Clint Eastwood, the great star that continues to shine

With five Oscars, and as many Golden Globes, the Palme d’Or at Cannes and the Golden Lion at Venice, Clint Eastwood could retire after having achieved all possible honors. However, he continues to direct films, the latest “Richard Jewell”, released in December 2019, which is followed by “Cry Macho”, a film that he produces, directs and stars in and which will be released next October… at the age of 91.

A career that began as an actor in television series B, but which bore fruit thanks to directors such as Sergio Leone and Don Siegel. The first recognized him: “What fascinated me the most, above all, was his external appearance”, precisely because of what he was ignored in his early years as an actor.

Without much being known about his humble beginnings, something that many say he tended to put on makeup before becoming the legend that he is, he was an unsuccessful actor rejected for his peculiar physique -too tall, and prominent Adam’s apple- who, after years, As a secondary, he starred in the television series “Rawhide” (1959).

THE FACE OF THE “SPAGHETTI WESTERN”

Thanks to that 1.93 meter physique and a face as powerful as it is photogenic, he got a contract with Universal and, from then on, he knew how to move with skill. He came to Spain to shoot the Leone trilogy in which he immortalized that sober and cold character, who spoke between his teeth, dressed in an inseparable poncho, becoming the face of the ‘spaghetti western’.

But Clint Eastwood (San Francisco, May 31, 1930) was an actor who knew how to grow. His natural gift in front of a camera and his passion for cinema made him evolve professionally until he consecrated himself in the eighties as the actor and director that he is.

Eastwood performs, directs, produces and even composes the music for some of his films, however, he has never dared with the texts, something he solves thanks to his good nose for choosing scripts and knowing how to surround himself with the best. Thanks to this he accumulates a good handful of masterpieces.

At the age of 34, he filmed the first “spaghetti western” “Per un pugno di dollari” (1964), an Italian-Spanish-German co-production with which they laid the foundations for this subgenre and transformed the actor into a ‘man with no name’, whose dryness and interpretative elegance gave him the first success of his career, while a myth was built around his figure that fit perfectly with the ideals of the American dream.

After this first installment of what is known as the “Dollar Trilogy”, with music by the great Ennio Morricone, who helped make it unforgettable, was followed by “Per qualche dollaro in più” (1965), where he questioned the values ​​of those who hold authority , and the third “Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo” (1966), considered the best.

FROM RUDE POLICE TO CHANGE OF REGISTRATION IN THE EIGHTIES

The status acquired with Sergio Leone helped him to work with another great, Don Siegel, for whom he became a peculiar police inspector, Harry Callahan in “Dirty Harry” (1971), which he played in four films in that same decade. He was the least scrupulous and coolest policeman of the police genre.

And it is that this image of Eastwood as a prototype of rude masculinity worked for decades but, over time, it was nuanced. Even so, all of his characters tend to be skilled in harsh, lapidary or sarcastic responses, with plenty of that sly sense of humor that Eastwood himself undoubtedly possesses.

Eastwood soon understood the dynamics of the film industry and created his own production company, the Malpaso Company, to focus on directing, making his debut in 1971 with the thriller “Play Misty for Me,” which anticipated his interest in feelings and psychology.

Starting in the eighties, he focused on his role as director with hits like “Pale Rider” (1985) and “Heartbreak Ridge” (1986), which contrasted with other works on minority themes that separated him from the media spotlight.

A twist was “Bird” (1988), the biography of Charlie Parker, the great jazz musician who was “consumed” in his own success. His talent could not quench the anguish that tormented him and heroin and alcohol hastened his end at only 34 years old.

In “The Bridges of Madison County” (1995), he discovered his romantic facet with Meryl Streep, while in another of his memorable films as director “Unforgiven” (1992) he questions the motives of revenge and the morality of those who use violence to solve problems.

But it is “Mystic River” (2003), a masterpiece, which offers the heartbreaking look of the American dream seen in reverse, based on the novel by Dennis Lehane, where the effort that working-class parents make to give a life is recognized. better to their children. Candidate for six Oscars, he won two: for best actor and best supporting actor for Sean Penn and Tim Robbins, respectively.

For another great work, “Million dollar baby” (2005), a drama that managed to spread emotion and adrenaline to the public, in addition to co-starring and directing it, he also composed the soundtrack, another of its facets, the music, which he put on for other of his movies.

FROM ACTOR WITHOUT TALENT TO MASTER

But the now hailed as the last of the great classics and with a whole collection of Oscars, was not always a consecrated star. It can be said that until “Bird” (1988), a film with which he won his first Golden Globe as a director, Eastwood was the target of American film critics who baited him for more than two decades, from the 1960s to the early 2000s. the eighties.

During that period they described him as an “inept actor, a worthless director and an example of the most reactionary Hollywood”, in addition to dedicating niceties to him such as “morbid, entertaining and tacky fraud”, or “Eastwood does not act in his films: he allows himself to be framed by them ”.

Even the biographer specializing in movie stars, Patrick McGilligan, author of “Clint Eastwood. The biography” (1999) presents the artist as a fundamental, complex and contradictory filmmaker, but also throws some darts at him: “As an actor he is limited and has sought to work with directors who have not pushed him to the limit. As a filmmaker he is extremely competent and has vision. However, he has never written anything and shoots with what falls into his hands, he never reviews a script. He doesn’t guide the actors, he usually gets the first take and everything shot is usually on screen. It doesn’t seem to me that these are the wicks of a cinematic genius”.

In an interview years later, Eastwood seemed to reply: “I like first takes because you’ll never quite match the surprise of hearing dialogue for the first time. Some of my teachers, like Siegel, did it that way. That’s why I don’t like rehearsals either, because if you repeat too many dialogues they become monotonous”. Genius and figure of a great who is still active.

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Clint Eastwood, the great star that continues to shine


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