Clint Eastwood

    The following text was originally a composition in English about Clint Eastwood. I imported it to Internet 18.5.1996 because it obviously seemed to be a more alluring way to spend spare time than schoolwork :-). I am ready to make modifications to its context (e.g. make it more comprehensive) if I notice that some people really visit this page or if I am otherwise encouraged to do so. Mail me!

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The Great Eastwood Projekti in English

Created and written by Antti Ivanoff

Contents


Introduction

    Clint Eastwood is one of Hollywood's famous stars. When we hear his name, we probably come to think of the numerous westerns and other films in which he has starred. Clint's international breakthrough came with "spaghetti westerns" directed by Sergio Leone: A Fistful of Dollars (1964), For a Few Dollars More (1965) and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1966) where he played The Man With No Name - "a laconic, but fearless gunfighter". During his long and prosperous career Clint Eastwood has, in addition to starring in many popular movies, also successfully operated as a director and a producer.

    Even if the opening paragraph is intended to be convincing, there might still be room left for a formal question: Why Eastwood?

    The answer is simple: During my time as a child and a teenager, a total of seventeen years, I have seen almost every one of his major movies. In this quest I have received help from the Finnish television broadcasting companies, Filmnet (a pay-channel), local cinemas with Dolby stereo, and a nearby movie-rental. This troublesome task has made me sacrifice many hours of first-class, entertaining dreams and many hundred metres of expensive magnetic tape. It would really have been a pity if this enormous amount of work had been done for nothing. This was also a great opportunity to convince my mother of the necessity of television.

    I must make two points clear before continuing. The first is that I have not treated all the things that concern Mr. Eastwood to their full extent, I have skipped or abbreviated some important things, since they didn't seem so interesting to me. But on the other hand this isn't even ment to be a complete book. The fact is that there is very much to tell about Clint's movies. A company called Starwave has just recently published a two CD-ROM compilation about everything related to him. The second is that I am not a total Clint Eastwood freak, obsessed with everything that bears his name. The only major fault that I have is that I like many of his movies which have been declared totally invalid by the movie critics.

The Beginning

    Clint Eastwood was born on 30th May, 1930 in San Francisco, California. In his early years the family moved a lot due to the fact that Clint's father, Clinton Eastwood, was unable to find a permanent job. Clint's younger sister Jean and mother Ruth were of course obliged to make company. Later Clint studied at the Oakland Technical High School and graduated 1948. At that time Clint was not at all interested in an acting career and had completely different aspects for his future life.

    Clint Eastwood joined the army in 1949. He had passed the preceding year by doing various kinds of outdoor jobs, like cutting lumber. During his time in the army Clint made acquaintance with his future wife Maggie Johnson. Another thing worth mentioning of his army years is that Clint nearly lost his life in a plane accident.

    After the army time Eastwood decided to continue educating himself; he enrolled in Los Angeles City College to major in business administration. During his "spare time" Clint found himself digging swimming pools.

    Some of Clint's friends had in the course of years eagerly recommended Clint an acting career. He decided finally to give it a try and went to Universal Studios without any high hopes. Clint was hired and given quite a good salary. His first assignment was to play a bit part in a minor horror film titled The Revenge of The Creature (the sequel to the cult movie Creature from the Blue Lagoon). Clint's next appointments were small roles in such movies as Tarantula and Lady Godiva.

    After signing the acting contract, and thus ensuring regular income, Clint married Maggie Johnson on 19th December, 1953.

    Clint Eastwood was far from an instant movie star and his career has not been mere success. Universal Studios dropped his contract because they felt they didn't have any use for him at all. Clint moved to a B-Movie studio, called RKO, where he starred in movies entitled The First Travelling Saleslady and Escapade in Japan. These movies had no great success and after a while the studio was out of business.

    After starring in a less brilliant 20th Century Fox western, Ambush at Cimarron Pass, in 1958, Clint was once again digging swimming pools. His career seemed to be in a constant down slope, but it came to a change, when he fortunately got a role in a western series called Rawhide, produced by CBS. After that they started running the show, which collected good enough ratings. The second season turned out to be a success. The basic storyline of the series involved the adventures of a group of cowboys on a seemingly endless cattle drive. Clint starred as Rawdy Yates, the second lead character.

Spaghetti Westerns

    In early 1964, during a pause in the shooting of Rawhide, Clint was offered a role in a movie titled The Magnificent Stranger, a German-Italian-Spanish production with an Italian director, Sergio Leone. At first he was not very interested, as he didn't believe that a European studio could manage to produce a successful and realistic American western, but after reading the script he was more than willing to accept the role. He also got a chance to see Europe with his wife Maggie on this expense-paid trip.

    The film was a remake of Akira Kurosawa's (a Japanese movie-maker) Yojimbo. Clint had great liberty in creating the personality of his character, The Man With No Name. Clint's role in Rawhide was at the moment quite sheepish, and thatís said to be the reason why The Man With No Name turned out to be completely the opposite - "a laconic, and fearless gunfighter".

    Clint Eastwood didn't initially have high hopes concerning the success of the film. His surprise was enormous when it later turned out that they had renamed the movie A Fistful of Dollars, and that it was a real hit in Europe.

    The sequel to the film, For a Few Dollars More, was filmed in 1965. Clint was again starring as The Man With No Name and Sergio Leone directing. The main plot in the movie was quite similar to the predecessors and it didn't offer anything new or astonishing. The movie was nevertheless a great success in Europe, and the audiences loved it.

    Meanwhile in America Clint's interest in Rawhide was falling and it wasn't a big shock for him that the series was cancelled in 1966. The series had successfully run for nine years, which had been a great achievement.

    The third, and the last film of the Man With No Name series, was filmed in 1966. Eastwood was paid $250.000 for this film, which was a big amount at the time (more than four times what he received for the previous two films together). The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly turned out to be the greatest success of them all. It was one of the highest-grossing films of the decade in Italy and a real international success.

    Personally I think that this film is the best western of all time. It really has an atmosphere of its own with a great plot, good actors, enchating scenery, and the best kind of Ennio Morricone music playing in the background.

    The main characters in the film are The Man With No Name, Tuco (Eli Wallach) and Sotenzo (Lee van Cleef). They are all eager to get their hands on a fortune in Confederated gold. The problem is that it lies buried somewhere, and they all possess only one piece of the vital information of its location. They have no intention of sharing the gold but still, they need each other.

    The film contains many unforgettable scenes and is really a must for everyone, fortunately they rerun it on TV quite often.

    This trilogy was later shown in America by Universal Artists. The first two were shown in 1966 and the last one in 1968. These films didn't charm the critics, partly because of their great amount of violence, and they got utterly rubbish reviews, but they were loved by the audience. America had found a new hero - Clint Eastwood.

Forwards on the Career

    Eastwood started to encounter demand also in his home-country. He had become a name in the western genre and in 1968 he starred in a western called Hang 'Em High. The film was once again lynched by the critics, but still, I think it's quite a good western. The film showed profit and Clint was really getting forward on his career.

    1968 turned out to be a really hectic year for him. He founded Malpaso, a production company of his own. It has been involved in every Clint Eastwood movie ever since with good success. The main idea behind the founding of this company was that Clint thought that the big companies were wasting far too much money on everything. He believed that he could produce first-rate films efficiently, with minimum costs. In the 1970s, when the company began to work at full gear, it turned out to be true.

    The same year Clint made acquaintance with the director Don Siegel. Since then they have made many movies together, and they have become great personal friends. The first movie that they made together was Coogan's Bluff, a "modernday western". This film is said to be one of the high points in both men's career, but I don't recall that I would have seen it or, truthfully, even heard about it.

    Where Eagles Dare, a World War II movie, was Clint's next project. It turned out to be a blockbuster, and after a couple of years after this success he returned to the WW2 theme with the movie Kelly's Heroes.

    In 1970 Clint joined forces again with Don Siegel in the western Two Mules for Sister Sara. Sara is quite an extraordinary nun (in fact she is not a nun at all) who gets a mercenary, played by Clint, to protect herself against different kinds of mishaps. The main happening in the film is that the mercenary saves a whole willage, thanks to the persuasion of Sister Sara. I think that this is quite a pleasant western with no special advantages. The real critics did of course not like it at all.

    Every film that Clint starred seemed to be a certain "winner", but the next film made with Don Siegel turned out to be an exception. The Beguilded was in many ways a really different movie; it was well made and the critics praised it, the sad thing was that the audience didn't like it.

    Ever since the days of the Rawhide series Clint had been interested in directing a movie. During his active acting career he learned a lot about film making techniques by observing directors in action, and in 1971 Clint made his debut behind the camera. The filmís title was Play Misty for Me, a psychodrama with a lot of suspense, and Clint had of course an important role in the movie, too. The film was a success both critically and financially.

Big Business

    Dirty Harry (1971), directed by Don Siegel, was the biggest hit of Clint's career up to that time. In this famous action movie Clint plays the role of policeman Harry Callahan, who is trying to catch the vicious murderer Scorpio, who is extorting a whole city.

    The success of this Dirty Harry movie was a clear indication that it would get sequels. Magnum Force was released in 1973, The Enforcer in 1976, Sudden Impact in 1983 and The Dead Pool 1988.

    All of the Dirty Harry movies were loved by the audience and got great publicity from all except the critics. After the extremely successful Sudden Impact 1983 Clint said that it would be the last of this series. For some reason, probably money, Eastwood was unable to resist the temptation of adding one more film to the series. Despite the fact that Clint was already quite old to be a field police, The Dead Pool was filmed in 1988. Harry Callahan is a character to remember, even though he assumably wonít return to duty anymore. His expressions like "Do you feel lucky, punk ?" and "Go ahead, make my day!" have been exported as quotations to the daily life of the English-speaking, and people will probably continue to use them.

    For some reason, though, I have never specially liked this Harry Callahan person. I don't say that these movies would be bad but somehow they don't appeal to me as much as many other Eastwood films. Perhaps it's because in my eyes the "real" Clint Eastwood lives somewhere in the region of Arizona and Texas in the 19th century, or maybe it could be true that even the film critics sometimes stumble over the right judgement.

    The 1970s was overall a good time for Clint Eastwood. He was able to reach the top, and didn't have to be concerned about digging swimming pools anymore. In order to keep abreast with the market, and to make good profits, Clint constantly made movies. The same pace continued in the 1980s. The scripts that Clint touched had the odd nature of being transformed into pure gold.

    Clint Eastwood wanted to develop as an actor and decided to star in a "broad slapstick comedy" Every Which Way but Loose (1978). This film was a great success and made more money than he could ever have dreamt about. It is a story about Philo Beddoe, a guy who earns money by challenging the toughest men in various towns to fistfights, and his eleven-year-old orangutan, Clyde. This movie, too, got a sequel in 1980: Any Which Way You Can.

    In 1979 Eastwood made the famous movie: Escape from Alcatraz. It is a really thrilling film about convicts and their attempt to escape from the maximum-security prison Alcatraz. The film makes a good general expression and I think that Clint Eastwood really plays his role as Frank Morris with great talent. This movie was praised by the critics and it was a small wonder that it didn't win an Oscar.

Western movies

    Clint Eastwood is truly one of the greatest names of the western genre. In 1972 he starred in Joe Kidd and the next year in High Plains Drifter. High Plains Drifter is a really good western, where Clint plays the role of the mysterious Stranger. The Stranger arrives in a small, typical western movie town of Lago. The town people are about to get into big trouble with a gang of bandits and their only hope seems to be the very suspicious stranger.

    A couple of weeks ago they showed the western The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976) on TV. In this film Clint plays the role of Josey Wales, whose wife and son are killed in the beginning of the story. During the rest of the film he seeks for vengeance, with the military at his heals.

    In 1980 Clint directed the film Bronco Billy, and played a lead role in it. The last of Clint's traditional westerns was The Pale Rider (1985). It's probably needless to say that I liked it a lot but, but...

Otherwise

    Clint Eastwood's "trademarks" during his career have been many. His way of acting is well defined in Encyclopaedia Britannica:

    "Eastwood's style of acting was minimally expressive, and his films rarely drew much praise from critics, but he had a strong, resonant screen presence that guaranteed him success at the box office. His standard role was that of a tough, competent loner whose violent behaviour nevertheless conforms to his own understated moral principles"
    Encyclopaedia Britannica

    Clint Eastwood has also succeeded in making a career as a director. Many of his films have received good criticism and he is widely admired. He has often managed to finish his movies with minimal costs ahead of the time schedule. He is also said to be a nice person to work with and people have mostly positive things to say about him.

His Recent Life

    In the 1980s Clint Eastwood was a really big factor in the movie making business. He worked as a producer, director, and as an actor in many successful movies

    In the beginning of the 1990s it seemed to many that Clint Eastwood's days of stardom were ending. His latest films The Rookie (1990), White Hunter, Black Hearth (1990), Pink Cadillac (1989) and Bird (1988) had not been smash hits. Some of them had appealed to the critics but none to the public.

    This kind of thoughts came definitively to an end in 1992 when Unforgiven got its premiere; a western movie with Clint Eastwood in the leading role; actor, producer and director. The main character in the movie is William Munny, an ex. gunfighter who had kept himself busy by cattling pigs and taking care of his two children. The plot in the movie portrays William Munny, and two of his partners, on a mission to revenge a hooker's maltreater.

    Unforgiven won four Academy Awards including best director, best picture, and best supporting actor. Even If Clint Eastwood has had a long and prosperous career this was the first time when Clint Eastwood received an Oscar.

    Clint's success has continued with the movies In the Line of Fire (1993), as seen on TV a couple of moments ago, and Bridges of Madison County (1995). Some time ago a new Clint movie was released; Absolute Power ("A career criminal witnesses the murder of the President's mistress by the Secret Service.."). More info concerning Clint's recent actions will be added after some time .... hopefully.

    Despite being quite aged Clint is still considered quite handsome by many women and he even seems to have a social life. Clint Eastwood and Diana Ruiz, a 30-year-old news reporter, were pronounced husband and wife March 31st, 1995.

IMAGE COLLECTION

    Some other Clint Eastwood pages are filled with images ... and I didn't want to be totally different. Here are a couple of unique scans ... or at least they were once upon a time.


Belgian poster
[120K]

Computer Life cover
[94K]

Children's book
[109K]



Asianomainen ei ota vastuuta toiminnastaan aiheutuneista välillisistä kustannuksista tai tulonmenetyksistä, kadonneista postilähetyksistä, maanjäristyksistä, kansannousuista tai suomalaisten urheilijoiden huonosta menestyksestä kansainvälisillä urheiluareenoilla. Donald Duck is a fictious character whose actions should not be imitated. Copyright infringement is a crime. The Finnish constitutional law protects the criminals. Oikeudet muutoksiin pidätetään. Last updated 11.5.1997. Copyright 1997 Antti Ivanoff.

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