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clint eastwood
(born 1930)

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eastwood


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"We bury our sins, we wash them clean."
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biography

      In the Sixties and Seventies Clint Eastwood seemed too good to be true. He transformed himself overnight from a smiling cowboy in a TV series into a deadly, inscrutable fantasy hero idolized by millions. Whatever he touched turned to gold, and so the biggest star in the world also became a highly successful director - and his popularity never diminishes

    Clint Eastwood 1970s Japanese Stickers

    Clint Eastwood autographs, dvds, photographs, dvds and more @ ebay.com (direct link to signed items) - just checked and a bigger selection than I have seen everywhere else

    There was an unexpected box-office lapse in the summer of 1980 - Bronco Billy didn't do very well. It should have been reliable business with Clint Eastwood's brushed leather face beneath a dashing white cowboy hat. He was surrounded by the people from previous hits. His deadpan reaction to mishap was funny, without destroying his authority. Bronco Billy had the air of a happy summer movie, as full of fights, laughs and male self-congratulation as Every Which Way But Loose (1978), the Eastwood Christmas film of two years before and a hit beyond anyone's wildest dreams. The latter was a departure: it was the first Eastwood film to try comedy action, as if to say, 'Look, this guy is 48, and he can't go around stomping on everyone for much longer'. It gave Clint an orang-utan to tuck under one arm, while the other retained its gentlemanly hold on Sondra Locke. The successful formula was repeated with Any Which Way You Can (1980), but Bronco Billy had been the first film to raise the possibility that Eastwood is not infallible.

    eastwood

    The Man With Few Failures

    He continued to enjoy unrivalled success at the box-office throughout the 1970s. Not every picture triumphed - one of the best, The Beguiled (1971), was too sardonic to please his following - but they all went about their business of entertaining large audiences. For four decades, Eastwood's films have mostly been successful, even though critics such as Pauline Kael were alarmed by what they felt lay beneath the surface of such violent cop movies as Dirty Harry (1971). Eastwood himself was quiet, unstarry and inclined to stay at home at Carmel, California, rather than play the talk shows. With an occassional sortie into local politics, he had gone from being actor to star to director and boss of his own company, Malpaso. That tight-knit operation took big profits from his popular pictures.

    No-one has ever begrudged him this glory. He handles himself gracefully, especially because he has acted on the notion that turning out pleasant movies is not that difficult. His pictures are not expensive and they never strive after the difficult or the pretentious. In the 1950s he was a good-looking Californian kid with hair like James Dean's and swimming-pool blue eyes. He would look better as he matured, but if it hadn't been for the shyness of someone who had reached six foot by the age of 13, he might have carried showbiz on the strength of beauty alone. Not since Gary Cooper had an American male in pictures had it in his power to stop the breath of men and women in the audience alike. No matter how tough the roles, the skin, the eyes and the very soft voice have hinted at a Malibu Apollo.

    eastwood

    For a very few dollars . . .

    He was born in San Francisco in 1930. The family was poor and Clint went from high school to manual labour, laying down the basis for that lean body. He was an army swimming instructor at Ford Ord, and then he started to study business at Los Angeles College. But physique and looks earned him offers from Universal - a starting contract at $75 a week. In 1955, he got a couple of walk-on parts in movies, including Francis in the Navy, starring Donald O'Connor and a talking mule.

    Those were tough days. Clint looked too healthy and he spoke too clearly to fit the Brando style. He was in and out of work, taking acting classes by night and doing labouring jobs in the day. The body got harder, but he didn't put much faith in lessons or theory:

      'The basic fundamental of learning acting is to know yourself, know what you can do. That's one big advantage of doing a series, if you can. You get to see yourself a lot, get to see what you can do wrong or right.'

    His television series was Rawhide, and the role of Rowdy Yates was no more than an outline that a young actor could inhabit in front of the camera. Over two hundred episodes in seven seasons provided Eastwood with that necessary view of himself. Now he is one of few screen stars with the instinctive assurance of knowing how a scene should be filmed. His face, his minimal reactions and his timing are a style such as Cooper and Bogart had possessed before him.

    Even on Rawhide, he was asking to direct some episodes. Eric Fleming, the lead star on the show, had no problems with Clint's ambitions. But CBS and the unions were very touchy and they restricted him to trailers. Still, it is a mark of Eastwood's love of movies that the urge to make them came early, apparently on a day when a stampede scene was being shot from a safe distance and Clint wondered why he couldn't carry a camera on horseback into the herd.

    He could have been numbered with James Arness, Robert Horton or, indeed, Eric Fleming - stars in Western series who retired, got trapped in television, or in the case Fleming, died in 1966 on the slide. Clint proved his initiative with what seemed an affront to Hollywood tradition. He went to Spain to make a Western for an Italian director. It was called Per un Pugno di Dollari (1964, A Fistful of Dollars) and he did it for S15.000: if the 'spaghetti' Western had proved cold and greasy the actor would have been thrown out in the garbage.

    eastwood

    Leone and the language of death

    However, the film was a huge, international hit that changed Eastwood's life and, in the Man With No Name, created a role model that still works in TV advertising. The film was made by Sergio Leone, whose English was as limited as Clint's Italian. But they got on well and understood that the image of a laconic but lethal man musing on a cheroot until blazing guns appeared from beneath his serape, could be sensational.

    The costume was bought by Eastwood in America. He conceived the character, and he rewrote or cut many of his lines. A Fistful of Dollars and its sequels - Per Qualche Dollaro in Piu (1966, For a Few Dollars More) and Il Buono, il Brutto, il Cattivo (1967, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly) - were full of pregnant pauses just because of the language problem on set, but that only stimulated Leone's visual imagination and allowed Clint to become an awesome assassin, above words, a face always gazing into the sun so that the eyes seemed to be glints of some rare and impervious metal. A ruthless, implacable honour grew around the silence and the eyes that would not look away. The movies were like mescal dreams, poised wonderfully between suspense and absurdity.

    In later years, Clint was often willing to have his super-hero outsmarted - by women, an elderly Indian and that orang-utan. But that's not new. Leone's films were very violent, and they played the action straight - if that's the way you wanted to read it. Yet the exaggerated compositions, the mannered acting and the feeling of time oozing out as slowly as ketchup all suggested a satiric attitude on the part of the director and his star.

    The Dollars trilogy kept Clint occupied in the mid-Sixties. When he returned to America, he set about making this new kind of Western at home: Hang 'Em High (1968), Two Mules for Sister Sara (1970), Joe Kidd (1972) and High Plains Drifter (1973) are all in the same vein. The lesson that he had learned was that the outsider hero suited him - not just a nameless figure, but a man without known allegiances. In 1968, for the first time, he teamed up with Don Siegel, a director of twenty years hard-earned experience and an expert story-teller with a predilection for toughness. Siegel had always found Hollywood stars squeamish when asked to be mean, but Clint was different:

      'Eastwood has an absolute fixation as an anti-hero. It's his credo in life and in all the films that he's done so far . . . I've never worked with an actor who was less conscious of his good image.'

    Coogan's Bluff - about an Arizona cop who comes on a manhunt to New York - isn't quite that heartless, but it did exploit the novelty of that handsome face snarling with hostility, of the Eastwood hero coolly laying any woman around. Siegel would be as important to Eastwood as Leone, but there were a few years of hesitation before the new partnership clicked. Eastwood was overshadowed by Richard Burton in Brian Button's Where Eagles Dare (1968) and by Lee Marvin in Joshua Logan's Paint Your Wagon (1969).

    eastwood

    Play dirty for Siegel

    The year in which he emerged as a Hollywood giant was 1971. For Siegel he acted in The Beguiled, about a fugitive in the American Civil War taken in by a household of women who take sweet vengeance on his complacent stud attitudes by amputating his injured leg. Then he directed his first film, Play Misty for Me, a slick thriller about a disc jockey who is haunted and nearly killed by a woman who phones up with the request of the title. In both these pictures Clint was making himself the victim of women, and surely that owed itself to the good humour of a happily married man (at the time) lusted after by so many strangers.

    Dirty Harry, though, was the major event of 1971, and the most controversial film he has ever made. Siegel's direction guaranteed its impact, but the subject went beyond mere entertainment. Dirty Harry Callahan is a San Francisco cop with an old-fashioned belief in the law and the will that must enforce it. The film is in two parts: first Harry tracks down a loathsome killer, a nasty mixture of spoiled kid psychopath and glib hippy: but then bureaucracy and the technicalities of the law let the killer go free whereupon Harry makes a private war on him, eliminating him with prejudice and then tossing away his police badge in disgust.

    Some people felt that the picture encouraged vigilante fascism, that it was urging less liberal law-and-order programmes (Eastwood had backed Nixon in 1968). But the picture is more the manifestation of a very independent, romantic morality that shows in the star's aversion to publicity, extravagance and institutions:

      'We, as Americans, went to Nuremberg and convicted people who committed certain crimes because they didn't adhere to a higher morality: we convicted them on that basis - and they shouldn't have listened to the law of the land or their leaders at that time. They should have listened to the true morality.'

    eastwood

    Softening the blows

    It seems likely that he was affected by complaints about the violence in Dirty Harry and its successors, Magnum Force (1973), The Enforcer (1976), The Gauntlet (1977), Sudden Impact (1983) and The Dead Pool (1988). His anti-hero has mellowed to become a more relaxed, more amused and marginally less robust observer. That was the process of tolerance that worked so well in The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976), in which a righteous moral anger softens with time to become aware of foibles, frailty and humour. In many ways it is his most adventurous picture, a sign of the kindness he is often too shy or laid back to reveal.

    Nor would anyone have expected Breezy (1973) from Eastwood. With William Holden and Kay Lenz, that was the story of a September-May romance, shamelessly sentimental but touching, solidly grounded and well acted. For Clint it was about a man who 'rediscovers life through the eyes of this young girl'. It was the first hint that he might be fearful of growing older, and it could have been a prelude to his own romantic interest in Sondra Locke. He resisted confessions or the gossip press, but for some time he worked with the younger, blonde actress who had not really acted for anyone but Eastwood (though the failure of Bronco Billy apparently was the beginning of the end of that relationship and ended in the mother of all nasty break-ups on Locke's part).

    In the 1980s, Eastwood continued to direct and star in at least one big film a year, usually in his established Western genre, but occassionally making forays into other styles. Firefox (1982), for instance, took him to Eastern Europe to steal the blueprints for a new plane, while Heartbreak Ridge (1987) was set against the background of the Korean war. In 1985, the 'man with no name' returned as a preacher in Pale Rider, this time to defend the local community against the bad guys. Meanwhile, Eastwood took on that role himself and became, for a time, the Mayor of his local Californian town of Carmel.

    In the mid-eighties Clint made some solid movies but nothing really stuck out. Tightrope (1984), City Heat (1984) (with Burt Reynolds) and others were solid but not classic films. In 1988 Eastwood did his fifth and up to this point final Dirty Harry movie, the aforementioned The Dead Pool (1988). Although it was a success overall it did not have the box office punch his previous films had.

    About this time with outright bombs like The Rookie (1990) and Pink Cadillac (1989), it was fairly obvious Eastwood's star was declining as it never had before. He then started taking on more personal projects such as directing Bird (1988), a biopic of Charlie 'Bird' Parker, and starring in and directing White Hunter Black Heart (1990), an uneven, loose biography of John Huston. But Eastwood surprised yet again. First with his western, Unforgiven (1992), which garnered him an Oscar for director, and nomination for best actor. Then he took on the secret service in In the Line of Fire (1993), which was a big hit, followed by the interesting, but poorly received drama, A Perfect World (1993), with Kevin Costner. Next up was a love story, The Bridges of Madison County (1995), a wistful and beautifully told love story.

    Since The Bridges of Madison County, his films have been good, but not always successful at the Box Office. Among them were the badly received True Crime (1999) and Blood Work (2002), and the well received Space Cowboys (2000). But he did have a big success directing Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1997).

    In 2003 he directed Mystic River, an Oscar winning film which filmgoers loved or loathed.

    Eastwood has seven children, and has been married twice, and had a long time relationship with frequent co-star Sondra Locke.

  • Flags Of Our Fathers / Letters From Iwo Jima
  • Heartbreak Ridge
  • Kelly's Heroes



Screen Calendar 1981 - Clint Eastwood
Japanese Screen Calendar 1981
Wonderful Photos
Fully Scanned here



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eastwood




c l i n t   e a s t w o o d   d v d s  ]
Clint Eastwood autographs, dvds, photographs, dvds and more @ ebay.com (direct link to signed items) - just checked and a bigger selection than I have seen everywhere else


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biography | books | dvds | posters | videos
movie rarities in stock
clint eastwood
richard burton | lee marvin | meryl streep
yul brynner | james coburn | steve mcqueen
paul newman | robert redford

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