R.I.P. Eli Wallach.
I couldn’t agree more with the wonderful comments being made about Eli.
As ‘Tuco’, in ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’, he literally stole the show. At the drop of a cheroot, he could be vicious, conniving, deceitful, back-stabbing…a "son of a thousand…"
And yet, at the drop of a weathered sombrero, he could reveal the most heart-breaking pathos.
Never is this pathos more telling, than in the scene with the late, great, Luigi Pistilli (playing his brother, ‘Brother Pablo Ramirez’). This scene alone (combined with Ennio Morricone’s highly emotive and exquisite score), is worth the price of admission, and reveals Eli Wallach to be nothing less than monumental in his telling approach to portraying a memorable character on-screen.
With so many Italian Westerns being produced, it is easy to forget that a select few produced what can only be described as a ‘gem of a performance’.
Eli Wallach could - with ease and grace - produce not only a gem, but also a whole coffin full of wealth for all who cared to ride along.
If there was any wealth at all to be found in a truly brilliant ‘Spaghetti Western’, then it was not usually to be found in dollars or dust…it would be found in the performances of actors who -through no fault of their own - had often been ‘over-looked’ by their native country.
Eli Wallach was a shining gem; Lee Van Cleef was a ‘rough diamond’; Henry ‘nice guy’ Fonda found the courage to turn nasty; James Coburn became the coolest slow-burning Irishman in history; Rod Steiger was taught how to free revolutionaries…the list goes on…
Thanks Eli. You have left many of us with performances that are now there at the push of a button. You will always be with us.
“The name on the grave is E…EE…EEE…ELI WALLACH!!..now it’s your turn!!”…
God Bless you, Eli Wallach.