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Author Topic: The Good, the Bad & the Ugly: Style and Technique 4: The Script  (Read 4115 times)
The Schofield Kid
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« on: January 08, 2010, 09:04:36 PM »

For The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Leone wanted the top screenwriters on the market, so he recruited top comedy writers Age and Scarpelli, and it was a mistake. They wrote not a Western but a kind of comedy with a Western setting; I think hardly a line they wrote got into the final script … I worked for six months on The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and it seems to me that I performed several miracles.
—Sergio Donati, quoted in Oreste di Fornari, Sergio Leone (c1997), p. 146.

A total of four people are credited with writing the script. Sergio Leone, Luciano Vincenzoni, Furio Scarpelli and Agenore Incrocci. In addition, Sergio Donati worked uncredited as a "script doctor."

Scarpelli and Incrocci, known as Age and Scarpelli, worked on hundreds of Italian films from the 1940s on; they are best known for their work on satirical comedies. Despite Donati's statement (see above) that little of their work on The Good, the Bad and the Ugly remains in the finished film, there are many scenes (usually with Tuco) that could be called comic relief portions of the film.

What is your opinion of the script? Do you think the comedic aspect works in the film? On balance, is it more a drama or a comedy?

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« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2015, 11:03:53 AM »

That was an interesting quote. I don't remember reading anything about the original or revised script for The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. So this was news to me.

The question:  Is it more a drama or comedy. It's neither. It's an action western, as opposed to dramatic western (Unforgiven).  Action films always have comedic aspects to them, like Dirty Harry, Die Hard, Terminator, and any of the James Bond films and more. It wouldn't in a million years be right to consider any of those films a comedy. But, if you can call any of them a "drama", then I would agree that GBU is more of a drama than a comedy.

My opinion of the script:  Top rate. The balance of comedy to action is perfect.

This got me wondering, since all of the action films I mentioned above with comedic aspects may have been influenced by GBU since they all came after it. That's an interesting idea too, if anyone has any thoughts on that. Was it atypical to add comedic elements to action films prior to the Leone spaghetti westerns?
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