Clint Eastwood: B-sides & Rarities

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RobertAltman
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Clint Eastwood: B-sides & Rarities

#1 Post by RobertAltman » Mon Jul 01, 2013 12:36 pm

Quotes lifted from the 1970s List Discussion and Suggestions Thread.
bamwc2 wrote:High Plains Drifter (Clint Eastwood, 1973): Eastwood both directs and stars in this western about an unnamed man who is roped in by the town of Lago to defend it against the return of three outlaws who have been released from jail after killing the town's sheriff. Although it’s far less cerebral than some of his other westerns, Eastwood knows how to make solid entertainment. My only complaint is the rape that occurred 15 minutes in. The film gives into the dangerous myth (a very common one at the time) that ‘no’ means ‘yes’ and any woman will cease her protests once the thrusting begins. The film even references this moment later on to make a joke. It’s a glaring black mark on an otherwise great flick.
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Was Eastwood implying that he was the ghost of the murdered marshal in his final conversation with Mordecai? He did disappear into the horizon as the credits began to roll.
Mr Sausage wrote:RE: High Plains Drifter
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The whole movie implies that Eastwood is a metaphysical avenging angel. Hence the odd, ghostly atmosphere of the thing. Eastwood even cast the part of the sheriff with an actor that looks very similar to him, which adds to the ambiguity.
I thought the rape scene unnecessary, too, but I think it's there to alienate you from Eastwood, to suggest he is not an figure of good. It was certainly shot to make him look demonic. I think it was a misguided choice, tho'.
bamwc2 wrote:
Mr Sausage wrote:RE: High Plains Drifter
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The whole movie implies that Eastwood is a metaphysical avenging angel. Hence the odd, ghostly atmosphere of the thing. Eastwood even cast the part of the sheriff with an actor that looks very similar to him, which adds to the ambiguity.
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My wife watched the film on and off with me and swore that Eastwood also played the part of the late Marshal. I told her that she was crazy. She'll be happy to hear this news.
RobertAltman wrote:I agree it's pretty clever casting. Buddy Van Horn played the Marshall. He was Eastwood's stunt double from Coogan's Bluff onwards (he previously also doubled for Gregory Peck), stunt coordinator on almost all of Eastwood's films, and director of three of the truly disposable titles in Eastwood's filmography: Any Which Way You Can, The Dead Pool and Pink Cadillac.

I loved High Plains Drifter and it's creepy atmosphere when I saw it in my early teens, but I don't think I've seen it since. Curious as to how it holds up. My impression is that many disregard it as a lesser work where Eastwood spends too much time aping Sergio Leone, in addition to being, as bamwc2 point out, less cerebral than his later westerns (except for the moronic Pale Rider). Fans of Drifter should also check out the pretty effective Django il Bastardo, starring Anthony Steffen, which I'm pretty sure Eastwood must have seen before making his own supernatural western.
knives wrote:I actually rather like Pink Cadillac even if it is total B Movie bad comedy.
RobertAltman wrote:Image
So you're the one!
domino harvey wrote:Well, I didn't have any interest in seeing it before that picture
knives wrote:Like I said I recognize that it is not the next coming of Hawks, but its fun for its weird aims. Certainly I like it more than the monkey pictures.
I guess I didn't have to lift all of these quotes, but I thought a separate thread dedicated to Eastwood's back catalogue might be interesting. As it happens, Pink Cadillac was on TV last night, so I thought I'd give it another go. I had forgotten that Clint does wacky accents in this, so during the opening I thought perhaps this was going to be more fun than I remembered, but that was not really the case. I never understood why his "skip tracer" character felt the need to put on costumes etc to catch these crooks, as uniformed policemen were always around to help him out. Bernadette Peters was really good in this, but what little heart she brought to the picture cannot make up for the fact there are barely any laughs in it, and certainly no excitement. I prefer the orangutang pictures (it's not a monkey!)...nothing here can compete with the sight of Clint hanging from a chandelier.

Of the three movies Buddy Van Horn directed, two includes neo-nazis as villains. I'm sure there's an academic article waiting to be written on that subject. Also, two of them include early Jim Carrey cameos - in Pink Cadillac you can actually hear him utter his future catchphrase "Alrighty then".
flyonthewall2983 wrote:As with the other Horn films it's the wrong decade, but I think The Dead Pool gets a little bit of a bad rap. The Rookie is far worse in comparison. At least in the former you could just sense Clint's boredom from an acting perspective. The Rookie is boredom from a directing perspective which affects everything.
knives wrote:The Rookie is pretty fun in how stupid and crazy it is though.
I'm with you on this though. The Rookie is moronic, but I do enjoy it, in particular the performances of Sonia Braga and Raul Julia.

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Re: Clint Eastwood: B-sides & Rarities

#2 Post by wigwam » Mon Jul 01, 2013 9:23 pm

I put my arms 'round this honkytonk thread \:D/

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Re: Clint Eastwood: B-sides & Rarities

#3 Post by Murdoch » Mon Jul 01, 2013 11:09 pm

I find White Hunter Black Heart to be an interesting film. I'm not sure if I like it, but I do like the idea of it - Eastwood doing a sort of condemnation of Hollywood ego a la Huston's African Queen production, and I think it would have been a great movie in a better director's hands. It seemed to me that Eastwood struggled to balance his anti-hero persona with the general selfishness of the character he played, fluctuating between telling off an anti-Semite and delaying production so he can go elephant hunting so that Wilson comes off as rather disjointed, trying to play the hero but inundated by his selfishness. In the end it feels like a curiosity and an attempt by him to reach the status of auteur.

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Re: Clint Eastwood: B-sides & Rarities

#4 Post by hearthesilence » Mon Jul 01, 2013 11:24 pm

One of the reasons it's so interesting for me though is Eastwood's performance, which could only come from his own direction. The film's biggest champions often interpret the film as Brechtian, and seen from that perspective, it becomes a lot more fascinating. I think those conflicting parts of his character are apiece with this - it's a self-conscious commentary on different aspects of the same persona, of what Eastwood's iconography (and Huston's persona) represent.

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Re: Clint Eastwood: B-sides & Rarities

#5 Post by Professor Wagstaff » Tue Jul 02, 2013 12:16 am

I'm thrilled to see this thread pop up because I've been on a major Eastwood kick for the last month or so, filling some gaps with his directorial work that I'd missed over the years. While I enjoyed "White Hunter Black Heart", part of the problem with the film is Jeff Fahey's character. I'm not sure how he's written in the novel, but I find that these sort of intermediaries used to introduce the audience to historical or historically-based characters in films rarely work. Fahey's Pete Verrill may not be as imposing as other characters of this type (Robert Wuhl in "Cobb" tends to be my go-to example), but I think you lose some intimacy every time Fahey pops up on screen to explain the morality of the story, leaving me feeling like my perception of the John Wilson character is constantly skewered by Verrill. This narrative issue might explain why the project never quite took off in earlier attempts to bring it to the screen, but I think it's a credit to Eastwood's confident direction and acting that he can rise above these problems.

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Re: Clint Eastwood: B-sides & Rarities

#6 Post by wigwam » Tue Jul 02, 2013 12:31 am

Murdoch wrote:Huston's African Queen production
Roots of Heaven

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Re: Clint Eastwood: B-sides & Rarities

#7 Post by knives » Tue Jul 02, 2013 12:49 am

wigwam wrote:
Murdoch wrote:Huston's African Queen production
Roots of Heaven
Nope, African Queen is what the writer worked on and where the elephant hunting story comes from. Roots of Heaven was Huston's apology. Just to keep things on topic the Eastwood under discussion is my favorite even including Fahey's underrated performance.

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Re: Clint Eastwood: B-sides & Rarities

#8 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Tue Jul 02, 2013 12:50 am

I really liked Absolute Power and would go as far to say that it's a bit underrated.

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Re: Clint Eastwood: B-sides & Rarities

#9 Post by JamesF » Tue Jul 02, 2013 8:48 am

Would The Beguiled count as a Clint B-side? I like that film and its Southern Gothic lunacy a great deal.

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Re: Clint Eastwood: B-sides & Rarities

#10 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Tue Jul 02, 2013 10:27 am

I haven't seen the movie (think it's on Netflix) but I kind of hope Criterion does something with that. They could include the EPK for it, which was the very first thing Clint directed.

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Re: Clint Eastwood: B-sides & Rarities

#11 Post by RobertAltman » Tue Jul 02, 2013 10:29 am

Universal just put several of their Eastwood titles on BD, but left out The Beguiled. If it doesn't end up with Criterion, I really wish another boutique label manages to license it and releases it with some extras. It was Don Siegel's favorite of his own films, and Eastwood likes it a lot to, IIRC, but it rarely gets much attention which is a shame.
flyonthewall2983 wrote:I really liked Absolute Power and would go as far to say that it's a bit underrated.
I like it too. In fact, with the exception of the dreadful True Crime, I like all of the crime lit adaptations he made between Madison County and Million Dollar Baby. The best of them is Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, which like The Beguiled gets much of it's strength from the unusual atmosphere. Eastwood gets much more out of the location than Robert Altman did with the movie he shot in Savannah around the same time, partly by casting some of the more original townspeople in minor roles, but also by making it an extended love-letter to Johnny Mercer. The film could do with some actual suspense and perhaps also a tighter script, but it's a thoroughly engaging narrative nevertheless, and the cast is terrific too. This was probably the first movie i saw Jude Law in, and it's also the first time Eastwood got a good performance out of one of his children.

It's been a while since I saw White Hunter, Black Heart, and I don't remember all that much of the supporting characters. Are any of them based on some of the actual people who worked on The African Queen, or is Huston the only actual link?

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Re: Clint Eastwood: B-sides & Rarities

#12 Post by hearthesilence » Tue Jul 02, 2013 10:37 am

Professor Wagstaff wrote:While I enjoyed "White Hunter Black Heart", part of the problem with the film is Jeff Fahey's character. I'm not sure how he's written in the novel, but I find that these sort of intermediaries used to introduce the audience to historical or historically-based characters in films rarely work. Fahey's Pete Verrill may not be as imposing as other characters of this type (Robert Wuhl in "Cobb" tends to be my go-to example), but I think you lose some intimacy every time Fahey pops up on screen to explain the morality of the story, leaving me feeling like my perception of the John Wilson character is constantly skewered by Verrill. This narrative issue might explain why the project never quite took off in earlier attempts to bring it to the screen, but I think it's a credit to Eastwood's confident direction and acting that he can rise above these problems.
I agree, Verrill is a weak link and Fahey's performance can't overcome that. It doesn't help that he's given some terrible, clunky dialogue, something Eastwood's character/performance is able to transcend because of its conceptual origins.

Verrill is based on Peter Viertel, who wrote the novel White Hunter Black Heart, which was indeed about his experiences working with Huston on The African Queen. (Viertel helped adapt the screenplay for The African Queen from the 1935 novel of the same name.)

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Re: Clint Eastwood: B-sides & Rarities

#13 Post by duck duck » Thu Jul 04, 2013 3:12 pm

Beguiled is definitely strange and interesting enough for Criterion and would be able to have some interesting extras if available. It is fairly disliked among straight Eastwood fans being dismissed as slow and boring, but people into cinema in general seem to like it quite a lot. I have met people who hated Unforgiven but loved the Beguiled.

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Re: Clint Eastwood: B-sides & Rarities

#14 Post by Props55 » Thu Jul 04, 2013 3:27 pm

I could definitely see THE BEGUILED as a Crit release. It's unique enough in both the Eastwood and Siegal canon to make it of interest and I'd bet Clint would be more than willing to assist in special features. (perhaps a commentary?)

Big question is would Universal let it out of the Clint corral.

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Re: Clint Eastwood: B-sides & Rarities

#15 Post by Professor Wagstaff » Thu Jul 04, 2013 5:13 pm

duck duck wrote:Beguiled is definitely strange and interesting enough for Criterion and would be able to have some interesting extras if available. It is fairly disliked among straight Eastwood fans being dismissed as slow and boring, but people into cinema in general seem to like it quite a lot. I have met people who hated Unforgiven but loved the Beguiled.
"The Beguiled" is my favorite Eastwood film and has been since I caught a midnight showing on New York's WPIX 11 when I was a pre-teen (from what I've heard, it sounds like many movie-obsessed New York/New Jersey kids growing up in the 1980s/early 1990s spent their weekends indulging in some outrageously trashy thrillers and low-brow comedies thanks to their programming blocks). With its contained setting, editing, and macabre humor, "The Beguiled" always felt like a Polanski movie to me. What may be the most intriguing part about that film (especially when contrasted against Eastwood's other work) is the incredible depths to which McBee and the women of the house will connive to get what they want and the twisted ways they'll punish those who betray them. Eastwood's always had that slick, manipulative quality in his characters, but to see that personality trait emerge in this, his most villainous role, is definitely tough for audiences looking to be charmed by his deceptions rather than be the deceived. More exciting yet is that the women get the better of him constantly, more capable and wicked than he is. An interesting double feature to pair with "Play Misty for Me".

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Re: Clint Eastwood: B-sides & Rarities

#16 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Thu Jul 04, 2013 7:55 pm

It and Thunderbolt And Lightfoot seem the most likely candidates for Criterion release I can think of. Clint doesn't seem overly interested in revisiting his older films for DVD/Blu release unless it's the more well-known bits of his work. I can see him participating for The Beguiled because Siegel was a major influence on his own directing style. Unsure if he would for Thunderbolt And Lightfoot but it would be great if he and Jeff could.

Kind of amazing to me that of all the things Criterion has ever released on all the formats it has, the only thing Clint is even in is a brief little bit in the documentary Scorsese did about American cinema. It would be great if they snagged either of these films while he is still alive, If the CC is to be looked upon as a sort of history of essential cinema, Clint is as big a piece of the puzzle as any of the filmmakers to get a spine here. This is said more in terms of his acting because his screen presence was so utterly influential.


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Re: Clint Eastwood: B-sides & Rarities

#18 Post by LavaLamp » Wed Jul 24, 2013 8:04 pm

Been revisiting Clint Eastwood films recently, and here are some of my favorites. Note that though some have already been mentioned here, I'm not sure if these would all be classified as B-sides/rarities. Most of these are from the '70's, which IMHO was Clint's best decade for film (either acting or directing):

The Beguiled (1971): This is also possibly my favorite CE film; the dark Southern gothic vibe that permeates the film is quite remarkable. The setting & time-period are perfect. The film brings to mind the old short story A Rose for Emily, by William Faulkner.

Play Misty For Me (1971): Liked the scenic Carmel setting, the music, the paintings, and the scenes at the Monterey Jazz Festival. IMHO, this is underrated & far better than the more well known Fatal Attraction.

The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976): Very powerful film, and IMHO one of Clint's best westerns.

The Gauntlet (1977): Entertaining & underrated film, with a good story & chase scenes. Great chemistry between CE & SL. It was interesting seeing a house, a car, and a large bus turned into swiss cheese - LOL.

Bronco Billy (1980): A nice film, with great stunt-riding/stunt-work.

Tightrope (1984): Great crime drama, and the authentic New Orleans setting was fantastic.

Absolute Power (1997): Another excellent drama; Clint was perfectly cast as the aging thief who witnessed something he wasn't supposed to see.

High Plains Drifter (1973): Possibly my favorite western of all time.
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The idea of a "ghost" coming back for revenge, but the townspeople not realizing he was a ghost was brilliant. As has been mentioned, what added to the ambiguity was casting Clint & a different actor as the marshall (in flashbacks), so you weren't really 100% sure if they were supposed to be the same person, at first. Liked the symbolic scenes where the townspeople were forced to paint the entire town red, presumably signifying he**.
Thunderbolt & Lightfoot (1974): Very underrated these days; this is not a film you hear much about. Really liked the whole storyline & acting. I agree this film strongly deserves a Criterion DVD/Blu-ray release, with all the bells & whistles.
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One of my favorite sequences was when Thunderbolt & Lightfoot unexpectedly found the schoolhouse where the money had been hidden years before; it had been transported to a different location without being disturbed, so the money was still there. It was hilarious how the tourist wheat-bread couple that were already in the schoolhouse overreacted when they saw T & L; they had the wrong impression that they were going to be robbed, so they first half-heartedly offered them their camera, right before making a frightened & hasty exit. This sequence seemed so realistic & the couple so nervous, that it almost seemed like their reactions were genuine.
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When I first saw the film, I was shocked that Lightfoot died at the end. Nothing that we saw beforehand prepared you for this, especially since most of the movie was a comedy. Definitely one of of the most unexpected & saddest endings I've ever seen.

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