I recently picked a DVD copy of Sergio Leone's masterpiece of a movie, "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly". It's one of my favorite films, but I had not seen it for many years and doing so again on Friday night was not far removed from watching for the first time.
Leone has a very striking and original directorial style, juxtaposing extremely wide screen shots with close-ups, most often of actor's faces. There is little spoken dialogue and many of the scenes play out lengthily accompanied by Ennio Morricone's fabulously spacious and effective musical score.
The scene shown above is the second set-piece of the film, serving to introduce us the 'bad' character of Lee Van Cleef's merciless killer, Angel Eyes. Here he is, a lone figure on a horse riding up to a farm house. As he entered the courtyard, an extraordinary thing happens that I never noticed in an Western before. The horse changes its gait to an exquisite Passage, looking like a competitor in a dressage competition.
This hint of aristocratic refinement in a character who shortly murders two men in cold blood was such a nice piece of unsettling direction that I had to watch the scene several times over. One small reason why I like Leone's movies so much.