Sergio Leone's classic spaghetti western forms the final part of the trilogy that brought Clint Eastwood to Hollywood's attention. During the American Civil War, the paths of three loners - Joe (Eastwood), Tuco (Eli Wallach) and Setenza (Lee Van Cleef) - cross as they search for the grave of Bill Carson, home to a hidden fortune. As the war intensifies, the treasure seekers become drawn into a battle that dwarfs their own mercenary pursuits.
This two-disc Special Edition presents the restored, extended English-language version of Leone's The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
, now clocking in at almost three hours (actually 171 minutes on this Region 2 DVD as a result of the faster frames-per-second ratio of the PAL format). It includes some 14 minutes of previously cut scenes, with both Clint Eastwood and Eli Wallach returning to the editing suite in 2003 to add their voices to scenes that had never before been dubbed into English (Wallach's voice is noticeably that of a much older man in these additional sequences). The extra material contains nothing of vital importance, but it's good to have the movie returned to pretty much the way Leone originally wanted it. The anamorphic widescreen picture is now also accompanied by a handsome Dolby 5.1 soundtrack, making this the most complete and satisfactory version so far released.
Film historian Richard Schickel provides an authoritative and engaging commentary on Disc 1. On the second disc there are featurettes on Leone's West (20 mins), The Leone Style (24 mins), Reconstructing The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (11 mins) and a documentary about the historical background of the Sibley campaign, The Man Who Lost the Civil War (15 mins). In addition, there's a two-part appreciation of composer Ennio Morricone, Il Maestro, by film-music expert John Burlinghame. Tuco's extended torture scene can be found here, along with a reconstruction of the fragmentary "Socorro Sequence". In short, exemplary bonus features that will satisfy every Leone aficionado. --Mark Walker