is the only one in 70,000 square miles.  He's understaffed and under-resourced for the amount of territory he oversees, and doesn't have the ability to hold prisoners long-term.  The law back then was to hang anyone found guilty of certain crimes, and cattle rustling was one of them.  Imagine if you lived out there in that time period, and your livelihood and your family's relied on your cattle. Maybe when they're stolen, that family won't be able to buy more, or eat.  Laws had to be in place, and they had to be protected by consequences. Plus, Fenton wanted statehood for his territory. With statehood would come additional resources and funding through taxes.

And just a geeky moment here, I'll post this. If Fenton lived long enough, he'd see his dream come to fruition 17 years later:



In Fenton's office, Jed brought up that the boys weren't to be charged with murder, just Miller. If Fenton was going to give the boys a break, it relied on the answer to this question: "They pitch in to help you subdue Miller?" And when Jed admitted they didn't, the matter was closed. Cattle rustling was a hanging offense, they were guilty, and they'd have to hang "Because if the law didn't hang them, the next posse that goes by will say "hang 'em and hang 'em high, there's no justice in Ft. Grant!"

To prevent vigilantes from taking the law into their own hands (like the mob that lynched Cooper) and criminal acts all over his territory, Fenton does his job. He doesn't appear to enjoy the consequences of the criminals' actions, but that's his job to see that they are judged and if found guilty, punished.

As for Fenton not allowing Cooper to tell the story of the boys on the stand, that's because it's hearsay. Cooper wasn't a witness to the murder, his testimony would only be telling the boys' version of the story, and that's not good enough for any court. It wasn't then, and it still isn't. Plus, I've never yet seen a judge that puts up with being disrespected in his or her court. What he says in that courtroom is the final word.

Also, let's not forget that his court had a jury who judged whether or not the defendants were guilty of their crimes. Fenton's job was to see that the court offered the men a fair trial, and to name the punishment. It was the jury who declared the man guilty, not Fenton.
« Last Edit: February 04, 2016, 11:14:40 AM by Matt » Logged
Matt
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« Reply #26 on: February 04, 2016, 10:48:10 AM »

A little about the Hang 'em High co-stars:

I like Pat Hingle as Judge Fenton, but my favorite co-star in Hang 'em High is Bruce Dern as Miller. He brings some needed humor to the film, and he's believable as a cocky cattle rustler and murderer.



And what did everyone think of Dennis Hopper as The Prophet? Did he over-act? I think he did, quite a bit.



Arlene Golonka is one of my favorite prostitutes in Eastwood-land. And she should always be a red-head and have that ponytail.



Inger Stevens is maybe my least favorite Eastwood love interest in his entire filmography.



It's not really her fault, I guess. Lines like "don't drink your milk so fast", and that hairstyle don't help.

EDIT:  Actually, I had momentarily forgotten about Lynn Halsey-Taylor in the Which Way movies. Inger might edge out Sondra by a (very hairsprayed) hair.

EDIT AGAIN:  I changed the image of Arlene Golonka, as the original image that was hosted kept going offline. New source: http://sledujufilmy.cz/film/poveste-je-vys/9698/galerie/174029/
« Last Edit: February 06, 2016, 10:04:18 AM by Matt » Logged
Christopher
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« Reply #27 on: February 04, 2016, 10:50:01 AM »

I watched The Good, the Bad and the Ugly last night. I watched the extended edition, and I have to say I think the added scenes take away a little from the movie. Maybe some of the added scenes are okay, but aren't necessary. The next time I watch it, I'll probably stick with the theatrical version (I still have my DVD at least).

Even with the added footage of Angel Eyes, I'm still wondering how he got into the Union army. Perhaps I missed something there.

Also while watching the movie again, I was struck that I think this is really Tuco's movie, like he's the main character here. And I mentioned earlier that I think Wallach gives the best performance I've ever seen in a spaghetti western, and I still feel that way.
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Christopher
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« Reply #28 on: February 04, 2016, 10:52:02 AM »

Arlene Golonka is one of my favorite prostitutes in Eastwood-land. And she should always be a red-head and have that ponytail.


Are there lots of favorite prostitutes in Eastwood-land? ;D
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Matt
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« Reply #29 on: February 04, 2016, 10:57:58 AM »

Are there lots of favorite prostitutes in Eastwood-land? ;D

Yes.  ;D
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Matt
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« Reply #30 on: February 04, 2016, 11:08:11 AM »

Even with the added footage of Angel Eyes, I'm still wondering how he got into the Union army. Perhaps I missed something there.

I don't think it was hard to get into the army, and a man like Angel Eyes wouldn't have a low rank for long. He probably just volunteered and strong-armed his way to the position he needed in order to find Bill Carson.
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mgk
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« Reply #31 on: February 04, 2016, 04:18:02 PM »

Even I have vacillated on my opinion of Judge Fenton.  Here is my post over in the movie discussion section that Matt referred to:

Quote
:)The first time I saw this movie, I kept thinking that Judge Fenton enjoyed his work a little too much.  It always bothered me that he seemed to be so intent on hanging everyone no matter what the crime might have been.  Then, when he wouldn't let Jed testify at the trial on behalf of the two boys and even yelled, "Justice is my province, Marshal! Mine and mine alone!", I thought to myself that he didn't really want justice. I thought he just wanted to exert his power over everyone and to scare them into submitting to his dictatorial form of government.  Of course, after establishing that train of thought in my head, he appeared the same way to me every time I saw the movie over the years.
 
However, when we started studying this movie for our film discussion and the more we discussed it, I began to realize that maybe I was wrong.  So, I went back and watched the movie again paying close attention to everything Judge Fenton said and did.  Yes, he was enthusiastic about eliminating crime.  But, now I think it was because he envisioned this huge territory as a state someday and felt that was more important than anything else.  In order to accomplish this, it was necessary to enforce law and order and make the territory civilized.  Yes, he was enthusiastic about his marshals bringing in criminals but, if you watch his face carefully when he has to give the final nod to the executioner to hang those men, you can definitely see the sadness in his eyes.  When he gives final approval for the six-man hanging, I think he actually has tears in his eyes. 
 
So, I guess (after all of these years), I have "seen the light" and I now have much more respect for the extremely difficult job that Judge Fenton had to do.  Without the kind of strength he had to make such impossible decisions, his goals would have never been reached.

Judge Fenton really wants Jed to work for him as a marshal but he makes it perfectly clear that Jed is to bring in each person and not seek personal revenge and tells him he doesn't want him to work for him if he can't do it that way.  Jed is so angry that all he cares about is finding them.  However, he does respect the law so you could almost assume that he would bring them in for a trial even if the judge hadn't told him to.  From the beginning, I think Judge Fenton respected Jed; however, I don't think Jed respected the judge in the beginning.  Jed saw him as blood thirsty and even thought he was unfair when he wouldn't allow Jed to testify for the two boys.  But, in the end, I think Jed finally saw what the judge was trying to do and respected him for carrying out an almost impossible task.

I had not gone back and read the quote above before I posted here but, now that I have, I can see everything Matt is saying but I still have this nagging feeling that some things were just excessive.  Judge Fenton is just a complex character that shows us both sides.  Any mercy that was shown came from Cooper.  He was the one who pushed Judge Fenton to show any mercy anywhere.  He took his badge back (not that it was a huge concession) in order to get the dying Jenkins out of jail.

I guess I'll never know for sure.  But, when I watch the movie after a long period of time, my immediate reaction is the same as the one I originally posted here.  Even if I try and absorb all of the things Fenton was trying to do and how hard his job was, there are just enough scenes in the movie to give me some doubts.  The quote above from the movie discussions section was posted in 2003.  I have not seen the movie for twelve years yet I came away with those doubts again.

If he had allowed Cooper to finish his testimony, if he had not pronounced himself as the only and final law in town, if he had not been so arrogant about his position, then I would have never doubted a thing he did.  I noticed that, when they caught Murdock out at the ranch where the owner was killed, they didn't even have a trial before they hung him...at least not a trial I saw.  They caught him, brought him back to town and late in the afternoon, they hung him.  He deserved it but where was the trial and the jury?

All of this makes this a better movie than a lot of people first think.  Anytime a movie makes you think this deeply, it's a pretty good movie.
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« Reply #32 on: February 05, 2016, 06:24:31 AM »

The old topic about Judge Fenton is here: http://www.clinteastwood.org/forums/index.php?topic=478.0

I still stand by my overall position from back then. One thing people have argued is that cattle rustling was a hanging offense, so therefore... But today in the U.S. there are capital offenses and not everyone found guilty of those crimes is sentenced to death. I think the most important thing to take away from the debate is that one judge or lawman shouldn't have that much power and responsibility, and then there wouldn't be the debate to begin with.
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« Reply #33 on: February 05, 2016, 06:39:11 AM »

I started watching Hang 'em High last night but my DVD messed up. I even flipped the disc to the full screen version, and still couldn't get it to run. So I'll try to pick that up later on a different player.

Like Matt, this was the first western that I ever watched completely. I remember being very young and seeing part of the ending to The Good, the Bad and the Ugly because my dad was watching, but it wasn't until later that I watched the whole thing. I like Hang 'em High, though I don't rank it very high amongst Eastwood's westerns overall. Though I am seeing some complex issues in the movie about how it deals with capital punishment, as a lot of you have been talking about already. So the movie has more depth than what I've ever noticed in the past (and it's been ages since I've seen it).

Oh, and I got up to the part just after Jed was offered the $800 in hopes of him leaving the rest of the men alone. So hopefully I'll be able to pick back up with that.
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« Reply #34 on: February 05, 2016, 01:18:41 PM »

Watched GBU last night and it is the best of the three spaghetti westerns. Tuco does steal the show but all three leads are perfect. The added scenes could have been left out. The film is too long for my liking and one of the reasons I don't watch it more often but after it has finished, I always can't think of what they could cut out to trim it down.
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« Reply #35 on: February 05, 2016, 09:18:11 PM »

Trying to get a few peaceful hours to drink my whisky and watch GBU again to give a fresh comment, but have delayed by this and that, and I want to watch it straight thru so will try again next day. Then I will comment on GBU.

Hang Em High is a very well done production, with a number of high high points and few low points.

The only low was a fairly jarring one, in the first few minutes, when Clint is caught and accused of rustling. The outdoors scene was in fuzzy focus, definitely not high definition, I very strongly suspect it was shot on 16 mm film for whatever reason. I noticed this same irritating flaw in a scene in Coogans Bluff too.

Otherwise I thought Hang Em was a really good production in every way.

It was especially interesting to see Clint being so brutally treated in the Paddy Wagon and the jail in early scenes. Man's inhumanity to man. The film was like being transported in a time machine back to where human life was given short change. OK, its happening right now in so many places, but, this film really brings attention to it. A very starkly realistic film.

Enough for me for now.


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« Reply #36 on: February 06, 2016, 01:16:43 AM »

I don't have a favorite prostitute in Eastwood-Land.  By the way, Eastwood-Land would make for an awesome theme park, with or without prostitutes.

I've seen TGTBTU maybe 20 times, and absolutely love it as one of my favorite movies of all time.  I have also poured over it thoroughly, though "Hang 'em High" I've only seen maybe 3 or 4 times.  So here are some thoughts on it...I'll get back to TBTBTU another time in an another thread and give it the breakdown it deserves.

An Italian actor died just days ago in a horrible on-set hanging accident.  I would think that a realistic hanging scene requires stunt and prop guys that know what they are doing.

Its rare to have a movie open with the protaganist so beatup and humiliated.  Hey its Ed Begley Sr., Bruce Dern, Ben Johnson, Dennis Hopper, and...uhh...the Skipper!

I'm not a big fan of the jarring and heavy handed music.  It has taken me out of the movie a number of times.

I like how the first guy that Jed takes revenge against slumps against the barrels after being shot; he really sells the death scene.  It felt like the bringing in of "The Swede" was going to be a perilous journey, and then boom he is in jail.

I join Jed in having some sympathy for the two young rustlers that Jed brings in for hanging.  When they are at the gallows it is one of the sadder scenes in the movie.  The black-and-white style of justice practiced by the hanging judge works for me except in the case of these kids.  Its good they are in the story, as it makes things more interesting than all the bad guys being "full bad".  The tension between the judge and Jed is sometimes interesting as I try to determine if the former is going overboard in keeping his territory protected. ..and other times it gets repetitive when they clash.

Rachel has an interesting backstory, but her and Jed are pretty boring when they are together.  I agree with Matt on this aspect of the movie.

I like "Hang 'em High" overall, despite some dumb bad guys, awful music, and a lame romance subplot.  The main plot is pretty compelling and Eastwood along with most of the supporting cast are great.  The varied types of villans add to the story as well.
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« Reply #37 on: February 06, 2016, 06:13:23 AM »

I enjoyed Hang 'em High a lot this time through. Like Conan mentioned, I don't always care for the music. Sometimes it's just fine, and other times it seems a little too much.

I also agree about the romantic subplot between Jed and Rachel. Their picnic scene would be my choice of least favorite scene in the movie. And it comes after the hanging scene and Jed getting shot up, both of which are really dramatic and tension filled. A picnic is pretty anti-climatic after all of that.

While watching the hanging scene, I thought of Changeling. I won't comment much here in case anyone hasn't gotten around to watching that later movie.
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« Reply #38 on: February 06, 2016, 09:12:32 AM »

An Italian actor died just days ago in a horrible on-set hanging accident.  I would think that a realistic hanging scene requires stunt and prop guys that know what they are doing.

That was made even more horrible by the fact that it was a live performance:
http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/gossip/actor-accidentally-hanged-reportedly-brain-dead-article-1.2521141
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« Reply #39 on: February 06, 2016, 10:38:55 AM »


The only low was a fairly jarring one, in the first few minutes, when Clint is caught and accused of rustling. The outdoors scene was in fuzzy focus, definitely not high definition, I very strongly suspect it was shot on 16 mm film for whatever reason. I noticed this same irritating flaw in a scene in Coogans Bluff too.


You may have no aim, but you have a good eye. Or, at least as good as mine. I noticed that too in the opening scene. I pulled some screencaps. Click on them to see them larger:





I noticed the same thing in the opening credits sequence of For a Few Dollars More, though I thought Leone may have done it to show the haze and the heat of the desert. Just a guess...



In either case, I much prefer Leone's super wide more cinematic widescreen to Ted Post's more television-style aspect ratio.

(Forgive me for not using proper terminology for aspect ratios... someone else can feel free to step in here with the correct terminology.)
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