The Good, The Bad and The Ugly: Finding Redemption in Spaghetti Westerns (May Syncroblog)
May 15th, 2007 by Sonja

Some of my favorite movies have always been westerns. I loved horses, cowboys and indians when I was girl. Now that I’m a grown up, I still love them. Only now I’m supposed to sophisticated about it.

So-called “Spaghetti” westerns came out in the 1960’s. These were western films directed and filmed by Italian directors, often in Spain. They were often shot on a very thin (shoestring) budget. So, for all those reasons they were given the title, “spaghetti” westerns. They have a certain spare look and feel to them. The best known of the genre are the “Dollars” Trilogy starring Clint Eastwood: A Fistful of Dollars, For A Few Dollars More and The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

I was too young to see them when they came out; I was still watching The Lone Ranger, Gunsmoke and Ponderosa. But now I watch them over and over again in reruns. They are best watched on a rainy Sunday afternoon when I’m quilting. Nothing is finer.

Of the three, my favorite is The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. Clint Eastwood was “the Good” or Blondie (the man with no name). Lee Van Cleef was “the Bad” or “Angel Eyes” Sentenza. Eli Wallach played “the Ugly” or Tuco Benedicto Pacifico Juan Mario Ramirez – called Tuco.

The plot line involves buried Civil War treasure. Blondie knows the name of the grave that it’s buried in and Tuco knows the name of the cemetary. Angel Eyes knows that they know. So everyone needs each other for information. Except that no one really needs Angel Eyes. There are plot twists and turns and (as is cardinal with spaghetti westerns) much gratuitous violence. In the end, however, here is how it pans out. Bad is killed, Ugly receives a reward and redemption from Good. Good walks away unharmed having redeemed Ugly and a town in the process. Good also manages to use only what violence is necessary for his own survival … while all others around him are killing for attention or delight. Ugly is three dimensional throughout the story, Good and Bad are only two dimensional … we only see them in part.

I think it’s interesting. I love to see how popular the story of Jesus is. You can even find it in spaghetti westerns. We tell it to each other over and over and over again. Good triumphs over Bad and redeems the Ugly. We give the story new names and new faces; new plot lines and new twists. But in the end, it is the story of Jesus and his triumph over death and evil. We love this story, so we tell it to each other again and again and again. Watch and listen … see where you can find it next.

The Ugly … just for fun (before you check out some of the other synchroblogs below)
Great Horny Toad

Steve Hayes ponders The Image of Christianity in Films
Adam Gonnerman pokes at The Spider’s Pardon
David Fisher thinks that Jesus Loves Sci-Fi
John Morehead considers Christians and Horror Redux: From Knee- Jerk Revulsion to Critical Engagement
Marieke Schwartz lights it up with Counter-hegemony: Jesus loves Borat
Mike Bursell muses about Christianity at the Movies
Jenelle D’Alessandro tells us Why Bjork Will Never Act Again
Cobus van Wyngaard contemplates Theology and Film (as art)
Tim Abbott tells us to Bring your own meaning…?
Steve Hollinghurst takes a stab at The Gospel According to Buffy
Les Chatwin insists We Don’t Need Another Hero
Lance Cummings says The Wooden Wheel Keeps Turning
John Smulo weaves a tale about Spiderman 3 and the Shadow
Josh Rivera at The Rivera Blog
Phil Wyman throws out the Frisbee: Time to Toss it Back
Sally Coleman rushes up with Making Connections- films as a part of a mythological tradition
Kim Paffenroth pondersNihilism lite

9 Responses  
  • John Smulo writes:
    May 15th, 200711:11 pmat

    Have you always been this silly? :-)

  • Phil Wyman writes:
    May 17th, 20076:57 amat

    Silly!? This was cool. Although I would have used “The Quick and the Dead,” which is by far my most favorite pasta flick.

  • aBhantiarna Solas writes:
    May 17th, 200711:31 amat

    John was referring to a dummy post I had up earlier … before I got this up. It was silly.

    This was a fun topic to write on … but I was glad we didn’t have to restrict ourselves to horror films, I stopped watching those years ago because I’m such a scaredy cat!!

  • Jenelle writes:
    May 18th, 200712:53 pmat

    I resemble that genre being called “Spaghetti” on account of the cheap-Italianess! :) It is lovely how Eccl. 3:11 crops up in the most unsuspecting of places.

    And your picture isn’t ugly at all! That’s one cute lizard.

  • Jenelle writes:
    May 18th, 20078:23 pmat

    I resemble the fact [grin] that they named “spaghetti” westerns after low budget Italians! I don’t think I’ve ever seen a western. Maybe I should at least watch an Italian one.

    And that’s not an ugly lizard! it’s irreparably cute.

  • Jenelle writes:
    May 18th, 20078:25 pmat

    weird…at first my comment didn’t appear and then I rewrote it…sorry about that!

  • Erin a.k.a Lily writes:
    May 19th, 200712:05 pmat

    Hey Sonja! I couldn’t find an e-mail address for you, but I have a question…my friend Pam Hogeweide and I are guest editors for Porpoise Diving Life for June, and we are looking for women who might want to write something for it. If you want to know more, e-mail me; the details are also on my blog.

    You can also pass this along to the Emerging Women site if you want.

  • Scott writes:
    May 21st, 200710:44 amat

    Cute horny toad.
    I miss horny toads.

  • planet telex » Blog Archive » Christianity and Film writes:
    October 22nd, 20072:06 amat

    […] Sonja Andrews visits The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly: Christ in Spaghetti Westerns […]

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