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Author Topic: The Good, the Bad & the Ugly: The Story 6: The War  (Read 3236 times)
D'Ambrosia
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« on: January 08, 2010, 09:13:28 PM »

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The commanders of the New Mexico Campaign were the Confederate Brigadier General Henry Hopkins Sibley, and the Union Colonel Edward Canby. Sibley, whose mission was to capture Fort Craig, outmaneuvered Canby at the Battle of Valverde in February and drove Canby back to his fort, but failed to force Canby's surrender. Instead, Sibley bypassed the fort, and advanced up along the Rio Grande Valley to seize Santa Fe on March 10 …

In March, Sibley sent a Confederate force of 200 to 300 Texans … on an advance expedition over the Glorieta Pass, a strategic location on the Santa Fe Trail … Control of the pass would allow the Confederates to advance onto the High Plains and to make an assault on Fort Union, the Union stronghold along the invasion route northward over Raton Pass.
—Wikipedia article "Battle of Glorieta Pass"

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[Sibley's] campaign is one of the epic failures in the history of human conflict.
—"The Man Who Lost the Civil War," documentary featurette on the Special Collector's Edition DVD

 The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is the only one of the three "Dollars" films that has a real historical setting. It takes place during the American Civil War, and several actual historical events and personages are referred to, notably General Sibley (briefly seen in one scene) and Colonel Canby. Through most of the film, the war is a constant presence. We witness the shelling of towns, troop movements by foot, by horseback and by train, the execution of a spy, the appalling conditions of the wounded and of prisoners in a Union prison camp something like the actual Confederate camp Andersonville, and a long, bloody and futile battle for control of a bridge. "Useless, stupid bridge," as the Union captain in charge of his side's forces calls it.

What do you think of the war scenes, and of the Civil War setting in general? Are the scenes realistic? Does Leone "take sides" between the Confederates and the Union? Is he saying something about war in general?

What about the main characters' relation to the war? Why do they seem so indifferent to the cause of either side?
« Last Edit: January 10, 2010, 12:38:42 AM by D'Ambrosia » Logged
The Schofield Kid
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« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2010, 05:47:17 PM »

I don't think Leone was taking sides with the battle scenes in this film. They are well done with all the extras and the blowing up of the bridge the climax of it all.

I just think he was showing how futile and senseless any war is. What's the quote Blondie says? "I've never seen so many men wasted". You could say that about any battle or war at any time through history.

I find the scenes very realistic, not just the battle scenes, but the scenes with the wounded all crowded in such a confined area, the dirty conditions that probably killed most, not just from their wounds.

The prison camp scenes again are well done. I don't know anything about Sergio Leone's early life, I assume he was affected in some way by WWII. Maybe some of those experiences he replayed in this film.
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"Winners are simply willing to do what losers won't."
Matt
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« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2015, 01:48:45 PM »

—Wikipedia article "Battle of Glorieta Pass"
—"The Man Who Lost the Civil War," documentary featurette on the Special Collector's Edition DVD

 General Sibley (briefly seen in one scene)

If anyone has the time to screencap this character, I'd like to see it. I just watched and didn't notice him.

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What do you think of the war scenes, and of the Civil War setting in general? Are the scenes realistic? Does Leone "take sides" between the Confederates and the Union? Is he saying something about war in general?

What about the main characters' relation to the war? Why do they seem so indifferent to the cause of either side?

The war scenes are done well, and they seem realistic. Leone doesn't "take sides". There is no explanation (in the narrative) for the war, and it doesn't show one side as being more at fault or less sympathetic than the other. In fact, the two main soldier characters are are both Union Captains, and both appear to feel betrayal and skepticism for the way they and their men (and the Confederate soldiers, as well) are treated - as pawns in a large game that are expendable on both sides. There is no blame toward the soldiers, only the war itself.

But it doesn't necessarily show the futility of war, only the brutality of war.  The sad music reminds us that war isn't heroic, but it is inevitable and unavoidable. Man can't exist without war.  But Leone never goes there -- he never brings up any reason for the war, but only shows that the individual soldiers pay the price for the evils of mankind as a whole.

Why are our main characters indifferent to the war? They're loners who are more interested in their own personal gain and survival than the causes of the war and defeating the evils that the soldiers were losing their lives over.
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KC
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« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2015, 11:25:53 PM »

If anyone has the time to screencap this character, I'd like to see it. I just watched and didn't notice him.

From aveleyman.com:



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These rebels have no will to fight. They'll soon be finished.  We get rid of these bastards and then we begin making money on those Yankees. They carry gold, not paper dollars—and they're gonna beat the South. Look, see that one with the white beard sitting in the wagon? General Sibley. He looks dead.

The speaker is the innkeeper in the town where Tuco catches up with Blondie.
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Matt
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« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2015, 11:30:58 PM »

Oh, thanks for that. I didn't watch that scene today.

I can't wait to watch GBU again, after watching parts of it on DVD (on my computer) today. It's been a long time, and man is it great.
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