It is strange that a melodrama is often disregarded as a genre mostly for females as it may be as strong and influential for the male population as well. It may be unwise to define melodrama through a single rather derogatory term “chick flick” or “soap opera.” A melodrama can be memorable and difficult to perceive with a calm heart and mind even for the most hardened men. Male weepies differ from females ones through several important aspects. Unlike female weepies, male melodramas do reconcile in the end. Male melodrama also rarely relies on the open finale opting for a clearly explained plot resolutions for the characters. Another trait worth mentioning is that the main character of a mail melodrama motion picture can find a compromise between two radically different aspects of life, which are different to the extent that they rip his life and personality in half (Melodrama). The main unifying factor between male and female weepies is that both are “emoting as any romance” with the only difference that male melodramas “are presumably ennobled by their grim view of life as annihilation and despair” (Hornblow 1).
It is interesting that the crying in male weepies does not concern men per se. The role of crying is still relegated to women surrounding them (Modleski 136). Male weepies possess many features, which are atypical for an average melodrama, which immediately comes to mind: action, thrills, and chill and the typical sentimental feelings so characteristic of female melodrama are often deliberately veiled. However, if examined closely, such “manly” films as “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly” or “Saving Private Ryan” have a great deal of sentimentality to them. Ryan bursts into tears when he sees the grave of the man who went through a lot to save him.
Clint Eastwood has always been known for the production of male weepies, most notable being the aforementioned western and “The Million Dollar Baby.” There is lots of melodrama and suffering in the western, particularly for Tuco and Blondie. They constantly try to outwit each other. First, Tuco is in an inferior position and is constantly at the mercy of Blondie. The latter then is subject to complete power of Tuco and has to suffer immensely when forced to march across the desert. The ultimate melodramatic in the film happens when Blondie gets the upper hand again and seems about to kill the Ugly. The tragedy and the amount of despair in Tuco’s screams and eyes is immeasurable. He almost bursts into tears when he realizes that his plans and strives have all been in vain. He breaks down and pleads for mercy and his share of gold. This situation is as melodramatic as it gets – a man is heartbroken, and all of his aspirations have turned out to be fruitless. The film is built in such a way that the negative characters may receive sympathy from the viewer. Angel Eyes meets an untimely death, and Tuco suffers a breakdown. Blondie is the only one to come out of all perilous situations as a winner. The finale provides the primary difference not evident in female weepies – Blondie spares Tuco yet one more time and leaves him his share of gold, leaving Tuco utterly stressed out and enraged.
As is evident, action and suspense may be used to show that men are also fragile, human, and are not made of steel. The film was never associated with a melodrama upon the time of its release. It was only through the retrospective vision, from the modern point of view, when gender roles have changed so much that it became clear – the film is much more emotional than it might seem.