Clint Eastwood

His performance at the Republican Convention notwithstanding – I refuse to hold a grudge in light of his talent and his immense body of work – Clint Eastwood is the best anti-hero in film.

The only other actor I can think of who routinely played the hero/anti-hero was Humphrey Bogart.  Casablanca, The Big Sleep, The Treasure of the Sierra MadreThe Maltese Falcon… but Eastwood plays a far more hardened anti-hero than Bogart ever did.

John Wayne walked a thin line in The Searchers, and he played a sloppy drunk in True Grit, but John Wayne was the icon, John Wayne, and his iconic status as a hero was hard to escape.  I preferred Jeff Bridges in the remake.  What a perfect anti-hero, U.S. Marshall Reuben J. “Rooster” Cogburn.  Bridges played the character straight up, right out of the pages of the novella by Charles Portis.

True Grit

On Christmas Day I watched High Plains Drifter, a movie Mr. Eastwood both directed and starred in.  The unnamed protagonist is merciless, vicious.  And the film is brutal.  But it’s also unforgettable.

High Plains Drifter

Here’s some of the plot~

A stranger on horseback rides into the mining town of Lago. Three gun-toting men follow him into the saloon, taunting him. When they follow him to the barbershop, he kills all three of them. Impressed with this performance, a dwarf named Mordecai befriends the Stranger. An attractive woman named Callie Travers bumps into him in the street and insults and badgers him. When she slaps him, he drags her into the livery stable and rapes her. Next, he rents a room at the hotel. That night, he dreams about a man being brutally whipped. It is revealed later that Marshal Jim Duncan was whipped to death by gunfighters Stacey Bridges, Dan Carlin, and Cole Carlin while the people of Lago looked on. Only Sarah Belding, wife of hotelier Lewis Belding, made any attempt to rescue him.

You can read the rest here:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_Plains_Drifter

Not many actors would take the risks Eastwood has taken in his long career.

All hail the anti-hero.  He makes any story more interesting.

 

 

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20 Responses to Clint Eastwood

  1. I always liked his characters. Dirty Harry was a stand-out.

  2. Tim Dittmer says:

    Funny. I’ve often puzzled over Clint’s overwhelming acceptance.

    He did star in my favorite movie of all time, “Kelly’s Heroes” . Crazy enough to make me weep. ;-)

  3. It’s cuz he don’t take crap from nobody, Tim. As an actor and director he definitely has staying power. No sex appeal but staying power. And the protagonists he plays are often reprehensible characters.

  4. Yes, Greta. Dirty Harry is quite a movie.

  5. Amber Skyze says:

    Clint is a remarkable actor.

  6. Penelope says:

    OMG! That sounds totally harsh. Dude, I watched Pitch Perfect. Singing. Dancing. Dumb jokes. I do love Clint in all the Dirty Harry movies. And, I love this photo for obvious reasons…

    http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_4Buev2eybnY/SFe4hiHc32I/AAAAAAAACTY/ykfCBP03eJM/s640/Clint.jpeg

  7. Jaye says:

    I never was an Eastwood fan, but I think I’ve seen all his movies. (I did, however, have a huge crush on him as Rowdy in Rawhide). That said, he’s still a hell of an actor and he can do more with the silent stretches between dialogue than almost anybody else out there.

  8. andy holloman says:

    …. clint is truly the best, hands down a treasure for all of us, my fav clint films…..
    outlaw josey wales (one of finest westerns ever made)
    million dollar baby
    gran torino
    unforgiven

    …love how his roles have progressed as his age has, he was the tough guy, dirty harry, western hero, now the aging grandfather – crusty and fabulous

  9. Rawhide and Kelly’s Heros, Eastwood at his best. I’m not a great fan, but he does have staying power. ;)

  10. Katalina Leon says:

    I have The Man With No Name DVD trilogy boxset next to my writing desk so I can see Clint Eastwood’s handsome face and be inspired. I’ve loved him since I was a pre-teen and I chose to forget that embarrassing empty chair incident and cherish the opening moments of Heartbreak Ridge where he is swearing a blue streak in the drunk tank. Or the look on his face in “Two Mules For Sister Sara.” when he realizes the “nun” he has been conscientiously escorting across the countryside (Shirley Maclaine) is really a whore and he’s been getting nothing! lol
    XXOO Kat

  11. I agree, Kat. I don’t care about the empty chair. I think Clint Eastwood is terrific, both as an actor and director – and he’s evolved, become even more creative, as he’s aged. Here’s how I see him on screen – you never know exactly what to expect and he fits the character. For instance when I see Tom Cruise on-screen, I see Tom Cruise. Clint Eastwood disappears and I see only the character he’s playing.

  12. He definitely has longevity, Stephanie.

  13. Andy – I LOVED Gran Torino! What a great movie! He is a treasure.

  14. I actually haven’t seen all his movies, Jaye. I need to watch every single Dirty Harry movie.

  15. What a sweet photo, Penny! I haven’t seen Pitch Perfect yet. I do tend to shift between darker films and fluff like, say, Overboard!

  16. Tom Stronach says:

    By the time Sergio Leone made his movies I had forgotten this guy from Rawhide, but I suppose I was no different to anyone else in that, but from then until now he certainly has had an impact on most of our lives through his role I remember….nope can’t ever tell that story never mind (but it was b4 I got married!!!)

    Xxxx

  17. Okay, won’t tell Ishbel. Let us never speak of your story again, Tom.

  18. Juli says:

    I *loved* the Matt Damon/Jeff Bridges True Grit. Very good movie. Clint Eastwood is awesome too. I still wonder how Kim Harrison got away with using so many of his movie titles in her novels. ;)

  19. Juli – I sooooo loved the new True Grit. As it happens I loved the book as well, but I never thought the original film version did it justice. The version with Matt Damon/Jeff Bridges does.

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