Clint Eastwood, American actor and film director, born in 1930 in San Francisco. After finishing primary school, at the height of the Great Depression, he had to earn a living in various jobs: he was a lumberjack, bricklayer and metal worker. After spending four years in the army, beginning in 1954 he tried to make a name for himself in Hollywood as a supporting actor. His first performance was in ‘Francis Joins de Wacs‘ (1954), by Arthur Lubin, which was followed by some work for television.
But it was in Italy where he made fame and fortune with the character of the ‘Man with no name’, the hero of the great westerns of Sergio Leone: ‘For a Fistful of Dollars’ (1964), ‘Death Had a Price’ (1965), and ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’ (1966), considered canonical works of the spaghetti western (low-budget productions based on in the American western made in Italy). Of three, ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’ It is the quintessential spaghetti western.
I would arrive later ‘Until his time came’ (1968), an astonishing film both in terms of planning and technicolor and widescreen photography Techniscope, the work of Tonino delli Colli, or in the vigorous editing of Nino Baragli. Filmed in Almería, the soundtrack of Ennio Morricone alone would deserve all the honors.
This kind of trilogy catapulted Clint Eastwood to stardom, helping him consolidate his image. His charisma, his tall and somewhat gangly profile and a dry face, with a reduced range of gestures although highly expressive, would eventually make him one of the most appreciated actors in Hollywood.
Returning to the United States, Eastwood founded the production company Malpaso and increased its prestige through his collaboration with director Don Siegel, especially through the character of Harry Callahan, a policeman with very particular ways, tough, violent, self-sufficient and not devoid of cynicism. The first title in this series was ‘Dirty Harry’ (1971), a film that gave him the definitive accolade and from which four sequels would be shot.
the character of Harry Callahan He is the archetype of the rude and violent defender of the law at all costs. A man of action, violent and bitter, he takes the law into his own hands and has no other way out than to rebel against the rules that he considers unfair. Moved by his own law, he respects little or nothing the decisions of authority.
Described by critics as a film with a fascistoid tone, its followers only see callahan to a character with his own morality, independence of norms and freedom of action. Little by little, in the following films, the character acquired increased sense of humor and lost part of its violence. The following deliveries would be ‘Harry, the Strong’ (1973), by Ted Post, based on a script by John Milius and Michael Cimino; ‘Harry, the Executioner’ (1976), by James Fargo; ‘Sudden Impact’ (1983) directed by himself; and ‘The Blacklist’ (1988) by Buddg Van Horn.
In the field of interpretation, Clint Eastwood was becoming an actor who connected with the old tradition of Hollywood, an artist whose presence was felt at the box office and who managed to give films personality. Still in the 90s, more than one title achieved public success and even good reviews as a result of Eastwood’s performance; such is the case of ‘In the line of fire‘ (1993), by Wolfgang Petersen, in which he played a presidential bodyguard whose years begin to weigh on him physically and morally.
As a director, he gradually earned critical respect for his classic approach to filmmaking and his ability to handle action fluently, without detracting from the psychological depth of the characters or the dramatic and human force of the conflicts raised. On occasions he added to his work as a director that of interpreting his own films, without one activity drowning out the other.
It started with ‘Chill in the night’ (1971) and, from the mid-1980s, a series of notable titles proved his worth as a filmmaker. Thus, he directed and starred in ‘The Pale Rider’ (1985), a western with biblical reminiscences where he managed to update a genre that seemed exhausted by the change in public tastes. Your movie ‘Bird’based on the life of saxophonist Charlie Parker (a role brilliantly played by Forest Whitaker) achieved great international success in 1988 and gained critical respect.
In 1989 he directed and starred in a film that was not as successful as expected, but did show his courage and originality when choosing approaches: ‘White Hunter, Black Heart’. Inspired by the filming of ‘The African Queen’, the legendary John Huston film, Eastwood reserved the character of Huston himself, whose personality he carried out an accurate analysis.
The fertile and at the same time suggestive career of Clint Eastwood as a director found in 1992 one of its most definitive expressions in the unrepeatable ‘no forgiveness’. Dedicated to Sergio Leone and Don Siegel, masters of Eastwood’s beginnings in cinema as an actor, it is a western that, decades after the apparent death of the genre, manages to recover and compile all the tradition of it and of Eastwood’s own career. . From the Fordian shots in which the women are distributed in a painful choreography on the porches of the town to see the protagonists arrive, this Eastwood masterpiece is a dark and twilight journey through the hero’s exhaustion and his impossible redemption.
‘no pardon‘ is a western impeccable classicism, direct and transparent, irresistibly lyrical; but it is also, at the same time, a sordid tragedy full of sound and fury, inevitably violent, in which the purity of the objectives does not serve to redeem the chaos and hatred that feeds the soul of its protagonist. The tape received, among others, the oscar for best film and best direction, and established Clint Eastwood as one of the wisest filmmakers of the moment.
Yes ‘no pardon‘ It’s the definitive Eastwood western, in a way. ‘The bridges of Madison’ (1995) was his definitive melodrama, in a decade in which the creative talent of its director is in an unrepeatable state of grace. ‘The Bridges of Madison’ is a courageous melodramatic proposal supported only by the love of cinema, a prolonged rondo between two characters (Eastwood himself and an excellent Meryl Streep) who evolve before a camera fascinated by each of the gestures, from the looks, of the words that are directed to each other.
The tremendous emotional catharsis that Eastwood is capable of arousing through the image is transparently revealed in the captivating final third, in which the sentimental suspense reaches levels of unusual nakedness, something that is also found in the splendid ‘A perfect world’ (1993), melodramatic thriller of sentimental initiation between an escaped convict (Kevin Costner) and a child kidnapped by him on his escape. Eastwood’s classicism makes him recover the best traditions of American cinema with an admirable aesthetic and ethical honesty, something that, as has already been said, derives from the passionate lessons learned from john fordas well as his blood brothers Siegel and Leone.
After several decades of professionalism, Clint Eastwood He is considered a master conductor, and it is even appreciated that his acting work has improved over the years. Artistically ambitious, his style always aspires to perfection, both interpretive and directing, a search that has not been at odds with box office success. Among his latest films, the aforementioned ‘A Perfect World’ (1993), ‘Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil’ (1997), ‘Imminent Execution’ (1999) and ‘Space Cowboys’ (2000) stand out.
‘Mystic River’‘ (2003) received several awards at both the Golden Globes and the Oscars, most notably for its male actors, Sean Penn and Tim Robbins. The same thing happened with ‘Million dollar Baby’ (2004), an Oscar-winning drama about a woman who insists on being a boxer in order to succeed in life, for which she develops an intense relationship with a former boxer who is dedicated to training.
In 2006, the actor and filmmaker directed ‘Flags of our fathers’ Y ‘Letters from Iwo Jima’, two films that refer to the same moment in history (the battle of Iwo Jima, at the end of World War II), but seen in the first case from the American perspective and in the second from the Japanese perspective. At 76, Eastwood gave his long career a new twist with a deep meditation on the essence of heroism, analyzed from a position of absolute independence. ‘Great Turin’, ‘J. Edgar’‘Jersey Boys’ and ‘American sniper’ are his latest films and reaffirm Eastwood as one of the great contemporary film directors.
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Clint Eastwood’s best movies as director and actor
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