Clint Eastwood

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According to the CBS press release forRawhide, Universal (known then as Universal-International) film company happened to be shooting in Fort Ord and an enterprising assistant spotted Eastwood and invited him to meet the director.However, the key figure, according to his official biography, was a man named Chuck Hill, who was stationed in Fort Ord and had contacts in Hollywood.While in Los Angeles, Hill had become reacquainted with Eastwood and managed to sneak Eastwood into a Universal studio, where he showed him to cameraman Irving Glassberg .Glassberg was impressed with Eastwood's appearance and stature and believed him to be "the sort of good looking young man that has traditionally done well in the movies".

Glassberg arranged for director Arthur Lubin to meet Eastwood at the gas station where he was working in the evenings in Los Angeles.Lubin, like Glassberg, was highly impressed and promptly arranged for Eastwood's first audition. However, he was somewhat less enthusiastic after seeing the audition, remarking, "He was quite amateurish. He didn't know which way to turn or which way to go or do anything".Lubin nevertheless told Eastwood not to give up, suggesting that he attend drama classes, and later arranging for an initial contract for Eastwood in April 1954 at $100 a week.Some people in Hollywood, including Eastwood's wife Maggie, were suspicious of Lubin's intentions. Lubin was homosexual, and he maintained a close friendship with Eastwood in the years that followed.After signing, Eastwood was initially criticised for his speech and awkward manner; he was soft spoken and, when performing in front of people, was cold, stiff, and awkward.Fellow talent school actor John Saxon described Eastwood as "being like a kind of hayseed. Thin, rural, with a prominent Adam's Apple , very laconic and slow speechwise."

Eastwood at the Universal talent school in 1954

In May 1954, Eastwood made his first real audition, trying out for a part inSix Bridges to Cross, a film about the Brinks robbery that would mark the debut of actor Sal Mineo . Director Joseph Pevney was not impressed by Eastwood's acting and rejected him for any role.Later Eastwood tried out forBrigadoon,The Constant Nymph,Bengal BrigadeandThe Seven Year Itchin May 1954,Sign of the Pagan(June),Smoke Signal(August) andAbbott and Costello Meet the Keystone Kops(September), all without success.He was eventually given a minor role by director Jack Arnold inRevenge of the Creature, a film set in the Amazon jungle, which was the sequel toThe Creature from the Black Lagoon, released just months earlier.

In September 1954, Eastwood worked for three weeks on Arthur Lubin'sLady Godiva of Coventryin which he donned a medieval costume, and screen tested for the role with Olive Sturgess ,and then in February 1955, won a role playing "Jonesy", a sailor inFrancis in the Navyand his salary was raised to $300 a week for the four weeks of shooting.He again appeared in a Jack Arnold film,Tarantula, with a small role as a squadron pilot, again uncredited.In May 1955, Eastwood put four hours work into the filmNever Say Goodbye, in which he again plays a white coated technician uttering a single line and again had a minor uncredited role as a ranch hand (his first western film) in August 1955 withLaw Man, also known asStars in the Dust.He gained experience behind the set, watching productions and dubbing and editing sessions of other films at Universal Studios, notably the Montgomery Clift filmA Place in the Sun.Universal presented him with his first TV role with a small television debut on NBC 'sAllen in Movielandon July 2, 1955, starring actors such as Tony Curtis and Benny Goodman .Although his records at Universal revealed his development, Universal terminated his contract on October 23, 1955,leaving Eastwood gutted and blaming casting director Robert Palmer , on whom he would exact revenge years later, when Palmer came looking for employment at his Malpaso Company . Eastwood rejected him.

On the recommendation of Betty Jane Howarth, Eastwood soon joined new publicity representatives, the Marsh Agency, who had represented actors such as Adam West and Richard Long .Although Eastwood's contract with Lubin had ended, he was important in landing Eastwood his biggest role to date; a featured role in the Ginger Rogers – Carol Channing western comedy,The First Traveling Saleslady.Eastwood played a recruitment officer for Teddy Roosevelt 's Rough Riders. He would also play a pilot in another of Lubin's productions,Escapade in Japanand would make several TV appearances under Lubin even into the early 1960s.As Eastwood grew in success, he never spoke to Lubin again until 1992, shortly after winning his Oscar forUnforgiven, when Eastwood promised a lunch that never happened.

Without the Lubin contract in the meantime, however, Eastwood was struggling.He was financially advised by Irving Leonard and, under Leonard's influence, changed talent agencies in rapid succession: the Kumin-Olenick Agency in 1956 and Mitchell Gertz in 1957. He landed a small role as a temperamental army officer for a segment of ABC 'sReader's Digestseries, broadcast in January 1956, and later that year, a motorcycle gang member on aHighway Patrolepisode.In 1957, Eastwood played a cadet who becomes involved in a skiing search and rescue in the 'White Fury' installment of theWest Pointseries. He also appeared in an episode of the prime time seriesWagon Trainand played a suicidal gold prospector inDeath Valley Days.In 1958, he played a Navy lieutenant in a segment ofNavy Logand in early 1959 made a notable guest appearance as a cowardly villain, intent on marrying a rich girl for money, inMaverick.

Eastwood was credited for his roles in several more films. He auditioned for the filmThe Spirit of St. Louis, a Billy Wilder biopic about aviator Charles Lindbergh . He was rejected and the role went to Jimmy Stewart , who put on makeup to make him look younger. He did, however, have a small part as an aviator in the French pictureLafayette Escadrille, and played an ex-renegade in the Confederacy inAmbush at Cimarron Pass, his biggest screen role to date opposite Scott Brady . His part was shot in nine days for Regal Films Inc. Out of frustration, he said after watching it at the premiere, "It was sooo bad. I just kept sinking lower and lower in my seat and just wanted to quit".Around the time the film was released, Eastwood described himself as feeling "really depressed" and regards it as the lowest point in his career and a point when he seriously considered quitting the acting profession.

Eastwood as Rowdy Yates inRawhide(1959–65)

In 1958, Eastwood learned from Bill Shiffrin that CBS was casting an hour-long Western series and arranged for a screen test. With screenwriter Charles Marquis Warren overlooking, Eastwood had to recite one of Henry Fonda 's monologues from the William Wellman western,The Ox-Bow Incidentin his audition.A week later, Shiffrin rang Eastwood and informed him he had won the part of Rowdy Yates inRawhide. He had successfully beaten competition such as Bing Russell and had got the break he had been looking for.

Filming began in Arizona in the summer of 1958.Although Eastwood was finally pleased with the direction of his career, he was not especially happy with the nature of his Rowdy Yates character. At this time, Eastwood was almost 30, and Rowdy was too young and too cloddish for Clint to feel comfortable with the part, privately describing Yates as "the idiot of the plains".

It took just three weeks forRawhideto reach the top 20 in the TV ratings and soon rescheduled the timeslot half an hour earlier from 7.30 -8.30 pm every Friday, guaranteeing more of a family audience.For several years it was a major success, and reached its peak as number 6 in the ratings between October 1960 and April 1961.However, success was not without its price. TheRawhideyears (1959-65) were undoubtedly the most grueling of his life, and at first, from July until April, they filmed six days a week for an average of twelve hours a day.Although it never won Emmy stature,Rawhideearned critical acclaim and won the American Heritage Award as the best Western series on TV and it was nominated several times for best episode by the Writer's and Director's Guilds.Despite appearing in all 217 episodes, Eastwood received some criticism during this period and was considered too laid back and lazy by some directors who believed he relied on his looks and just did not work hard enough.

Eastwood appeared in a western comedy seriesMaverick, in which he fought James Garner in the " Duel at Sundown " episode .AlthoughRawhidecontinued to attract notable actors such as Lon Chaney, Jr. , Mary Astor , Ralph Bellamy , Burgess Meredith , Dean Martin and Barbara Stanwyck , by late 1963Rawhidewas beginning to decline in popularity and lacked freshness in the script; it was canceled in the middle of the 1965-66 television season.


In late 1963, an offer was made to Eastwood's co-star Eric Fleming onRawhideto star in an Italian -made western (A Fistful of Dollars), originally namedThe Magnificent Stranger, to be directed in a remote region of Spain by a relative unknown at the time, Sergio Leone . The role did not pay much, and Fleming, who had always set his sights high on Hollywood stardom, rejected the offer.A variety of actors, including Charles Bronson , Steve Reeves , Richard Harrison , Frank Wolfe , Henry Fonda , James Coburn and Ty Hardin were considered for the main part in the film. Harrison suggested Clint Eastwood, whom he knew could play a cowboy convincingly.

Through Irving Leonard, the offer was made to Eastwood, who saw it as an opportunity to escapeRawhideand the States, and as a paid vacation. He signed the contract for $15,000 in wages for eleven weeks work, which also threw in a bonus of a Mercedes automobile upon completion. He arrived in Rome in May 1964.Eastwood was instrumental in creating the Man With No Name character's distinctive visual style that would appear throughout theDollarstrilogy . He brought with him black jeans he had purchased from a shop on Hollywood Boulevard which he bleached out and roughened up. The hat from a Santa Monica wardrobe firm, a leather bracelet, two Indian leather cases with dual serpentsand the trademark black cigars came from a Beverly Hills shop. According to McGilligan, Eastwood himself is a non-smoker and hated the smell of cigar smoke, though he is also seen smoking in other films, including "Coogan's Bluff" and "Gran Torino".Leone decided to use them to heavily emphasize the "look" of the mysterious stranger in the film. Leone commented, "The truth is that I needed a mask more than an actor, and Eastwood at the time only had two facial expressions: one with the hat, and one without it."

"I wanted to play it with an economy of words and create this whole feeling through attitude and movement. It was just the kind of character I had envisioned for a long time, keep to the mystery and allude to what happened in the past. It came about after the frustration of doingRawhidefor so long. I felt the less he said the stronger he became and the more he grew in the imagination of the audience.

Clint Eastwood on playing the Man With No Name character

The first interiors for the film were shot at the Cinecittà studio on the outskirts of Rome, before quickly moving to a small village in Andalusia , Spain in an area which was also used for filmingLawrence of Arabia(1962) just a few years earlier.A Fistful of Dollarswould become a benchmark in the development of the spaghetti westerns , and Leone would successfully create a new icon of a western hero, depicting a more lawless and desolate world than in traditional westerns. The film made Eastwood into a major film star in Italy.The trilogy redefined the stereotypical American image of a western hero and cowboy, creating a character gunslinger and bounty hunter which was more of an antihero than a hero and with a distinct moral ambiguity, unlike traditional heroes of western cinema in the United States such as John Wayne .

Leone hired Eastwood to star in his second film of what would become a trilogy,For a Few Dollars More(1965). Screenwriter Luciano Vincenzoni was brought in to write the script which he wrote in nine days; two bounty hunters (Eastwood and Lee Van Cleef ) pursuing a drug-addicted criminal (Volontè), planning to rob an impregnable bank.For a Few Dollars Morewas shot in the spring and summer of 1965 and again interiors of the film were shot at the Cinecittà studio in Rome before they moved to Spain again. Screenwriter Vincenzoni was very important in bringing the films to the states, given that he was fluent in English and accompanied Leone to a cinema in Rome to show the new film after completion to United Artist executives Arthur Krim and Arnold Picker . He sold the rights to the film and the third film (which was yet to be written let alone made) in advance in the states for $900,000, advancing $500,000 up front and the right to half of the profits.

In January 1966, Eastwood met with producer Dino De Laurentiis in New York City and agreed to star in a non-Western five-part anthology production namedLe stregheorThe Witchesopposite De Laurentiis' wife, actress Silvana Mangano .Eastwood's nineteen minute installment only took a few days to shoot and was not met well with critics, who described it as "no other performance of his is quite so 'un-Clintlike' ", with theNew York Timesdisparaging it as a "throwaway De Sica".

Two months after his De Sica shoot, Eastwood began working on the third Dollars film,The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, in which he again played the mysterious Man With No Name character. Lee Van Cleef was brought in again to play a ruthless fortune seeker, while Eli Wallach , a character actor noted for his appearance inThe Magnificent Seven(1960), was hired to play the cunning Mexican bandit "Tuco", although the role was originally written for Volontè, who passed on working with Leone again.The three become involved in a search for a buried cache of confederate gold buried in a cemetery by a man named Jackson, in hiding as Bill Carson. Eastwood was not initially pleased with the script and was concerned he might be upstaged by Wallach, and said to Leone, "In the first film I was alone. In the second, we were two. Here we are three. If it goes on this way, in the next one I will be starring with the American cavalry".

Eastwood wearing the iconic poncho and hat inThe Good, the Bad and the Ugly(1966)

Filming began at the Cinecittà studio in Rome again in mid-May 1966, including the opening scene between Clint and Wallach when The Man With No Name captures Tuco for the first time and sends him to jail.The production then moved on to Spain's plateau region near Burgos in the north, which would double for the extreme deep south of the United States, and again shot the western scenes in Almeria in the south.This time the production required more elaborate sets, including a town under cannon fire, an extensive prison camp and an American Civil War battlefield; and for the climax, several hundred Spanish soldiers were employed to build a cemetery with several thousand grave stones to resemble an ancient Roman circus .

"Westerns. A period gone by, the pioneer, the loner operating by himself, without benefit of society. It usually has something to do with some sort of vengeance; he takes care of the vengeance himself, doesn't call the police. Like Robin Hood. It's the last masculine frontier. Romantic myth. I guess, though it's hard to think about anything romantic today. In a Western you can think, Jesus, there was a time when man was alone, on horseback, out there where man hasn't spoiled the land yet"

Clint Eastwood on his philosophical allurance to portraying western loners

The Dollars trilogy was not shown in the United States until 1967.A Fistful of Dollarsopened in January,For a Few Dollars Morein May andThe Good, the Bad and the Uglyin December 1967.The trilogy was publicised as James Bond -type entertainment and all films were successful in American cinemas and turned Eastwood into a major film star in 1967, particularlyThe Good, the Bad and the Uglywhich eventually collected $8 million in rental earnings.However, upon release, all three were generally given bad reviews by critics (despite the select few American critics who had seen the films in Italy previously having a positive outlook) and marked the beginning of Eastwood's battle to win the respect of American film critics. Judith Crist describedA Fistful of Dollarsas "cheapjack" and believed that "it had nothing on its mind but sadism ".NewsweekdescribedFor a Few Dollars Moreas "excruciatingly dopey"and Renata Adler ofThe New York Timesremarked that it was "the most expensive, pious and repellent movie in the history of its peculiar genre".However whileTimehighlighted the wooden acting, especially Eastwood's, critics such as Vincent Canby and Bosley Crowther of theNew York Timeswere praising of Eastwood's coolness playing the tall, lone stranger;and Leone's unique style of cinematography was widely acclaimed, even by some critics who disliked the acting.

Eastwood spent much of late 1966 and 1967 dubbing for the English-language version of the films and being interviewed, something which left him feeling angry and frustrated.Stardom brought more roles in the "tough guy" mold and Irving Leornard (who would later pass away at Christmas 1969) gave him a script to a new film, the American revisionist westernHang 'Em High, a cross betweenRawhideand Leone's westerns, written by Mel Goldberg and produced by Leonard Freeman .Eastwood signed for the film with a salary of $400,000 and 25% of the net earnings to the film, playing the character of Cooper, a man accused by vigilantes of a cow baron's murder and lynched and left for dead and later seeks revenge.With the wealth generated by the Dollars trilogy, Leonard helped set up a new production company for Eastwood, Malpaso Productions , something he had long yearned for and was named after a river on Eastwood's property in Monterey County .Leonard became the company's president and arranged forHang 'Em Highto be a joint production with United Artists. Inger Stevens ofThe Farmer's Daughterfame was cast to play the role of Rachel Warren with a supporting cast which included Pat Hingle , Dennis Hopper , Ed Begley , Bruce Dern and James MacArthur . Filming began in June 1967 in the Las Cruces area of New Mexico , and additional scenes were shot at White Sands and in the interiors were shot in MGM studios.The film became a major success after release in July 1968 and with an opening day revenue of $5,241 in Baltimore alone, it became the biggest United Artists opening in history, exceeding all of the James Bond films at that time.It debuted at number five on Variety's weekly survey of top films and had made its money back within two weeks of screening.It was widely praised by critics including Arthur Winsten of theNew York Postwho describedHang 'Em Highas "A Western of quality, courage, danger and excitement".

Meanwhile, beforeHang 'Em Highhad been released, Eastwood had set to work onCoogan's Bluff, a project which saw him reunite with Universal Studios after an offer of $1 million, more than doubling his previous salary. Jennings Lang was responsible for the deal, a former agent of a director named Don Siegel , a Universal contract director who was invited to direct Eastwood's second major American film. Eastwood was not familiar with Siegel's work but Lang arranged for them to meet at Clint's residence in Carmel. Eastwood had now seen three of Siegel's earlier films and was impressed with his directing and the two became natural friends, forming a close partnership in the years that followed.The idea forCoogan's Blufforiginated in early 1967 as a TV series and the first draft was drawn up by Herman Miller and Jack Laird , screenwriters forRawhide.It is about a character called Sheriff Walt Coogan, a lonely deputy sheriff working in New York City . After Siegel and Eastwood had agreed to work together, Howard Rodman and three other writers were hired to devise a new script as the new team scouted for locations including New York and the Mojave Desert .However, Eastwood surprised the team one day by calling an impromptu meeting and professing that he strongly disliked the script, which by now had gone through seven drafts, preferring Herman Miller's original concept.This experience would also shape Eastwood's distaste for redrafting scripts in his later career.Eastwood and Siegel decided to hire a new writer, Dean Riesner , who had written for Siegel in the Henry Fonda TV filmStranger on the Runsome years previously. Don Stroud was cast as the psychopathic criminal Coogan is chasing, Lee J. Cobb as the disagreeable New York City Police Department lieutenant, Susan Clark as a probation officer who falls for Coogan and Tisha Sterling playing the drug addicted lover of Don Stroud's character.Filming began in November 1967 even before the full script had been finalized.The film was controversial for its portrayal of violence,but it had launched a collaboration between Eastwood and Siegel that lasted more than ten years, and set the prototype for the macho hero that Eastwood would play in theDirty Harryfilms.

Eastwood was paid $850,000 in 1968 for the war epicWhere Eagles Dareopposite Richard Burton .However, Eastwood initially expressed that the script drawn up by Alistair Mclean was "terrible" and was "all exposition and complications".The film was about a World War II squad parachuting into a Gestapo stronghold in the mountains, reachable only by cable car, with Burton playing the squad's commander and Eastwood his right-hand man. He was also cast as Two-Face in theBatmantelevision series, but the series was cancelled before he played the part.

In 1969, Eastwood branched out by starring in his only musical ,Paint Your Wagon. He and fellow non-singer Lee Marvin played gold miners who share the same wife (played by Jean Seberg ). Production for the film was plagued with bad weather and delays and the future of the director's career ( Joshua Logan ) was in doubt.It was extremely high budget for this period and eventually exceeded $20 million.The film was not a critical or commercial success, although it was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy .


In 1970, Eastwood starred in the western,Two Mules for Sister Sarawith Shirley MacLaine . The film, directed by Siegel, is a story about an American mercenary who gets mixed up with a whore disguised as a nun and aids a group of Juarista rebels during the puppet reign of Emperor Maximilian in Mexico .The story was initially written by Budd Boetticher , who was later sacked and replaced with Albert Maltz to revise the script.The film saw Eastwood embody the tall mysterious stranger once more, unshaven, wearing a serape-like vest and smoking a cigar and the film score was composed by Morricone.However, although the film also had Leonesque dirty Hispanic villains, the film was considerably less crude and more sardonic than those of Leone.The film, which took four months to shoot and cost around $4 million to make,received moderate reviews, and Roger Greenspun of theNew York Timesreported, "I'm not sure it is a great movie, but it is very good and it stays and grows on the mind the way only movies of exceptional narrative intelligence do". Stanley Kauffmann described the film as "an attempt to keep old Hollywood alive- a place where nunscanturn out to be disguised whores, where heroescanalways have a stick of dynamite under their vests, where every story has not one but two cute finishes. It's kind ofThe African Queengone west".The New York Timesin its book,The New York Times Guide to the Best 1000 Movies Ever MadeincludedTwo Mules for Sister Sarain its top 1000 films of all time.

Later in 1970, Eastwood appeared in the World War II movie,Kelly's Heroeswith Donald Sutherland and Telly Savalas . The film, which stars Eastwood as one of a group of Americans who steal a fortune in bullion from the Nazis , combined tough-guy action with offbeat humor. It was the last non-Malpaso film that Clint agreed to appear in.The filming commenced in July 1969 and was shot on location in Yugoslavia and London .Directed by Brian G. Hutton, the film involved hundreds of extras and dangerous special effects. The climax to the film echoes that of hisDollarsfilms when he advances in lockstep on a German tiger tank on the street of a small European town, with a Morricone-esque soundtrack by Lalo Schifrin .The film received mostly a positive reception and its anti-war sentiments were recognized.The film has a respectable 83% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes .

" Dustin Hoffman and Al Pacino play losers very well. But my audience like to be in there vicariously with a winner. That isn't always popular with critics. My characters have sensitivity and vulnerabilities, but they're still winners. I don't pretend to understand losers. When I read a script about a loser I think of people in life who are losers and they seem to want it that way. It's a compulsive philosophy with them. Winners tell themselves, I'm as bright as the next person. I can do it. Nothing can stop me."

Eastwood on his role inThe Beguiled.

In the winter of 1969–70, Eastwood and Siegel began planning his next film,The Beguiled. Jennings Lang was inspired by the 1966 novel by Thomas Cullinan and in passing the book to Eastwood he was engrossed throughout the night in reading the tale of a wounded Union soldier held captive by the sexually repressed matron of a southern girls' school.This was the first of several films where Eastwood has agreed to storylines where he is the centre of female attention, including minors.The film, according to Siegel, deals with the themes of sex, violence and vengeance and was based on "the basic desire of women to castrate men".The film later received major recognition in France and is considered one of Eastwood's finest works by the French.However, although the film reached number two onVariety's chart of top grossing films, it was poorly marketed and in the end grossed less than $1 million. According to Eastwood and Jennings Lang, the film, aside from being poorly publicized, flopped due to Clint being "emasculated in the film".

1971 proved to be a professional turning point in Eastwood's career.Before Irving Leonard had died, the last film they had discussed at Malpaso was to give Eastwood the artistic control that he desired and make his directorial debut inPlay Misty for Me.The script was originally thought of by Jo Heims , about a jazz disc jockey named Dave (Eastwood) who has a casual affair with Evelyn ( Jessica Walter ), one of his listeners who had been calling the radio station repeatedly at night asking him to play her favourite song, Erroll Garner 'sMisty. When Dave ends their relationship the female fan becomes possessive and then violent, turning into a crazed murderess.Filming commenced in Monterey in September 1970, with Eastwood obtaining the rights toMistyafter meeting Garner at the Concord Music Festival in 1970 and paying $2,000 for the use of the songThe First Time Ever I Saw Your Faceby Roberta Flack .The film was highly acclaimed by critics, with critics such as Jay Cocks inTime, Andrew Sarris in theVillage Voiceand Archer Winsten in theNew York Postall praising Eastwood's directorial skills and the film, including his performance in the scenes with Walter.

The script toDirty Harrywas originally written by Harry Julian Fink and Rita M. Fink , a story about a hard-edged New York City (later changed to San Francisco ) police inspector Harry Callahan , determined to stop a psychotic killer by any means at his disposal.Dirty Harry is arguably Eastwood's most memorable character and the lines that Callahan utters when addressing a wounded bank robber are often cited amongst the most memorable in cinematic history (see box). The film has been credited with inventing the "loose-cannon cop genre" that is imitated to this day. Eastwood's tough, no-nonsense portrayal of Dirty Harry touched a cultural nerve with many who were fed up with crime in the streets and at a time when there were prevalent reports of local and federal police committing atrocities and overstepping their authority by entrapment and obstruction of justice.Dirty Harrymarked the beginning of Eastwood's work with legendary film poster designer Bill Gold . Gold designed (and often photographed) posters for 35 Clint Eastwood films, fromDirty HarrytoMillion Dollar Baby(2004). After release in December 1971, Dirty Harry proved a phenomenal success which would be go on to become Siegel's highest grossing film and the start of a series of films which is arguably Eastwood's signature role, with fans demanding more. Although a number of critics such as Jay Cocks ofTimepraised his performance as Dirty Harry, describing him as "giving his best performance so far, tense, tough, full of implicit identification with his character",the film was widely criticized and accused of fascism through Eastwood's portrayal of the ruthless cop. Feminists in particular were outraged by the film and at the Oscars for 1971 protested outside holding up banners which read messages such as "Dirty Harry is a Rotten Pig".

"I know what you're thinking — 'Did he fire six shots or only five?' Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement, I've kinda lost track myself. But, being as this is a .44 Magnum , the most powerful handgun in the world and would blow your head clean off, you've got to ask yourself one question: 'Do I feel lucky?' Well, do ya, punk?"

Dirty Harry

Around this time, Eastwood was offered the role of James Bond following the departure of Sean Connery , but turned it down due to his belief that the character should be played by an English actor.Eastwood next starred in the loner WesternJoe Kidd, released in 1972. Originally calledThe Sinola Courthouse Raid, it was about a character inspired by Reies Lopez Tijerina , an ardent supporter of Robert F. Kennedy , known for storming a courthouse in Tierra Amarilla , New Mexico in an incident in June 1967, taking hostages and demanding that the Hispanic people be granted their ancestral lands back to them. Under the director's helm of John Sturges , who had directed acclaimed westerns such asThe Magnificent Seven(1960), filming began in Old Tucson in November 1971, overlapping with another film production, John Huston 'sThe Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean, which was just wrapping up shooting.Outdoor sequences to the film were shot near June Lake , east of the Yosemite National Park .

"I think it is a very good performance in context. Like so many Western heroes, Joe Kidd figures even in his own time as an anachronism—powerful through his instincts mainly, and through the ability of everybody else, whether in rage or gratitude, to recognize in him a quality that must be called virtue. The great value of Clint Eastwood in such a position is that he guards his virtue very cannily, and in the society of "Joe Kidd," where the men still manage to tip their hats to the ladies, but just barely, all the Eastwood effects and mannerisms suggest a carefully preserved authenticity."

Roger Greenspun,The New York Times, July 20, 1972

Eastwood was also far from in perfect health during the film and suffered symptoms that relayed the possibility of a bronchial infection and suffered several panic attacks, falsely reported in the media as him having an allergy to horses.Joe Kiddreceived a mixed reception. For instance Roger Greenspun ofThe New York Timesthought the film overall was nothing remarkable and had foolish symbolism and what he suspected was sloppy editing, but praised Eastwood's performance (see box).

1973 proved another benchmark to Eastwood when he directed his first western,High Plains Drifter. It involves the story of a tall, mysterious stranger arriving in a brooding Western town where the people share a guilty secret. They hire the stranger to defend the town against three felons soon to be released but fail to recognise that they once killed this stranger in a brutal whipping and that his reappearance is supernatural. The ghostly stranger forces the people to paint the town red and names it "Hell" and seeks revenge. Holes in the plot were filled in with black humor and allegory , influenced by Sergio Leone.There was some confusion amongst critics and viewers of the film as to whether the avenging character was actually the ghost of the murdered sheriff or a sibling; according to Eastwood he played him as a brother. John Wayne was offered a role in the film and was sent the script, but replied to Eastwood some weeks after the film was released, expressing disapproval, saying that "the townspeople did not represent the true spirit of the American pioneer, the spirit that made America great.The revisionist film received a mixed reception from critics but was a major box office success. A number of critics thought Eastwood's directing was as a derivative as it was expressive with Arthur Knight inSaturday Reviewremarking that Clint had "absorbed the approaches of Siegel and Leone and fused them with his own paranoid vision of society". Jon Landau ofRolling Stoneconcurred, remarking that it is his thematic shallowness and verbal archness which is where the film fell apart, yet he expressed approval of the dramatic scenery and cinematography.

Eastwood turned his attention towards a script written by Jo Heims about a love blossoming between a middle-aged man and a teenage girl,Breezy. During casting for the film, Eastwood met Sondra Locke for the first time, an actress who would play a major role in many of his films for the next ten years and an important figure in his life.However, Locke, who was 26 at this time was considered too old for the Breezy part and after much auditioning, a young dark-haired actress named Kay Lenz , who had recently appeared inAmerican Graffiti, was cast. Filming forBreezybegan in the November of 1972 in Los Angeles. With Surtees occupied elsewhere, Frank Stanley was brought in to shoot the picture, the first of four films he would shoot for Malpaso.The film was shot very quickly and efficiently and in the end went $1 million under budget and finished three days before schedule.The film was not a major critical or commercial success, it barely reached the Top 50 before disappearing and was only made available on video in 1998.

After the filming ofBreezyhad finished, Warner Brothers announced that Eastwood had agreed to reprise his role as Detective Harry Callahan in a sequel to Dirty Harry, running under the title,Vigilancebut later changed toMagnum Forcegiven its gun theme. Writer John Milius came up with a storyline in which a group of rogue young officers in the San Francisco Police Force systematically exterminate the city's worst criminals, portraying the idea that there are worse cops than Dirty Harry.During filming Eastwood encountered numerous disputes with director Ted Post, scarring their relationship for several years.Although the film was a major success after release, grossing $58.1 million in the United States alone, a new record for Eastwood, it was not a critical success.New York Timescritics such as Nora Sayre criticized the often contradictory moral themes of the film and Frank Rich believed it "was the same old stuff".

In 1974, Eastwood teamed with Jeff Bridges in the buddy action caperThunderbolt and Lightfoot. The film is a road movie about a veteran bank robber Thunderbolt (Eastwood) who teams with a young con man drifter, Lightfoot (Bridges) who try to stay ahead of the vengeful ex-members of his gang ( George Kennedy and Geoffrey Lewis ) in the search for a cash deposit abandoned from an old heist. Shot in Great Falls area of Montana , filming forThunderbolt and Lightfootwas shot between July and September 1973.On release in spring 1974, the film was praised for its offbeat comedy mixed with high suspense and tragedy and Eastwood's acting performance was noted by critics but was overshadowed by Jeff Bridges who stole the show in his performance as Lightfoot. When Bridges was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor , Eastwood was reportedly fuming at his own lack of Academy Award recognition.Despite critical acclaim, however, the film was only a modest success at the box office, earning $32.4 million.Eastwood was unhappy with the way that United Artists had produced the film and swore "he would never work for United Artists again", and the scheduled two film deal between Malpaso and UA was cancelled.

The Eiger Sanctionwas based on a critically acclaimed spy novel by Trevanian . The rights to the film were bought by Universal as early as 1972, soon after the book was published, and was originally a Richard Zanuck and David Brown production. Paul Newman was intended to the role of Jonathan Hemlock (Eastwood), an assassin turned college art professor who decides to return to his former profession for one last sanction in return for a rare Picasso painting; he must climb the Eiger face in Switzerland and perform the deed under perilous conditions. After reading the script, Newman declined, because he believed the film was too violent.Mike Hoover, an Academy Award nominated professional mountaineer from Jackson, Wyoming was hired to serve as a mountaineering cinematographer and technical adviser during the shoot. He taught Eastwood how to climb over some weeks of preparation in the summer of 1974 in Yosemite .Filming commenced in Grindelwald , Switzerland on August 12, 1974 with an extensive team of professional climbing experts and advisers on board from America, England, Germany, Switzerland and Canada.Despite prior warnings of the perils of the Eiger, the filming crew suffered a number of accidents.A 27-year old English climber David Knowles, who was acting as body double and photographer was tragically killed during filming, with Hoover narrowly escaping.Eastwood continued to insist on doing all his own climbing and stunts, despite potentially being just seconds from instant death. Upon its release in May 1975,The Eiger Sanctionwas a commercial failure, receiving only $23.8 million at the box office and was panned by most critics,with Joy Gould Boyum of theWall Street Journalremarking that, "the film situates villainy in homosexuals, and physically disabled men", dismissing it as "brutal fantasy".Eastwood blamed Universal Studios for the films poor promotion and turned his back on them, forming a long-lasting agreement with Warner Brothers through Frank Wells that would transcend over 35 years of cinema and remain intact to this day.

The story toThe Outlaw Josey Waleswas inspired by a 1972 novel by an apparent Native Indian uneducated writer Forrest Carter , originally titledGone to Texasand later retitledThe Rebel Outlaw:Josey Wales. Later it would be revealed that Forrest Carter's identity was fake, and that the real author was Asa Carter , a onetime racist and supporter of Ku Klux Klan school of politics.It would be a Western, and the lead character, Josey Wales, is a rebel southerner who refuses to surrender his arms after the American Civil War and is chased across the old southwest by a group of enforcers. The characters of Wales, the Cherokee chief, Navajo squaw and the old settler woman and her daughter all appeared in the novel.Director Philip Kaufman cast Chief Dan George , who had been nominated for an Academy Award for Supporting Actor inLittle Big Manas the old Cherokee Lone Watie. Sondra Locke , also a previous Academy Award nominee was cast by Eastwood against Kaufman's wishes,as the daughter of the old settler woman, Laura Lee. This marked the beginning of a close relationship between Eastwood and Locke that would last six films and the beginning of a raging romance that would last into the late 1980s. The film also featured his real-life seven-year old son Kyle Eastwood .

Eastwood's eventual truce with the Native Indians in the finale was seen as an iconic one in relation to the nation's heritage and history

Principal photography forThe Outlaw Josey Walesbegan in mid-October 1975.A rift between Eastwood and Kaufman developed during the filming and soon after filming moved to Kanab , Utah on October 24, 1975, Kaufman was notoriously fired under Eastwood's command by producer Bob Daley.The sacking caused an outrage amongst the Directors Guild of America and other important Hollywood executives and resulted in a fine, reported to be around $60,000 for the violation.It resulted in the Director's Guild passing new legislation which reserved the right to impose a major fine on a producer for discharging a director and replacing him with himself.From then on the film was directed by Eastwood himself with Daley second in command, but with Kaufman's planning already in place, the team were able to finish making the film efficiently.

"Eastwood is such a taciturn and action-oriented performer that it's easy to overlook the fact that he directs many of his movies – and many of the best, most intelligent ones. Here, with the moody, gloomily beautiful, photography of Bruce Surtees, he creates a magnificent Western feeling"

Roger Ebert,Chicago Sun-Times, January 1, 1976

Upon release in August 1976,The Outlaw Josey Waleswas widely acclaimed by critics. Many critics and viewers saw Eastwood's role as an iconic one, relating it with much of America's ancestral past and the destiny of the nation after the American Civil War.The film was pre-screened at the Sun Valley Center for the Arts and Humanities in Idaho in a six-day conference entitled,Western Movies:Myths and Imagesand attended by some two hundred esteemed film critics, academics and directors. The film would later appear inTimemagazines Top 10 films of the year.Roger Ebert compared the nature and vulnerability of Eastwood's portrayal of Josey Wales with his Man With No Name character in hisDollarswesterns and praised the atmosphere of the film. The film is seen by many as a Western masterpiece and has been awarded a 97% rating on the critical website Rotten Tomatoes.

AfterThe Outlaw Josey Wales, Eastwood was offered the role of Benjamin L. Willard in Francis Coppola 'sApocalypse Nowbut declined as he did not want to spend weeks in the Philippines shooting it.He was also offered the part of a platoon leader in Ted Post's Vietnam War film,Go Tell the Spartans. Eastwood refused the part and Burt Lancaster played the character instead.In the end it was decided to make a thirdDirty Harryfilm,The Enforcer. The script, devised by Stirling Silliphant had Harry up against a San Francisco Bay area Symbionese Liberation Army type group, which in real life had terrorized the area in 1974 with ruthless kidnappings and violence, and the film would end in a shoot out at the gang's hideout on Alcatraz island.Eastwood met Silliphant in a restaurant in Tiburon and instantly took a liking to the script, particularly the shoot out and the idea of Callahan having a woman as a police partner, his worst nightmare, a relationship which would gradually blossom during the course of the film and provide a backbone to the film's structure as they encounter different situations, from initial hatred to a fondness of each other and Callahan's genuine sorrow on her being shot in the finale. Tyne Daly , who got the part of the female cop, was given considerable leeway in the development of her character, although after seeing the film at the premiere was horrified by the extent of the violence.

With James Fargo to direct, filming commenced in the San Francisco Bay area in the summer of 1976. The film ended up considerably shorter than the previous Dirty Harry films, and was cut to 95 minutes.Upon release in the fall of 1976,The Enforcerwas a major commercial success and grossed a total of $100 million, $60 million in the United States and easily became Eastwood's best selling film to date,earning more than some of his previous films combined. However, critically, Eastwood's performance was poorly received and was named "Worst Actor of the Year" by theHarvard Lampoonand the film was criticized for its level of violence.His performance in the third installment was overshadowed by positive reviews given to Daly in her convincing role as the strong-minded female cop.

In 1977, Eastwood directed and starred inThe Gauntlet, in which he played a down-and-out cop who falls in love with a prostitute whom he's assigned to escort from Las Vegas to Phoenix in order for her to testify against the mob. Written by Dennis Shryack and Michal Butler , Steve McQueen and Barbra Streisand were originally cast as the film's stars.However, fighting between the two forced them to drop out of the project, with Eastwood and Locke replacing them. References to political corruption and organized crime were depicted in the film. Although a moderate hit with the viewing public, critics were mixed about the film, with many believing it was overly violent. Eastwood's long time nemesis Pauline Kael called it "a tale varnished with foul language and garnished with violence". Roger Ebert, on the other hand, gave it three stars and called it "...classic Clint Eastwood: fast, furious, and funny." David Ansen ofNewsweekwrote, "You don't believe a minute of it, but at the end of the quest, it's hard not to chuckle and cheer".In 1978, Eastwood starred inEvery Which Way but Loosean uncharacteristic, offbeat comedy role. Eastwood played Philo Beddoe, a trucker and brawler who roamed the American West, searching for a lost love, while accompanying his best brother/manager Orville and his pet orangutan , Clyde. An orangutan named Manis was brought in to play Clyde, Geoffrey Lewis as the dimwitted Orville, Beverly D'Angelo as Orville's girlfriend and Sondra Locke as Lynn Halsey-Taylor, the country and western barroom singer. Upon its release, the film was a surprising success and became Eastwood's most commercially successful film at the time and ranks high amongst those of his career to date, becoming the second-highest grossing film of the year.However, it was panned by the critics, withVarietycommenting that, "This film is so awful it's almost as if Eastwood is using it to find out how far he can go—how bad a film he can associate himself with". David Ansen ofNewsweekdescribed the film as, "plotless junk heap of moronic gags, sour romance and fatuous fisticuffs.

Malpaso-Paramount production bench used during the filming

In 1979, Eastwood starred in the fact-based movieEscape from Alcatraz, based on the true story of Frank Lee Morris , who, along with John and Clarence Anglin escaped from the notorious Alcatraz prison in 1962. The inmates dug through the walls with their spoons, made papier-mache dummies as decoys and made a raft out of raincoats and escaped across San Francisco Bay , never to be seen again. The script to the film was written by Richard Tuggle , based on the 1963 non-fiction account by J. Campbell Bruce .Eastwood was drawn to the role as ringleader Frank Morris and agreed to star, providing Don Siegel directed under the Malpaso banner. However, Siegel inisted that it be a Don Siegel film and out-maneouvered Clint by purchasing the rights to the film for $100,000. This created a rift between the friends, causing Siegel to depart to Paramount, a rival studio.Although their disagreement was later patched up and Siegel agreed for it to be a Malpaso-Siegel production, Siegel would never direct an Eastwood picture again. As Siegel and Tuggle worked on the script, the producers paid $500,000 to restore the decaying prison and recreate the cold atmosphere, although some interiors had to be recreated within the studio. The film was a major success, earning $34 million in the states alone and was widely acclaimed by critics, marking the beginning of a newly found critical praise Eastwood began to receive in the early 1980s. Frank Rich ofTimedescribed the film as "cool, cinematic grace", whilst Stanley Kauffmann ofThe New Republiccalled it "crystalline cinema".


Eastwood in 1981

In 1980, Eastwood directed and played the main attraction in a traveling Wild West Show in the comedy film,Bronco Billy. His children Kyle and Alison had small roles as orphans.Eastwood starred alongside Locke, Scatman Crothers , Sam Bottoms , Dan Vadis , Sierra Pecheur and Geoff Lewis.FIlming commenced on October 1, 1979 in the Boise, Idaho area and was shot in five and a half weeks on a low budget of $5 million, two to four weeks before schedule.Eastwood has citedBronco Billyas being one of the most affable shoots of his entire career, and biographer Richard Schickel has argued that the character of Bronco Billy is his most self-referential work.The film was a commercial failure,was but appreciated by critics with Kenneth Turan ofNew Westsaying, "it shows enough class to rank as the unexpected joy of the season". Janet Maslin ofThe New York Timesbelieved the film was "the best and funniest Clint Eastwood movie in quite a while", praising Eastwood's directing and the way he intricately juxtaposes the old West and the new.Later in 1980, he reprised his role in the sequel toEvery Which Way But LooseentitledAny Which Way You Can. The film received a number of bad reviews from critics, although Janet Maslin of theNew York Timesdescribed it as, "funnier and even better than its predescessor".The film, however, became another box-office success and was among the top five highest-grossing films of the year.

In 1982, Eastwood directed and starred inHonkytonk Man, based on the novel by Clancy Carlile about an aspiring country music singer named Red Stovall, set during the Great Depression . The script was adapted slightly from the novel; the scene in the novel of where Red gives a reefer to his fourteen-year old son (played by real-life son Kyle) was not approved by Eastwood and altered and the ending was also changed to the playing on the radio of a song written by Red on his death bed, shortly before his burial.The film was shot in the summer of 1982 within six weeks.The first part of the movie was filmed in Bird's Landing, California , although the majority of this feature was filmed in and around Calaveras County , east of Stockton, California . Exterior scenes include Main Street, Mountain Ranch ; Main Street, Sheepranch ; and the Pioneer Hotel in Sheepranch. Extras were locally hired and many of the towns residents are seen in the movie. The film received a mixed reception upon release, although its has a high score of 93% on Rotten Tomatoes . In 1982, Eastwood also directed, produced and starred in the Cold War -themedFirefox, based on a 1977 novel with the same name by British novelist Craig Thomas .Firefoxis an espionage thriller, about a retired Air Force Special Forces Expert, recruited to steal a Soviet supersonic war plane from Moscow . Russian filming locations were not possible due to the Cold War , and much footage was shot at the Thule Air Base in Greenland and in Austria to simulate many of the Eurasian story locations.The film was actually shot beforeHonkeytonk Manbut was released after it.

The fourthDirty HarryfilmSudden Impact(1983), is widely considered to be the darkest, "dirtiest" and most violent film of the series. This would be the last time he starred in a film with frequent leading lady Sondra Locke . The script, written by Joseph Stinson , is about a woman (Locke) who avenges the rape of herself and her sister (now a vegetable) by a ruthless gang at a fairground. The woman systematically murders her rapists one by one, shooting them once in the genitals and once in the head. Pat Hingle and Bradford Dillman also starred alongside Eastwood and footage was shot in the spring and early summer of 1983. The line, " Go ahead, make my day ", uttered by Eastwood during an earlier scene in which his regular morning cafe is threatened by robbers, is often cited as one of cinema's immortal lines and was famously referenced by President Ronald Reagan in his campaigns. The film was the highest earning of all the Dirty Harry films, earning $70 million and received rave reviews, with many critics praising the feminist aspects of the film through its explorations of the physical and psychological consequences of rape.

In 1984, Eastwood starred in the provocative thrillerTightrope, inspired by newspaper articles about an elusive Bay Area rapist. Set in New Orleans (to avoid confusion with theDirty Harryfilms),Eastwood starred as a single-father cop in a mid-life crisis, lured by the promise of kinky sex. The film explored the way his character is drawn into the killer's tortured psychology and fascination for sadomasochism .Complicating matters are his struggle to single-handedly raise two young daughters (one of which was his real daughter Alison), a growing relationship with a tough rape prevention officer played by Geneviève Bujold , and the troubling thought that the killer shares his own sexual preferences ( bondage , masochism , etc.).During filming, Eastwood had an affair with the first murder victim in the film, Jamie Rose .Pierre Rissient arranged for the film to premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, but failed to win any awards. It opened in 1535 theatres in the summer of 1984 and earned record takings in the first ten days, eventually earnings revenues of $70 million domestically.The film was also a critical success, with J. Hoberman in theVillage Voicedescribing Clint as "one of the most masterful under-actors in American movies" and David Denby commenting that he has become a "very troubled movie icon".Others such as Jack Kroll ofNewsweeknoted the sexuality of the film and vulnerability of Eastwood's character, remarking, "He gets better as he gets older; he seems to be creating new nuances".

Eastwood next starred in the period comedyCity Heat(1984) with Burt Reynolds . The film was initially running under the title,Kansas City Jazzunder the directorship of Blake Edwards . The film is about a private eye and his partner mixed up with gangsters in the prohibition era in the 1930s. During filming, Eastwood conflicted with Edwards and producer Tony Adams, stipulating "creative differences" as the reason, leading to Edward's replacement with Richard Benjamin .Principal photography began in May 1984 and the film was released in North America in December 1984, grossing around $50 million domestically.

In 1985, Eastwood made his only foray into TV direction to date with theAmazing StoriesepisodeVanessa In The Garden, starring Harvey Keitel and Sondra Locke; this was his first collaboration with writer/executive producer Steven Spielberg (Spielberg later producedFlags of Our FathersandLetters from Iwo Jima). Eastwood revisited the western genre, directing and starring inPale Rider. The film is based on the classic WesternShane( 1953 ); a preachers descends magically from the mists of the Sierras and takes the side of the placer miners amidst the California Gold Rush of 1850.The ending is also similar, but the story is told from the girl's viewpoint (Megan) and explores the psychosexual and psychospiritual bridge between childhood and womanhood as both mother and daughter compete for the preacher's affections. The film also bears similarities to Eastwood's previous Man with No Name character, and his 1973 westernHigh Plains Drifterin its themes of morality and justice and exploration of the supernatural. The title is a reference to the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse , as the rider of a pale horse is Death , cited in Revelations Chapter 6, Verse 8.It was primarily filmed in the Boulder Mountains and the SNRA in central Idaho , just north of Sun Valley in late 1984. The opening credits scene featured the jagged Sawtooth Mountains south of Stanley . Train-station scenes were filmed in Tuolumne County, California, near Jamestown. Scenes of a more established Gold Rush town (in which Eastwood's character picks up his pistol at a Wells Fargo office) were filmed in the real Gold Rush town of Columbia, also in Tuolumne County, California. The film also featured Michael Moriarty , Carrie Snodgress , Christopher Penn , Richard Dysart , Sydney Penny , Richard Kiel , Doug McGrath and John Russell . The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival , but was not a success there, given that international critics believed the film to be too overtly commercial for the festival.Nevertheless,Pale Riderbecame one of Eastwood's most successful films to date in the eyes of critics, earning him the wide critical acclaim he had sought for so long. Jeffrey Lyons ofSneak Previewssaid, "Easily one of the best films of the year, and one of the best westerns in a long, long time". Gene Siskel of theChicago Tribunesaid, "This year (1985) will go down in film history as the moment Clint Eastwood finally earned respect as an artist".

In 1986, Eastwood starred in the military dramaHeartbreak Ridge, about the 1983 U.S. invasion of Grenada , West Indies , with a portion of the movie filmed on the island itself. It co-starred Marsha Mason . However, the title comes from the Battle of Heartbreak Ridge in the Korean War , based around Eastwood's character of Tom Highway, an ageing United States Marine Gunnery Sergeant and Korean War veteran, who was awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions there. Eastwood incorporated more scenes of action and comedy into the film than was initially intended by the original drafter, James Carabatsos , and worked hard with Megan Rose to revise it.Eastwood and producer Fritz Manes meanwhile, intent on making the film realistic, visited the Pentagon and various air bases to request assistance and approval.The U.S. army refused to help, due to Highway being portrayed as a hard drinker, divorced from his wife, and using unapproved motivational methods to his troops, an image the army did not want. They informed the production team that the characterisation lacked credibility and that Eastwood's chara

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