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DCG
Top Ten LVC films (survey)
Wed Feb 14, 2018 5:50pm

OK, between Maggs and others mentioning Top Ten lists -- and the fact one's individual tastes change over time, so if you answered this Survey in the past, maybe it's different today? -- it's time to see where everyone's at with their...

Top Ten Favorite LEE VAN CLEEF *Performances* on Film (roughly, but not *exactly* in descending order):
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FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE (65)
BIG GUNDOWN (66)
THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY (66)
EL CONDOR (70)
BARQUERO (70)
YELLOW TOMAHAWK (54)
DEATH RIDES A HORSE (67)
ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK (81)
DAY OF ANGER (67)
GRAND DUEL (72)

This, as with all my Top (fill in the number) Lists, is eternally Subject to Change --- ask me again tomorrow (maybe even in a few minutes!), and the results could be very different.

For instance, note that I used the filter of PERFORMANCES, above. I'm slanting my choices *very* heavily toward those films that include a fairly large role for LVC.

If I were to broaden the "definition" (as most folx do, when making Top Ten-or-Whatever lists) to mean a FILM OF QUALITY with or withOUT a decent role for Van Cleef, well...

Then, obviously, the List would be filled with lots of "better quality" films like KANSAS CITY CONFIDENTIAL (52), HARD WAY (79) -- which got bumped off my list above for YELLOW TOMAHAWK, when I realized all the other choices I made were based upon Lee's Performance...never mind, frankly, larger roles -- and of course two films that place high on *any* measure of Film Exellence: HIGH NOON (52) and THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE (62).

Even as I typed the above (I was NOT joking about "ask me again in a Few Minutes!"), I wanted to go and add IT CONQUERED THE WORLD (56) -- a fun, extensive role for Lee -- but couldn't decide whether or not to drop GRAND DUEL, because truly I haven't watched either of these in a few years, now. And then, if I *did* drop GD, *where* to place ICW among the rest...?? In the words of Charlie Brown, "AAAAAAAUUUUUGGH!!!" ;)

Another LVC Performance that almost made it is CHINA GATE (57), but I decided in retrospect that my memory of it was Lee doing what I call his "Rushed" Delivery of lines -- something he was prone to do in many of his earlier roles. It wasn't until he Slowed Down a bit that his Acting ability started to shine through. The RD vs SD dichotomy has a lot to with my List, above -- note that all but one film dates from his post-Leone breakout, which is pretty much where I draw the RD/SD change.

More Also-Rans that didn't fit because the smaller Performance by Lee didn't manage to overshadow the Quality of the film in general, include: the other "great" Noir in Lee's wheelhouse, THE BIG COMBO (55), as well as THE BRAVADOS (58), RIDE LONESOME (59) -- I'm a huge Budd Boetticher fan, and have seen RL probably more times than any other LVC film -- and GUNFIGHT AT THE OK CORRAL (57).

And I could write a long article just on the underrated quality of Ray Milland's project, A MAN ALONE (55).

But that's where I'll have to wrap this up, and turn it over to youse guys to make your own Lists!

After we all get our say on the Film Performances, we can start a second thread on TV Performances -- they deserve their own category, eh? ;)

Best an' all,
DCG.






    • Make It Top FifteenTheBad7, Fri Feb 16 4:37am
      Skimming over the responses, we should make this a Top Fifteen Survey. Also--and you called this, D.C.--my order has switched up a bit. More shortly. tb7
    • Lee's Top TenTheBad7, Thu Feb 15 5:03am
      I'll bite: 1 - PER QUALCHE DOLLARO IN PIU, 1965, as Colonel Douglas Mortimer. 2 - DEATH RIDES A HORSE, 1967, as Ryan. 3 - IL BUONO, IL BRUTTO, IL CATTIVO, 1966, as Angel Eyes. 4 - THE GRAND DUEL,... more
      • REVISED: Lee's Top FifteenTheBad7, Fri Feb 16 12:50pm
        1 - PER QUALCHE DOLLARO IN PIU, 1965, as Colonel Douglas Mortimer. 2 - DEATH RIDES A HORSE, 1967, as Ryan. 3 - THE BIG GUNDOWN, 1966, as Jonathan "Colorado" Corbett. 4 - IL BUONO, IL BRUTTO, IL... more
      • TB7, your Top Ten...DCG, Thu Feb 15 11:16am
        ...could've been MY list, as we both agree how one's Tastes/Opinions when it comes to Fave LVC Films can Change relatively quickly --- well put, re: "Steak & Eggs", and "there are so many favorites... more
        • Me! Me!Maggie, Thu Feb 15 1:45pm
          As a matter of fact I was about to start a thread like this, it must have been in the air. I will mostly go for multi-layerd and complex characters and the movies I tend to rewatch quite a lot. Like... more
          • will add a couple of comments: It was interesting to see that the same fistful (hah!) of movies scored high on all our rankings, and that they all lean to the Spaghetti Westrn era in the late 60s and ... more
            • @MaggieTheBad7, Mon Feb 19 1:10am
              Hi Maggie-- On this there is no dispute: Lee's prime as an actor was between 1965 and 1974--I chose 1974 as a cutoff as I consider THE STRANGER & THE GUNFIGHTER Lee's last great role as a classic,... more
              • hi tb7Maggie, Mon Feb 19 2:52am
                Great comments! And food for thought. Yes, I would agree on 1974 - for the very reason you mentioned. I think we read repeatedly in this forum he really did want to do more comedy, so it must have... more
                • @Maggie Pt. 2 - Lee The ActorTheBad7, Mon Feb 19 5:30am
                  Hi Maggie-- I consider myself a huge L.V.C. fan; however, I was always frustrated by his infatuation with wanting to do comedy. This might upset some fans, but I'm going to say it anyway: Lee, like... more
                  • tb7, are you sure...Maggie, Mon Feb 19 7:28am
                    ... you meant bad man's river and not barquero (1970)? Bad man's river is a comedy and there is much more slapstick than with Sabata... Can't answer in detail at the moment, got to hop along. I'll be ... more
            • MF+CT, 1970's era EuroComedy, et alDCG, Fri Feb 16 1:08pm
              Well, first of all, Maggs: I did mention that over multiple viewings, over many years, I have gotten used to Tony LoBianco's goofy "Tony Breda" performance. ;) But you raise a great point, re: that... more
            • @MaggieTheBad7, Fri Feb 16 12:52pm
              Hi Maggie-- Love your comments on MF & CT. I will add to your comments when I can this weekend. :) tb7
          • Thinking about mineBob 0, Fri Feb 16 2:45am
            For A Few Dollars More 65 FAFDM has to be number one if I'm thinking Lee performance and screen time. I'm trying to find a way to include The Squeeze and Last Stagecoach West without dropping... more
            • @BobO: Agree on PER QUALCHE...TheBad7, Fri Feb 16 12:38pm
              Hi Bob-- Agreed. This is the DEFINITIVE L.V.C. performance. Lee gives us EVERYTHING we could possibly want, and on display are all his strengths as an actor. Furthermore, Lee upstages the great Clint ... more
              • Lee's acting developmentDCG, Sat Feb 17 12:50am
                TB7, you probably recall that Clint, around the time of GBU, bitched about how his pictures with Leone kept diminishing his parts as they went along -- (to paraphrase) "Van Cleef's got all the... more
                • OUaTitWDoc, Sat Feb 17 9:57pm
                  I heard that Leone wanted Clint, Lee and Eli for his triumphant Once Upon a Time in the West. Story has it that Clint thought "Great, the gang is back together" until he learned that Leone had... more
                  • The G.B.U. Trio in WESTTheBad7, Mon Feb 19 5:01am
                    Let me qualify this by saying that I am a big fan of Eastwood as both an actor and director--though I prefer him as an actor; in recent years, he sometimes gets too leisurely with his pacing--to the... more
                  • Agree w/yr assessment, Doc...DCG, Sun Feb 18 2:23am
                    ...and recall, as a kid, a Clint feature in PEOPLE magazine (mid-70s) that included a shot of him screening film for Editing practice. Best, DCG.
                  • I'd be interestedMaggie, Sun Feb 18 1:26am
                    in the male/female ratio among LVC fans and among Clint fans. In my perception Clint does not score very high in sex appeal, but Lee clearly does. At least I have known more male Clint fans than... more
                • ClintMaggie, Sat Feb 17 5:21am
                  is not my favorite actor as I may have mentioned before. And I know he did go on bitching about Leone movies. But no wonder Lee and Eli Wallach stole the show, I always percieve Clints performance as ... more
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