Clint Eastwood turns 90: What’s the secret to his success?

Actor, producer, director and even musical composer. Of his 90 years, Clint Eastwood he has dedicated 66 of them to the world of cinema. Don’t Let the Old Man In seems to be his secret to such an active and long life. He was a bricklayer, lumberjack and military man until in 1954 he stuck his head out in Hollywood with an acting apprentice contract at Universal Studios.

Clint Eastwood emerged in the 1960s as an icon of the “spaghetti western” under the direction of Serge Leone. Returning to Hollywood in the seventies, he changes his outfit from the poncho, the Stetson cap and the cigarette to that of Inspector Harry, with his police badge, his Ray-Bans and his Magnum 44. A character where he would show the toughest side of the. In its beginnings it was ignored and despised by critics., not so much for the public, who flocked to see him on the big screen. It was in that decade that he made his directorial debut with ‘Chill at Night’ (1971). Malpaso, his production company, will bring him luck, especially since his alliance with Warner Bros in 1975. It was the beginning of a long and fruitful relationship.

The western will continue to be his favorite terrain, but he allows himself to be seduced by different genres, such as film noir, war films, comedies, musicals, road movies and melodramas. From film to film, with determination and a lot of tenacity, he has been showing that cinema was his thing. Today he is one of the most valued filmmakers, whom some have defined as “the last great classic” due to the versatility of his stories and the sobriety, conciseness and precision of his narration.

Actors love working with him because they say he is a calm and methodical director. Yours is one of the brightest, most prestigious and most popular film careers in American cinema. Clint Eastwood, little given to analyzing and interpreting his films, made some revealing statements in 1985 about the creative process of his films, collected by Tim Cahill for the magazine rolling stone. Perhaps it could be the formula for the success that has accompanied him until today.

Method speech by Clint Eastwood

«I have not worked with many famous filmmakers, I started at a time when everyone was preparing for retirement: I never worked with Hitchcock, nor with Wyler, Stevens, Capra, Hawks or Walsh. I guess Don Siegel is the most appreciated filmmaker I’ve ever worked with. I think I learned more about directing from him than from anyone else. He taught me to put myself on the front line. He does few takes and shoots what he wants. He knew when he had gotten what he wanted and had no need to cover himself by filming from different angles.

I learned that you have to trust your instinct. There is a moment when an actor has an intuition, and I know it. Behind the camera you can feel it even more clearly. And from the moment you have this instinct, that you feel it, you can no longer have doubts. If I walked around the set asking everyone what the shot looks like, someone would end up saying, ‘Okay, sir, no idea, there was a fly two hundred meters in the background.’ There is always someone who ends up finding a flaw, and very quickly this flaw is highlighted, and then we are forced to do another take.

During this time, everyone forgets that you have to concentrate on things and that no one will see that fly because we use a 100mm lens. But what can we do. We can find reasons for or against no matter what. We can find a million reasons why something doesn’t work. But if you feel it, and it looks like it’s going well, then it works. Reviewers are starting to say that some of the options I’ve had are excellent. Some. But that is due to luck. It’s instinctive. That comes from the animal part of the brain: the instinctive, intuitive side. The analytical brain can kill you as an artist. You have to stay in touch with a deeper level.

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Clint Eastwood turns 90: What’s the secret to his success?


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