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

Many thanks to the wonderful fans of theBad.net for their contributions and continued enthusiasm!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Obituary - New York Post


OXNARD Calif. (AP) - Actor Lee Van Cleef, who made a career of playing bad guys in Westerns, has died. He was 64. The steely-eyed actor with hawklike features became a familiar gunslinger in the spaghetti westerns, including "For a few Dollars More" and "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly."

In the 1967 flick, Van Cleef portrayed "Setenza, the Ugly", while Clint Eastwood played "Joe, the Good" and Eli Wallach "Tuco, the Bad".

Van Cleef collapsed Friday night at his home and died some hours later.

The actor, who was born in Somerville, NJ, got his film break as one of four desperadoes faced down by Gary Cooper in the 1952 classic "High Noon".

Among his hundreds of black-hat roles were parts in "How the West Was Won", "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance" and "Death Rides a Horse."

In 1969, Van Cleef jokingly attributed his gunslinger typecasting in some 350 television movies and motion pictures to his predator's nose.

"I didn't speak a word in High Noon" he recalled. "In 1951, Stanley and Earl Kramer saw me in a play "Mr. Roberts", and offered me the role eventually played by Lloyd Bridges in the film, providing I would have my nose fixed. I refused and wound up as one on the four villains."

"Now people remember this beak." Van Cleef, who was of Dutch ancestry, dropped out of high school to join the Navy, where he served on submarine chasers and minesweepers.

He worked as a farmer, gas station attendant, and painter before getting his first stage role in a production of "Our Town" with an amateur troupe in New Jersey.

New York producer and director Harold Anderson noticed Van Cleef in an amateur production of "Heaven Can Wait", and helped find him a place in a road company production of the World War II Navy comedy "Mr. Roberts" with Henry Fonda.

But it was Van Cleef's bad guy roles in the Westerns made by Italian director Sergio Leone in the 1960s that made him widely known as a villain.

Van Cleef was stricken at his home in Oxnard, a coastal community about 60 miles north of Los Angeles, said Ventura County Coroner Craig Stevens.

The actor's wife, Barbara, called paramedics and he was taken to St. John's Regional Medical Center in Oxnard.

Van Cleef was pronounced dead minutes after midnight Saturday.

"It's an apparent heart attack. He's got a history of heart disease. He had a permanent pacemaker." Stevens said.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Differences in The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly Title Sequence

This is something interesting I found when watching the Italian print of GBU recently.  The credits for Clint, Eli, and Lee are in a different order and placement.

In the US version only Clint is billed above the title.  In the Italy print, all three are billed before the title in the order of the title; "Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo", which translates into "The Good, The Ugly, The Bad". Not quite as catchy is it?

Next time you watch the US version and hear the gunshots over Eli and Clint's face before the title, that's where their names should go!

Example of the credit order.  Italy on left. US on the right

This may also explain why LVC's credit is only on screen for about a second in the US version.  In the Italian version that space is taken by Aldo Giuffre (both men got short changed timing wise in the US version)

Eli Wallach is credited last in the US version in the coveted "and Eli Wallach in the role of Tuco" at the end of acting credits. 

I suspect the US credit placements are based on arangements the actors and their management placed for billing, with Clint above the title, and Eli with special billing.  LVC got the short end of the stick!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

“Spaghetti Westerns Unchained" in LA this Weekend - 4 LVC Western Screenings

The genre known as spaghetti westerns featured more than just actor Clint Eastwood and director Sergio Leone. There were numerous directors and actors who appeared in these 1960s-era films. And the American Cinematheque’s “Spaghetti Westerns Unchained” series serves up treats from such masters as Sergio Corbucci and Carlo Lizzani.

The fun begins Thursday at the Egyptian Theatre with 1966’s “The Big Gundown,” directed by Sergio Sollima, with Lee Van Cleef, and Lizzani’s 1966 “The Hills Ran Red,” with Henry Silva and film noir icon Dan Duryea. Friday’s feature, 1966’s “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly,” is the only Leone/Eastwood collaboration in the retrospective.

On tap for Saturday is a new 35-millimeter print of Corbucci’s “The Mercenary” from 1968 with Franco Nero and Tony Musante. Van Cleef is back with John Philip Law in 1967’s “Death Rides a Horse,” directed by Giulio Petroni. And rounding out the weekend on Sunday is Gianfranco Parolini’s 1969 “Sabata,” with Van Cleef, and the filmmaker’s 1968 entry, “If You Meet Sartana Pray for Your Death,” with Gianni Garko and Klaus Kinski.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

eBay Watch: El Condor Japan Program

From time to time I will post interesting items that I see on eBay that would be of interest to a LVC fan.  These are not endorsements of the sellers, just merely my observations of interesting or rare items.

This is from the same seller as both Sabata programs.  I guess I must really like these items!  "Buy it Now" is $19.99

El Condor JAPAN PROGRAM John Guillermin
Jim Brown, Lee Van Cleef, Patrick O'Neal, Marianna Hill, Iron Eyes Cody, Imogen Hassall, Elisha Cook Jr., Gustavo Rojo, Florencio Amarilla 
Japanese Movie Program, written in Japanese, contains many photos from the movie

Condition: good/very good, 24 page

I've archived the photos from the listing below-

Happy Hunting!

Monday, July 23, 2012

"Van Cleef at Last Stars in Italy" - 1969 UPI Article

Article from United Press International - Jan 18, 1969

By VERNON SCOTT HOLLYWOOD (UPI) — The ads read: "Mr. Ugly Returns."

The actor in question is Lee Van Cleef who has become a star despite or because of his balding head, pointed nose and cruel mouth. He gives every appearance of being mean and dangerous. Although he has played villains in 50 movies since a silent bit part in "High Noon," Van Cleef's career was foundering four years ago. Nobody in Hollywood would hire him. "I was wondering how to pay the electric bill," the 44 year old actor said, stretching his husky frame over a bottle of beer.

Then the spaghetti westerns came to his rescue - the horse operas made in Italy on small, budgets with plenty of violence.; They made a star of Clint Eastwood and now Van Cleef, Many an unemployed performer heads for Rome to sit on the Via Veneto sipping wine and thumbing through scripts praying for work. The majority disappear or slink back to Hollywood unnoticed.

Van Cleef made the trip specifically to work for Sergio Leone in a costarring role with Eastwood in "A Few Dollars More." It was an instant hit abroad and reshaped Van Cleef's career. Now there are four unreleased pictures going for him: Three Westerns "Man To Man," "Letter Of The Law" and "Day's Of Anger," and a contemporary war film, "Commandos." All were made in Italy and Spain. Three years ago Van Cleef was fortunate if he commanded $1,250 per week for a movie. Now he asks and gets $300.000 per film, and the price undoubtedly will continue to rise. Because his face is unpretty, Lee probably will continue in action movies.

Lee is a virile, physical type along the lines of say, Lee Marvin or James Coburn. But his visage is much more menacing. "How do I feel about being called ugly?" he asked. "Well, it began when I did 'The Good, The Bad And The Ugly,' In Europe. Everybody figured ugly was me. But it doesn't bother me as long as the public doesn't mind." I hope the term ugly is a means of identification for me, not a personal insult. I imagine if people in this business meant it as a description I'd be out of work." Ugly or not, Van Cleef cannot walk in the streets of European countries without being mobbed by fans. His affection for the Italian people, especially, runs deep. It was they who turned, his career around.

Producers in Hollywood finally have received the Van Cleef message. He was offered top roles in "The Adventurers," "Topaz" and "The Great Bank Robbery," But Lee is biding his time and picking his shots. Even at the nadir of his career. Van Cleef, who is of. Dutch extraction, never lost faith in his ability as an actor. "I believed in what I was doing," he said. "I thought some day things would happen for me, although, I never dreamed as lavishly as what is happening now."

"I didn't consider going into any other type of work simply because there isn't anything else I'm able to do." Van Cleef may be consigned to playing rugged outdoor roles for years to come, but he is unwilling to accept the fact that he can act only with a horse under him or with bullets flying past his head. "There's no reason why I can't play contemporary roles in a suit and necktie," he said.

"I believe in what I'm doing — acting. And if you believe you can do something, you can accomplish whatever goals you set for yourself." It is difficult to imagine Van Cleef as a romantic leading man in a modern drama. But then one harbored doubts that he would ever have graduated from playing feature roles as villains in movies and uncounted television shows. His next picture will be "Barquero," another action western with the climax taking place in a gun battle aboard barges in he middle of a river. Once again, Lee Van Cleef will be playing the hero. A circumstance he finds most satisfying after a dozen years of being a nameless menace in the background.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Barquero - NY Times Movie Review - September 1970

Published: September 4, 1970

Lee, Van Cleef gets around. One of his Italian-made Westerns "Sabata," arrived here earlier this week. Add to it now a Colorado-made Western at the Victoria Theater, starring—you guessed it.

The newer picture, titled "Barquero," has carefully held to the format of those popular horse operas from abroad: stark color, clanging music, perpetual gunfire, stacks of corpses and a plot heavily punctuated with murderous glares, growls and squints.

Rather surprisingly, the second half of the film gets an interesting foothold on reality. There are, so help us, a few quiet stretches, along with a spate of good acting. And one or two characterizations take on persuasion and bite.

The picture opens in utter confusion as a band of mercenaries swoops down on a little river-landing outpost. When the smoke clears, the village survivors are crouched on one side of the river, led by a tough barge operator, Mr. Van Cleef. Across the water the bad guys bide their time. For some reason they want the boat for a getaway instead of legging it back over the hills.

The very modesty of the setting comes across picturesquely during the tense cat-and-mouse wait, under Gordon Douglas's direction. Four of the players are quite good, with the star leading in a burly, convincing role. Mariette Hartley has two interesting scenes as an earthbound wife. Good, too, are Warren Oates as the chief culprit who becomes unhinged and Kerwin Mathews as his level-eyed partner. And Forrest Tucker, as the Edgar Buchanan of the piece, does well by the few amusing lines.

Considering the format, it could have been much, much worse.

BARQUERO, directed by Gordon Douglas; screen play by George Schenck and William Marks; music by Dominic Frontiere; photography by Jerry Finnerman; produced by Hal Klein; presented by United Artists. At the Victoria Theater, Broadway and 46th Street. Running time: 104 minutes. (The Motion Picture Association of America's Production Code and Rating Administration classifies the film: "GP—all ages admitted, parental guidance suggested.")

Travis . . . . . Lee Van Cleef
Remy . . . . . Warren Oates
Mountain Phil . . . . . Forrest Tucker
Marquette . . . . . Kerwin Mathews
Anna . . . . . Mariette Hartlsy
Nola . . . . . Marie Gomez
Sawyer . . . . . Armando Silvestre

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Candid LVC Photos

It looks like Lee had more photos of himself hanging up than his biggest fans.  I dig his style!  These look to be from the late 70's.

Looks like a photo of Sergio Leone near the top.


Sunday, July 15, 2012

DVD Compare: Take a Hard Ride

Currently there are 2 different versions of Take a Hard Ride available on DVD in the US.  Both have anamorphic widescreen transfers, which while similar, the Anchor Bay version is a little soft, and the Shout Factory version is very grainy (which could be compression artifacts due to squeezing two movies and extras onto one disc).

The main difference are the extras.  The standalone Anchor Bay (above left) version features only the trailer, while the Shout Factory version also features the film Rio Conchos, the Take a Hard Ride trailer, and best of all 2 new interviews with Fred Williamson and Jim Kelly.

Both are priced about the same on amazon.com (under $12). 

Comparisons below.  Click to enlarge.

 Anchor Bay transfer

Shout Factory transfer

Friday, July 13, 2012

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

eBay Watch: Spanish LVC Comics

From time to time I will post interesting items that I see on eBay that would be of interest to a LVC fan.  These are not endorsements of the sellers, just merely my observations of interesting or rare items.

Below are 2 separate listings for LVC comic movie adapations for Captain Apache and Take a Hard Ride. 

Captain Apache
Rare spanish Comic of movies:
* "Captain Apache" (1971) with Lee Van Cleef, Stuart Whitman, Carroll Baker.
This comic has 15 pages.

In the same magazine:
* "The Possession of Joel Delaney" (1972) with Shirley McLaine, Perry King, Barbara Trentham.
This comic has 15 pages

2 graphical novels included in a famous Argentine comic in the year 1973.
Adaptation of the these 2 movies in the same comic 

Buy it Now at $19.99

Take a Hard Ride
* Rare spanish Comic of the western movie "Take a Hard Ride" (1975) with Lee Van Cleff, Jim Brown, Catherine Spaak and Fred Williamson. Film directed by Anthony Dawson.

It is a graphic novel included in a special edition of a famous argentinean comic in the year 1976.

The complete magazine has 144 pages with several grafic novels.
The comic of this movie has 14 pages.

Buy it Now at $19.99

Happy Hunting!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Death Rides a Horse - NY Times Movie Review - July 1969

Published: July 10, 1969

"DEATH RIDES A HORSE," which rocked the DeMille Theater yesterday like a convention of drunken firecracker salesmen, is proof in stark colors, once again, of the indestructibility of the "spaghetti Western" produced continuously and cheaply over the last five years by Italians in Spain with an imported Hollywood rawhider or two to ramrod the gory goings-on. As usual, the clutter of clich├ęs is exceeded only by the excessive sound and fury.

To the credit of Giulio Petroni, the screenwriter, it must be noted that he has kept the dialogue, too obviously dubbed into English, at a minimum. If the plot is somewhat fuzzy at first, it quickly becomes clear that the simple-minded succession of blood baths, pedestrian as well as horse-borne, are the results of a double vendetta.

On the one hand, we have John Phillip Law, who, as a child, has seen his family raped and slaughtered by a gang of thieving desperados, and now is the grown-up, fastest gun in the Sierras out to annihilate those dastards. And, we have Lee Van Cleef, one of those five bad men who had been framed into a long prison stretch by them and is out for their ill-gotten gains and their hides.

Mr. Law, tall, rifle-slim, blond, blue-eyed and properly laconic, may be quick on the draw but he is slower than Mr. Van Cleef in catching up with their mutual quarry. As a comparative tenderfoot, he can't be blamed. Mr. Van Cleef, of course, has been going that-a-way for years in Western Westerns ("High Noon," etc.) and in the "spaghetti" variety ("For a Few Dollars More," etc.).

So, as the squinty-eyed, mustachioed, crafty and tough (he shaves with a knife, no lather) vaquero it's only natural that he is brighter about bad men than his callow opposition.

They face each other in a climactic Mexican standoff that bristles with spurious honor. "Vengeance is a dish that must be eaten cold," Mr. Van Cleef observes philosophically. He's right. "Death Rides a Horse" is not so hot.

DEATH RIDES A HORSE, screenplay by Luciano Vicenzoni; directed by Giulio Petroni; produced by Alfonso Sansone and Enrico Chrosicki; released through United Artists, A Transamerica Corporation. At the DeMille Theater, Broadway and 47th Street. Running time: 114 minutes.

Bill . . . . . John Phillip Law
Ryan . . . . . Lee Van Cleef
Wolcott . . . . . Luigi Pistilli
Manina . . . . . Anthony Dawson
Pedro . . . . . Jose Torres
Betsy . . . . . Caria Cassola
Vigro . . . . . Archie Savage
One-Eve . . . . . Mario Brega
Manuel . . . . . Guglielmo Spoletini