R.I.P. Ennio Morricone (1928-2020)

I heard the sad news this morning that legendary composer Ennio Morricone has passed away at the age of 91. Morricone will be remembered not only for the music he himself created for films but on the huge influence he had on other composers and indeed on cinema generally.

I’ve posted this piece before but I make no apology for posting it again as a tribute to the Maestro. It’s the climactic final shoot-out from Sergio Leone’s iconic Spaghetti Western* The Good The Bad And The Ugly, featuring Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef and Eli Wallach, respectively, together with superbly innovative (and very complex) music on the soundtrack from Morricone. It was the guitarist Alessandro Alessandroni (who also did the whistling on the soundtrack) producing that unforgettable twangy sound with a hint of scordatura. I also think this is the first time any film composer had used gunshots as part of the score…

*These films are way better than was generally appreciated at the time of their release.

Update: I just love this response to an efflux of babble…

11 Responses to “R.I.P. Ennio Morricone (1928-2020)”

  1. Anton Garrett Says:

    A sad loss, and he did far more than the music for those three Westerns. I used to fancy myself at whistling but try as I might with Morricone’s themes I never got near the standard of Alessandroni.

    As time has passed I have changed my favourite of those three films, from GBU to Few Dollars More to Fistful. All wonderfully ]scored, of course. Under lockdown I enjoyed the DVD of Kurosawa’s Yojimbo, from which Leone stole the plot of Fistful and catapulted himself, Morricone and Eastwood into the bigtime.

    Here is the Good, Bad and Ugly theme from a concert of Morricone’s music played in Copenhagen a few years ago, with a link to the full concert:

  2. Magnificent. If memory serves, the scene just before that is brilliantly scored too. The scene where the little watch plays its tune, comes to an end; but before the baddie can draw, Blondy appears out of nowhere and the tune plays again (different watch), this time with orchestration, changing its character completely. Fantastic demonstration of the power of orchestration. That clip I would love to see again…

  3. Y, I remeber now. Always thought Indigo was a very convincing baddy !

    • Anton Garrett Says:

      Gian Maria Volonte played the baddie very well in Fistful and Few Dollars More; I particularly noted the grotesque angles at which he held his head in the latter, as Indio. He had a bit part in GBU as the saintly Catholic monk brother of Tuco, the Ugly.

      It’s not hard to find the climax of all three films on YouTube, by the way.

  4. Phillip Helbig Says:

    I just did some corrections to a paper which has “the good, the bad, and the ugly” as part of the title. Will probably appear this year.

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