The Mathematical Editing of Sergio Leone's 'The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly'
Unless you're watching a film critically, it's easy to get swept away by the story. Even then, it's difficult to pick up on the many storytelling devices and techniques utilized in films, like costuming, blocking, and editing, which means there's a possibility of missing the stories within the story. Max Tohline has shared an interesting examination into the editing of the "Trio" scene from Sergio Leone's 1967 spaghetti western The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, revealing mathematical patterns and images of thought that open up and enrich the narrative. Continue on for the video:
Filmmakers know that one of the greatest things about film is its capacity to tell stories on multiple levels, in multiple ways. In the same way that dialog or an action on-screen relays critical information to the audience about the narrative, the lighting of a scene or the arrangement of shots relays it, too.
In the video, Tohline breaks down the editing of the famous final scene in The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly mathematically -- taking each shot, categorizing them, and counting how often, and in what sequence, they appear. He reveals how this editing technique tells an incredible story where there is none.
I mean, what does the final scene entail? Three guys vying for the loot of gold take their place in a three-way standoff. Then, for several minutes, they just look at each other. Editing is one of the few things that keeps this from being a boring, drawn-out sequence that, like a dead man, tells no tales. Tohline's analysis not only shows just how intricate and precise the editing was, but also how mathematical the basis of storytelling can be.
Check out Tohline's video below:
What do you think of Tohline's analysis of the "Trio" scene? What about his thoughts on how viewers tend to "miss the film" because they're only "looking for the story?" Share your thoughts in the comments below.
[via Cinephilia and Beyond]