Welcome to theBad.net Lee Van Cleef Blog! Here you will find information, photos, videos, and some of my opinions of the badman himself.

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Saturday, November 30, 2013

Location: El Condor



I love El Condor, and during my trip to Spain I was hoping to see the remains of the El Condor fortress built for the film.  Sadly that was not the case.  The area is locked and gated.




As I was not feeling adventurous enough to jump the gate, had already visited five other locations that day, and it was getting late, that is as far as I got.  Hopefully I can get in contact with whoever owns this location so I can visit it on a return trip next year.

On the plus side there was a great view of "Western Leone" from this location.  You will recognize the McBain house from Once Upon a Time in the West.  The rest of the town was built later for other westerns and to cash in on the tourists.


 
 Hopefully I can update this post next year!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Octagon Coming to Blu-ray (US)

With a release date of December 3rd, The Octagon comes to blu-ray in the US (region A).  LVC co-starred with Chuck Norris in this 1980 martial arts film.  The blu-ray will feature a 16x9 (1.78:1) anamorphic master in HD from the original interpositive, and a brand new 5.1 surround sound track.


Scott James is a man haunted by memories, eerie flashbacks that plague both his waking and sleeping hours. The first is a childhood memory relating to the intense and rigorous combat training he and his best friend endured under the guidance of a mysterious martial arts master. The second is a far more painful recollection of loss, and one that has turned Scott away from his former life. But when a wealthy heiress convinces him to enter the fray once more, Scott finds himself drawn into an international terrorist organisation consisting of deadly ninjas, at the head of which is a close acquaintance from his past. Now it is up to Scott to confront his worst fears and battle a former adversary in the ultimate ninja showdown.
 
SPECIAL FEATURES:
  • Audio commentary with Director Eric Karson
  • Brand new interview with star Tadashi Yamashita featurette
  • Original trailer




Saturday, November 23, 2013

Location: Cortijo Del Fraile - Ramirez Mission



Instantly recognizable, Cortijo Del Fraile is only a few kilometers from Los Albaricoques, and was featured most prominently as Father Ramirez's Mission in The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.  The rear of the structure was also used as Indio and his men's base camp once they reached Agua Caliente in For a Few Dollars More.  This entry will focus on the Ramirez mission, and I will have another entry for Indio's camp later on.


1966 and 2013
 

Built by Dominican friars in the eighteenth century Cortijo del Fraile (the Friar’s Farmhouse), has a very interesting if not dark past.  The setting for these events were used by Federico Garçia Lorca in his chilling play ‘Blood Wedding’.

The structure is currently crumbling and in a terrible state of disrepair.  It is fenced off so it cannot be accessed.


Below are a few pictures of the front as featured in The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly (click to enlarge)

 

 The door that Tuco enters



In 2011 the location was declared a site of special cultural interest by the regional government, the Junta de Andalucía. Sadly nothing has yet been done to preserve this historic site.


 
 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Tonight Show with Johnny Carson Interview

One of only a few interviews done by LVC, here is the video of his Johnny Carson Tonight Show appearance from 1984 promoting The Master.

 

 
 
Hopefully this will stay up on YouTube this time!



 



Saturday, November 16, 2013

Location: Tabernas - "Leone's Hill"


This is one of my favorite LVC locations.  One that has been unspoiled by time or by man.  This distinctive looking hill was used in both For a Few Dollars More and The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.  The opposite side of the hill shows up in Duck You Sucker.

TOP: For a Few Dollars More
MIDDLE: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
BOTTOM: 2013


Located in the desert hills of Tabernas outside of Mini-Hollywood, it is not the easiest place to get to.  It can be driven part way, but as the road gets more treacherous I felt it best to park and walk.  Along the walk to the location I also came across the remains of the bridge from Leone's Duck You Sucker.

Bridge remains from Duck You Sucker


Below are some comparisons of the close up shots from For a Few Dollars More (click to enlarge)





One of my favorite things to do on these location hunts, is to watch the actual scene at the location!  The wonders of technology!

 
 
Finally here are some additional shots of this location (click to enlarge)
 
 Panoramic - Mini-Hollywood is at the rear left


Back of the hill as seen in Duck You Sucker
 

Close up of Mini Hollywood from this location.  You can barely make out the Bank of El Paso
 
 


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Take a Hard Ride - Blu-ray Review



I must have been asleep at the wheel as this one got by me.  Over the summer Timeless Media released a Blu-ray 4-pack titled Movies 4 You: Timeless Westerns that included Take a Hard Ride.

Also included are 3 other films, Rio Conchos, Butch and Sundance: The Early Days, and The Last Hard Men.
 
This blu-ray can be found for under $15.

I'm not going to review the actual film, just the quality of the disc. 


Overview

The print used looks to be the same a the Shout Factory DVD that was previously released.  Of course it is in glorious HD this time!  Running time looks to be the same as all other versions released to date.
 

Video

While this is by no means the best HD transfer you will ever see, it is a vast improvement over anything we have seen before.  There is a high level of grain throughout, but overall this is the best looking we have ever seen this film (and probably the best we ever will).
 
click to see grain (thanks to Blu-ray.com)
 
Audio

The audio is actually a lot better than I anticipated.  While I by no means am an expert on this film, I did notice background effects I had not heard before.  Dialog is very clear.  Jerry Goldsmith's score shines (I love the synth theme he made for Kiefer, LVC's character)


Extras

The extras are the same as on the Shout Factory DVD previously released, but upscaled to 1080i.

  • Take a Hard Ride Trailer
  • Interview with Fred Williamson
  • Interview to Jim Kelly

This is a nice set of extras.  Fred has some nice things to say about LVC.
 
Take a Hard Ride main menu
 
In Conclusion
 
Toss out those DVDs, and pick this up!
 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Location: Tabernas - The Tavern

This location is from a very pivotal scene in For a Few Dollars More.  The scene of course being Mortimer shooting Wild (Klaus Kinski) and finally come face to face with Indio (Gian Maria Volonte).

While the exterior was shot in Los Albaricoques, the interior was shot in a building in Tabernas, just outside of the El Paso set (now the tourist trap Mini-Hollywood). 


Mortimer meets Manco
 
Sadly, the building is now in a complete state or ruin.  The roof has recently collapsed, but once carefully entering, you can still make out the areas where everything took place.
 
 
 Mortimer is spotted.  A wall was later added , but the foreground remains the same.
 
 
Mortimer prepares to shoot Wild


Surprisingly this location was used again for Day of Anger, where LVC once again enters the same building in Los Albaricoques, but ends up here for the interior shots.  Most of the action was shot on the opposite side wall of the room than in For a Few Dollars More.

The tavern as it appears in Day of Anger 
 


Below are some addition photos of the location.  Click to enlarge.




Saturday, November 2, 2013

Location: Castillo de San Felipe


Death Rides a Horse featured many Almeria locations, and one of the most distinctive was that of the prison that LVC is released from at the start of the film. 

In reality of course, it is not a prison.  It is know as Castillo de San Felipe.  It was built in the 18th century by Charles III. Completed in 1765 it complemented Castillo de San Ramon at El Playazo and together with the various watchtowers along the coast provided defence against attacks by the Berbers.

As you can see from the comparisons below, it has been recently renovated (most notably the top).

 wide angle shot from the movie


LVC awaits his $60 horse

One thing that is striking about this location is that this castle is actually located on the beach.  With the creative use of camera angles it was made to appear as in the desert, where in reality it is on the coastline.

LVC's point of view from this location (when he sees the two men on horseback), was filmed elsewhere, probably in Tabernas.

See below for additional pictures of this location.  Click to enlarge!