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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!

1 comment:

  1. In the old 1967 press book at got IN 1967 at the theater playing the film (they were going to throw it away after they did their ads), the offical billing was Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach, Lee Van Cleef, Aldo Giuffre, Mario Brega etc etc etc.

    The trailer that played there before the film opened had that order of billing but Eli and Lee were switched and Eli was the "bad" & Lee the "ugly".

    I found out that mistake happened because they used visual editing from Italy & dubbed it in English and didn't know or care that United Artists had decided to change the title to The Good, THE BAD & THE UGLY from the original Good, Ugly & Bad. They made the change on screen ONLY when the title was shown. Columbia Pictures seems to have only viewed this trailer as they got their English version of The Big Gundown as they mistakenly identified Lee as the Ugly "Mr. Ugly comes to town".

    Yes I always thought Lee's name on the screen was rather quick!

    Eli Wallach in the English version since the character names had been changed needed special billing to honor his contract as having SECOND billing behind Clint. So they put his name last in letters as large as Clint and Lee but with the name of his character which makes it clear who he is in the film. On print ads Eli's name is also in a BOX with "in the role of Tuco" under it.

    United Artists told me on the phone back then they discovered the mistake on the trailer after it was too late & they were sorry I was confused. They man also said that by putting Eli Wallach's name in a box and listing his character's name under it actually gives him billing EQUAL to Clint Eastwood.

    After talking to that man and several years of reflection and especially after finding out in the early 1970's from a friend who was in the Navy and stationed in Italy for a time that the Italian version was longer and he saw scenes in the film there that were NOT in the English version, I then knew that United Artists didn't care about this film in an artistic way. Not a all. They were only interested in MONEY and cashing in on the sudden success Clint and Leone was having.

    They didn't give a damn about Sergio Leone the director and artist and tampering with his movie so they could (they figured) make A FEW DOLLARS MORE off of Good, Bad & Ugly.

    We later found out from Eli that Leone was furious, fighting mad, that UA wanted to cut all that time out of his film for the English version. And he should have been!!!

    What may be Lee Van Cleef's most interesting scene was missing from the film when I saw it new in December 1967 and I didn't know it. But I DID know the narrative was chopping in places and it felt as if information important to the story was left out.