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General Sibley
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« on: May 18, 2004, 08:45:56 AM »

Short Eli Wallach interview in today's Chicago Tribune, the publicity juggernaut is starting to roll for the US DVD release:

******************************************
ON DVD
Wallach has more to say in restored `Ugly'

By Joshua Klein
Special to the Tribune
Published May 18, 2004

Eli Wallach has nothing but good things to say about the time he spent shooting Sergio Leone's iconic western "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" (his character Tuco was "the Ugly").

"`The Good, the Bad and the Ugly' was an Italian production, which means I get no residuals," the actor says from his home in New York. "I get residuals for `The Magnificent Seven' and `How the West Was Won,' but not `The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.' But I got my residuals with the joy of making that movie."

"I'm an old man now," Wallach, 88, continues. "I've got gray hair. But when I walk down the streets in New York, someone behind me will always whistle the music. I turn around and say, `Grazie!'"

"The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" has long been available on DVD, but the new special edition (MGM, 1966, 178 minutes, NR) offers something the old disc didn't: around 18 minutes of restored footage, reinserted into the film. Stars Wallach and Clint Eastwood re-recorded their dialogue for the scenes, which were included in director Leone's original cut, and a voice actor was hired to fill in for the late Lee Van Cleef. The restored scenes don't add anything essential to the film, but they're hardly unwelcome. Putting Leone's immense talents in context is an excellent commentary track from critic Richard Schickel and, on the second disc, several documentary features, which even entice the generally reserved Eastwood to heap praise on Leone.

For his part, Wallach relishes the restored footage, if only because it brings back even more memories. "In the scene with me in the cave, trying to entice the guys in the gang to go get Clint, I reach into a tub of boiling potatoes, pull one out, and take a big bite," he remembers of the shoot. "Then I got diarrhea!" Wallach laughs. "So I remember that scene very well."

While old friends Wallach and Eastwood recorded their unearthed dialogue in 2002 at separate locations -- "I dubbed it here in New York, and Clint did it in California," says Wallach -- the two actors recently reunited on screen when Eastwood cast Wallach in a small role in "Mystic River," playing the owner of a gun shop.

"I went up [to Boston] on a Wednesday night and shot an hour and a half on Thursday, then came home," Wallach says. "I had no idea what the rest of the movie was about. I said to Clint, `I'll do it on one condition: that my name not appear in any of the credits or advertising,' and Clint said that was all right. I didn't want anyone to think, poor Eli, he can't get anything but little tiny roles. So I did it as a cameo and for fun."

"When he directed me in `Mystic River' he said [lowers voice] `Whenever you're ready, Eli.' I said, `I'm ready.' And then he just whispered, `Action.' He made me feel at ease."

"Clint was always like a mentor to me," Wallach admits. "He knew the ropes, and when we left Italy at the end of `The Good, the Bad and the Ugly,' he said `I'm going back to America, and I'm going to form my own company on the West Coast, and I'm going to act in and direct movies.' And I said, `Oh sure.'" Wallach chuckles at the recollection. "Little did I know!"

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And what if your hand should shake a little?  And that Gringo so fast on the draw.
CalamityJane
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« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2004, 08:57:18 PM »

Hey, General - thanks for posting this great interview!  Mr. Wallach certainly is man of class and seems like a low-key, laid back kind of man - great actor indeed!  Kudos to Mr. Wallach.  Cheesy

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