Kino-Lorber’s new 4K Blu-ray disc of Sergio Leone’s The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly is cause for celebration. I know this because as I watched it, I tweeted on the Twitter machine that it was “one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen.” Immediately, Kino-Lorber retweeted my tweet on the Twitter machine; they know which side their bread is buttered on.
Other pundits from the small, western town of Film Twitter Gulch (Population: 11 — you, and ten other people who usually think you’re wrong) weighed in and tweeted their own tweets on the Twitter machine. Everyone agreed that the new transfer looked great. One person tweeted to say that some sort of red/yellow/green matrix had “finally been fixed.” Another person tweeted that he had a problem with “black crush.” I don’t know what either of them is talking about.
Early word was so positive that there was something like a run on the disc at retailers. The Digital Bits is reporting that many stores, both brick and mortar and online, are already out of stock. Don’t pay inflated prices on eBay, though; Kino-Lorber is making more.
The opening credits of The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly are so distinctive and iconic—bold white-on-red animation depicting a crazed rider on a crazed horse, with Ennio Morricone’s crazy score blasting away—all I can think to compare them to are the first few James Bond opening credit sequences, created only two years before. Both styles of credit sequence promise us something outsized, something over-the-top, something that rides right up to the line that separates the ordinary from the absolutely fucking ridiculous. Leone’s film screams at you, “Hey! Look over here NOW!” This is a great start to a great movie.
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly also contains one of my favorite lines of dialogue in any movie. Scummy villain Tuco is shown finally taking a bath... while men creep up to kill him. A literal one-armed bandit makes his way to Tuco’s tub and explains to him, “I've been looking for you for eight months. Whenever I should have had a gun in my right hand, I thought of you. Now I find you in exactly the position that suits me. I had lots of time to learn to shoot with my left!” Tuco reveals that he has a gun in his tub and shoots the man dead, then says to the corpse, “When you have to shoot, shoot. Don't talk.” I love that line so much that I texted it to my son without any explanation as I watched the film. In less than 30 seconds, he texted back, “Bathtub scene, right?”
I raised my boy right.
I know that some people are still sitting on the fence about upgrading to 4K. This is the disc that should push you off the fence, right into the Confederate encampment that’s just about to be blown up with dynamite by Blondie and Tuco as they search for the hidden gold. This disc is reference quality; you can use it to convince other movie buffs to upgrade. These new converts to 4K will praise your influence; they will say that you have done a GOOD deed. Now that you have shown them this disc on properly calibrated equipment, they will want this new 4K disc BAD. They will become sick of their current video set-up, which, compared to yours, now looks UGLY.
I’m sorry. When I want to watch, I should watch. Not talk.