The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, has been consistently ranked as one of the best western movies ever made since its initial theatrical showing in 1967. Can you believe that it’s already 50 years? Sergio Leone’s magnum opus about a tale of three outlaws and their final showdown over a stash of hidden capital set against the backdrop of the Civil War.
I’m sure that you would probably want to watch again to commemorate its beauty and artistry. Here are a few things that you should know about the film’s restoration so we can further appreciate it.
The history of the film in HD quality has been problematic over the years. Beginning in 2009 with MGM’s original Blu-ray release, the transfer lacked a stylized color palette, instead choosing a more natural look. It also contained evident framing issues and it wasn’t particularly impressive when it came to texture, with a touch of DNR used to smooth out some of the “rougher” passages.
Next up was its 2014 Blu-ray debut, which featured a new 4k restoration. It solved some problems, such as the framing of the pictures were more accurate and it focused significantly on the small details. The downside was that it was hostilely color-graded with a yellow appearance, making skin tones to appear brown.
Seeing a 1998 DVD release from MGM was a little difficult to come by, as the true theatrical version of the film was absent from the disc-based format.
Right on the mark, there are significant improvements over the previous releases. This is not, in any way, shape or form, a poor presentation, but rather a problematic one. In which case, our expectations should be tempered.
Furthermore, it’s a more stable and cleaner-looking presentation than ever before as well. There’s also more picture information on all edges of the frame, particularly on the top and on the right, while extreme close-ups of the characters contain much more fine details, right down to the beads of sweat and beard stubble on their faces. Buildings, landscapes, and costumes are also much sharper and clearer.
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly is a stunning success. Having the theatrical cut of the film on Blu-ray is absolutely better than not having one at all. The film still has some ways to go as far as a definitive release, but the extras, as well as the transfer, are still worth appreciating, flaws and all.