The Strain The Good The Bad And The Uglys Sad Hill Cemetery Comes Back From The Dead

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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly's Sad Hill cemetery comes back from the dead

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posted by Paul Townsend alias brizzle born and bred on Sunday 6th of August 2017 08:57:53 AM

After more than 50 years, several fistfuls of euros and countless wheelbarrow journeys, one of the most famous graveyards in cinema history has been rescued from oblivion and is to be honoured in a new documentary. Sad Hill cemetery is the setting for the climax of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, when Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef and Eli Wallach face off against each other to the strains of Ennio Morricone. Having dispatched the Bad and left the Ugly defenceless and furious, the Good lays out his simple credo: “You see, in this world, there’s two kinds of people, my friend. Those with loaded guns and those who dig. You dig.” Inspired by Eastwood’s words, a group of film fans spent two years restoring the cemetery to its former glories. The set, which was built by soldiers in the northern Spanish province of Burgos for Sergio Leone’s classic 1966 spaghetti western, had been forgotten and reclaimed by nature until the Sad Hill Cultural Association stepped in. With the help of crowdfunding and volunteers from France, Germany, Turkey, Italy and the US, its members slowly, and backbreakingly, cleared the site to reveal the famous stone circle and its hidden graves. Their quixotic labours have been recorded in Sad Hill Unearthed, a documentary by the Spanish film-maker and cinema fanatic Guillermo de Oliveira. When a friend told him about the association’s idea, Oliveira felt a familiar pull. Cédric Biscay dons a poncho and places a cheroot in his mouth. Behind, the hills and rocky escarpments of Burgos, in northern Spain, shimmer in the summer heat. And all around him is a place he had only ever seen before on the movie screen: Sad Hill cemetery, site of the final showdown in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, the 1966 western directed by Sergio Leone. In that scene, the characters played by Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef and Eli Wallach meet in the cemetery for a three-way duel that will decide who gets to keep the gold buried in one of the graves. "I feel like I'm in the movie!" says Mr Biscay, who is visiting from Monaco, after wandering around the cemetery and admiring its central paved circle and the hundreds of wooden crosses surrounding it. Nearby are props from the movie's final moments: a noose hanging from a solitary tree. "This is such an important place for me," he explains. "I've watched the movie four times a year for the last 30 years, so yes, I'm a big fan." The cemetery had been created solely for the purposes of the movie, much of which was filmed in this area of Spain. Then Sad Hill was forgotten for nearly five decades. But in 2014, a group of local people decided to restore the site to its former glory. They called themselves the Sad Hill Cultural Association and after locating the exact cemetery spot, with the help of photographs from the film's final scene, in 2015 they set about the painstaking process of excavating the site. "At the start it seemed like it was going to be impossible, but bit by bit people from other provinces of Spain, other towns, and even other countries, came to help us rebuild the cemetery and it snowballed," says David Alba, the 35-year-old president of the association. Aficionados could help finance the project by paying €15 (£13; $18) to have their name painted onto one of the wooden crosses. Mr Alba remembers a key moment early in the excavation. "We were digging in the ground and we saw that underneath the earth were the original stones of the central circle of the site, the place where all the actors, the director and all the technicians had walked across during the filming," he says. "It was like digging in the ground and finding treasure." Documenting the entire process was filmmaker Guillermo de Oliveira. He recently finished filming a documentary, Sad Hill Unearthed, telling the story of the cemetery's restoration. It is due for release later this year. But two years ago, Sad Hill looked nothing like this. There were no crosses to be seen and cows roamed across the site, which looked like just another overgrown, grassy meadow. In addition, there are interviews with some of the key personalities from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly itself, including composer Ennio Morricone and Eastwood, who declared himself delighted that the cemetery had been restored. Cemetery in Santo Domingo de Silos, Spain. www.tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowUserReviews-g1026159-d10417076-... Spaghetti Western filming locations revisited Sad Hill Unearthed is our first feature film: a full length documentary about the reconstruction of the cemetery built 50 years ago in Spain for the final scene in The Good the Bad and the Ugly. www.youtube.com/watch?v=BrEQPe7l6zU The Good, The Bad and the Ugly - Sad Hill Cemetery Revisited - FILMING LOCATION www.youtube.com/watch?v=nw-AO3-Yz8o The Good, the Bad and the Ugly ( FILMING LOCATION VIDEO ) Leone Eastwood Ennio Morricone theme song www.youtube.com/watch?v=yjDBUL_zhqs Once Upon a Time In the West ( filming location video ) Ennio Morricone Leone Fonda Bronson www.youtube.com/watch?v=LwIJiSXgYjQ For a Few Dollars More ( FILMING LOCATION VIDEO) Eastwood Sergio Leone Ennio Morricone theme song www.youtube.com/watch?v=b__itYJkcsE

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