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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Clint Eastwood Cover Gallery: 1970s part 2

After the filming of Breezy had finished, Warner Brothers announced that Eastwood had agreed to reprise his role as Detective Harry Callahan in a sequel to Dirty Harry, running under the title, Vigilance. Writer John Milius came up with a storyline in which a group of rogue young officers in the San Francisco Police Force systematically exterminate the city's worst criminals, portraying the idea that there are worse cops than Dirty Harry. David Soul, Tim Matheson, Robert Urich and Kip Niven were cast as the young vigilante cops. Milius was a gun aficionado and political conservative and the film would extensively feature gun shooting in practice, competition and on the job. Given this strong theme in the film, the title was soon changed to Magnum Force in deference to the .44 Magnum  that Harry liked to use. Milius thought it was important to remind the audiences of the original film by incorporating the line "Do ya feel lucky?" repeated in the opening credits and with Dirty Harry once again eating a hot dog but this time foiling an airplane hijacking at the airport. With Milius committed to filming Dillinger, Michael Cimino was later hired to revise the script, overlooked by Ted Post, who was to direct. Frank Stanley was hired as cinematographer and Lalo Schifrin once again conducted the score and filming commenced in late April 1973. During filming Eastwood encountered numerous disputes with Post over who was calling the shots in directing the film, and Eastwood failed to authorize two important scenes directed by Post in the film because of time and expenses, one of them was at the climax to the film with a long shot of Eastwood on his motorcycle and he confronts the rogue cops. Eastwood was intent, like with many of his films on shooting it as smoothly as possible, often refusing to do retakes over certain scenes insisted on by Post who later remarked, "A lot of the things he said were based on pure, selfish ignorance, and showed that he was the man who controlled the power. By Magnum Force Clint's ego began applying for statehood". Post remained bitter with Eastwood for many years and claims disagreements over the filming affected his career afterwards. According to director of photography Rexford Metz, "Eastwood would not take the time to perfect a situation. If you've got seventy percent of a shot worked out, that's sufficient for him, because he knows his audience will accept it." Although the film was a major success after release, grossing $58.1 million dollars in the United States alone, a new record for Eastwood, it was not a critical success. New York Times critics such as Nora Sayre criticised the often contradictory moral themes of the film and Frank Rich believed it "was the same old stuff". Pauline Kael, a harsh critic of Eastwood for many years mocked his performance as Dirty Harry, commenting that, "He isn't an actor, so one could hardly call him a bad actor. He'd have to do something before we could consider him bad at it. And acting isn't required of him in Magnum Force."
Magnum Force by Mel Valley
Warner Paperback Library/Wyndham 0352-76501-5, Feb 1974. *Distributed in UK. [FC: Clint Eastwood]
——, 2nd imp., Mar 1974; 3rd imp., Feb 1977
Wyndham 0352-30238-0, [?1978], 60p
Gangsters at their country estates. Pimps in their El Dorados. Drug czars ringed by bodyguards. A vigilante with a deadly aim is gunning them down. He's cleaning up San Francisco, and no one can say that his victims don't deserve to die.
__But who is this executioner? Who will be his next target? When will he stop killing? Dirty Harry's itching to track him down, and if no one gives him the job—he'll take it.

In 1974, Eastwood teamed with Jeff Bridges in the buddy action caper Thunderbolt and Lightfoot. The idea for the film was originally devised by Stan Kamen of the William Morris Agency, but was written by Michael Cimino who had previously written for Magnum Force, the previous year and would direct the picture. The film is a road movie about an ex Korean War  veteran turned bank robber Thunderbolt (Eastwood) who teams with a young con man drifter, Lightfoot (Bridges) who try to stay ahead of the vengeful ex-members of his gang (George Kennedy and Geoffrey Lewis) in the search for a cash deposit abandoned from an old heist. Given that for Eastwood this was an offbeat film, Franks Wells of Warner Brothers refused to back Malpaso in the production, leaving him to turn to United Artists and producer Bob Daley. Frank Stanley was brought in as photographer with Dee Barton scoring the film as he had previously done on many of Clint's films. Although Eastwood generally refused to spend much time in scouting for locations, particularly unfamiliar ones, Cimino and Daley travelled extensively around the Big Sky Country in Montana for thousands of miles and eventually decided on the Great Falls area and to shoot the film in the towns of Ulm, Hobson, Fort Benton, Augusta and Choteau and surrounding mountainous countryside. Filming for Thunderbolt and Lightfoot was shot between July and September 1973 and unusually for an Eastwood film, Cimino took a high number of retakes of scenes to perfect it. On release in spring 1974, the film was praised for its offbeat comedy mixed with high suspense and tragedy and Eastwood's acting performance was noted by critics to the extent that Clint himself believed it was Oscar worthy. Many critics widely believed that he was overshadowed by Jeff Bridges who stole the show in his performance as Lightfoot, and when he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, Eastwood was reportedly fuming at his own lack of Academy Award recognition. Despite critical acclaim, the film was only a modest success at the box office, earning $32.4 million. Eastwood was unhappy with the way that United Artists had produced the film and swore "he would never work for United Artists again", and the scheduled two film deal between Malpaso and UA was cancelled.

Thunderbolt and Lightfoot by Joe Millard (New York, Award Books,
Tandem 14621-2, 1974, 156pp.

The Eiger Sanction was based on a critically acclaimed spy novel by Trevanian. The rights to the film were bought by Universal as early as 1972, soon after the book was published, and was originally a Richard Zanuck and David Brown production. Paul Newman  was intended to the role of Jonathan Hemlock (Eastwood), an assassin turned college art professor who decides to return to his former profession for one last sanction in return for a rare Picasso painting; he must climb the Eiger face in Switzerland and perform the deed under perilous conditions. After reading the script, Newman declined, because he believed the film was too violent. With initial concerns over early scripts, in February 1974, Eastwood contacted novelist Warren Murphy (known for his The Destroyer assassin series) in Connecticut asking for assistance despite him having never read the book or having ever written for a film before. Murphy read the novel and agreed to write the script but was not happy with the tone of the novel which he believed was patronizing to its readers. A first draft created by Murphy emerged in late March and a revised script was completed a month later. George Kennedy, who had recently finished filming Thunderbolt and Lightfoot with Eastwood was cast as Big Ben Bowman, Hemlock's friend and secret adversary, Jack Cassidy cast as the Miles Mellough, and Thayer David as "Dragon," Hemlock's albinistic ex-Nazi boss, who is confined to semi-darkness and kept alive by blood transfusions. After a trip to Las Vegas, Vonetta McGee of Thomasine and Bushrod was cast as the African-American female spy Jemima Brown.

Mike Hoover, an Academy Award nominated professional mountaineer from Jackson, Wyoming was hired to serve as a mountaineering cinematographer and technical adviser during the shoot. He taught Eastwood how to climb over some weeks of preparation in the summer of 1974 in Yosemite, and filming commenced in Grindelwald, Switzerland on August 12, 1974 with an extensive team of professional climbing experts and advisers on board from America, England, Germany, Switzerland and Canada. The team were based at the Kleine Schneidegg Hotel for the entirety of the shoot. Although the Eiger is lower than many other mountains at 13,041 feet, it has been well documented for its treacherous climbing and means "ogre" in German and has earned its nickname "mörderwall" in German, literally meaning "killer wall". The decision by Eastwood to brave the mountain was strongly disapproved by Dougal Haston, the director of the International School of Mountaineering who warned him of the dangers and that he had lost climbers on the Eiger and even by cameraman Frank Stanley who thought that to climb one of the world's most perilous mountains just to shoot a film was unnecessary. According to camerman Rexford Metz it was a boyhood fantasy of Eastwood's to climb such a mountain and that he got off on displaying such heroic machoism. Despite Haston's warnings, the filming crew suffered a number of accidents. A 27-year old English climber David Knowles, who was acting as body double and photographer was tragically killed during filming, with Hoover narrowly escaping. The event was a devastating blow to the crew and Eastwood who almost pulled the plug on the project but proceeded because he didn't want to think Knowles had died in vain. Eastwood continued to insist on doing all his own climbing and stunts, despite potentially being just seconds from instant death. Cameraman Frank Stanley would later fall during the shoot but survived and was confined to a wheelchair for sometime and taken out of action. Stanley, who later managed to complete filming after a delay under pressure from an unsympathetic Eastwood, would later blame Eastwood for the accident due to a lack of preparation, describing him both as a director and an actor as "a very impatient man who doesn't really plan his pictures or do any homework. He figures he can go right in and sail through these things". Stanley was never hired by Eastwood or Malpaso Productions again. Several other accidents and events apparently took place during the filming which were protected from public knowledge by the producers.

Upon its release in May 1975, The Eiger Sanction was panned by most critics. A number of critics criticized Eastwood's performance as Hemlock, who fell short of the sophistication of the character portrayed in the book with Playboy describing the film as "a James Bond reject". Joy Gould Boyum of the Wall Street Journal remarked that, "the film situates villainy in homosexuals, and physically disabled men". Several critics failed to understand the plot and Pauline Kael of New York Magazine described the film as "a total travesty". The film was a commercial failure, receiving only $23.8 million at the box office, although the film has since become a cult classic among rock climbers. Once again Eastwood would blame the production company for the poor earnings and publicity of the film and departed from Universal Studios once again, forming a long-lasting agreement with Warner Brothers through Frank Wells that would transcend over 35 years of cinema and remain intact to this day.

The Eiger Sanction by Trevanian (London, William Heinemann, 1973)
Panther 0586-03981-3, (May) 1975.

The story to The Outlaw Josey Wales was inspired by a 1972 novel by an apparent Native Indian uneducated writer Forrest Carter, originally titled Gone to Texas and later retitled The Rebel Outlaw:Josey Wales. Later it would be revealed that Forrest Carter's identity was fake, and that the real author was Asa Carter, a onetime racist and supporter of Ku Klux Klan school of politics. The script was worked on by Sonia Chernus and producer Bob Daley at Malpaso and Eastwood himself paid some of the money to obtain the screen rights. It would be a Western, and the lead character, Josey Wales, is a rebel southerner who refuses to surrender his arms after the American Civil War and is chased across the old southwest by a group of enforcers. Michael Cimono and Philip Kaufman later overlooked the writing of the script, aiding Chernus. Kaufman wanted the film to stay as close to the story of the novel as possible and retained many of the mannerisms in Josey Wales's character which Eastwood would display on screen such as his distinctive lingo with words like "reckin", "hoss" (instead of "horse") and "ye" (instead of "you") and spitting tobacco juice on animals and victims. The characters of Wales, the Cherokee chief, Navajo squaw and the old settler woman and her daughter all appeared in the novel. Cinematographer Bruce Surtees, James Fargo and Fritz Manes scouted for locations and eventually found sites in Utah, Arizona and Wyoming even before they saw the final script. Kaufman cast Chief Dan George, who had been nominated for an Academy Award for Supporting Actor in Little Big Man as the old Cherokee Lone Watie. Sondra Locke, a previous Academy Award nominee, was cast by Eastwood against Kaufman's wishes, as the daughter of the old settler woman, Laura Lee. This marked the beginning of a close relationship between Eastwood and Locke that would last six films and the beginning of a raging romance that would last into the late 1980s. The film featured Eastwood's seven-year old son Kyle Eastwood. With Ferris Webster hired as editor and Jerry Fielding as musical composer.

Principal photography for The Outlaw Josey Wales began in mid-October 1975. A rift between Eastwood and Kaufman developed during the filming. Kaufman insisted on filming with a meticulous attention to detail which caused disagreements with Eastwood, not to mention the attraction the two shared towards Locke and apparent jealousy on Kaufman's part in regards to their emerging relationship. One evening Kaufman insisted on finding a beer can as a prop to be used in a scene but whilst he was absent, Eastwood ordered Surtees to quickly shoot the scene as light was fading and then drove away, leaving Kaufman even before he had returned. Soon after filming moved to Kanab, Utah on October 24, 1975, Kaufman was notoriously fired under Eastwood's command by producer Bob Daley. The sacking caused an outrage amongst the Directors Guild of America and other important Hollywood executives, since the director had completed all of the preproduction and had already worked hard on the film. Pressure mounted on Warner Brothers and Eastwood to back down, and refusal to do so resulted in a fine, reported to be around $60,000 for the violation. Symbolically, this resulted in the Director's Guild passing new legislation, known as 'the Clint Eastwood Rule' in which they reserved the right to impose a major fine on a producer for discharging a director and replacing him with himself. From then on the film was directed by Eastwood himself with Daley second in command, but with Kaufman's planning already in place, the team were able to finish making the film efficiently.

Upon release in August 1976, The Outlaw Josey Wales was widely acclaimed by critics. Many critics and viewers saw Eastwood's role as an iconic one, relating it with much of America's ancestral past and the destiny of the nation after the American Civil War. The film was pre-screened at the Sun Valley Center for the Arts and Humanities in Idaho in a six-day conference entitled, Western Movies:Myths and Images. Some two hundred esteemed film critics, academics and directors including critics Jay Cocks and Arthur Knight and directors such as King Vidor, William Wyler and Howard Hawks were invited to the screening. The film would later appear in Time magazines Top 10 films of the year. Roger Ebert compared the nature and vulnerability of Eastwood's portrayal of Josey Wales with his Man With No Name character in his Dollars westerns and praised the atmosphere of the film. The film is seen by many as a Western masterpiece and has been awarded a 97% rating on the critical website Rotten Tomatoes.

The Outlaw Josey Wales by Forrest Carter (as The Rebel Outlaw: Josey Wales, Gantt, Ala., Whipporwill Publishers, 1973; as Gone to Texas, London, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1975)
Futura 08600-7331-9 as Gone to Texas, 1976, viii+206pp.
——, 2nd imp., as The Outlaw Josey Wales, 1976, viii+206pp, 60p.
Few men came tougher than Josey Wales. He survived the raiders who massacred his family. He survived as a guerrilla soldier alongside Jesse James in the Missouri-Kansas border feuds. He lived through the Civil War as a Confederate rebel.
__When the war ended Josey Wales chose the hard road to Texas in search of a new life. Texas was more than 1,000 miles away. Behind him rode the Bluecoats. In front the way was barred by hostile Indians. And all around there were braggarts and bounty hunters ready to try their luck against the outlaw called Josey Wales.
After The Outlaw Josey Wales, Eastwood was offered the role of Benjamin L. Willard in Francis Coppola's Apocalypse Now but declined as he did not want to spend weeks in the Philippines shooting it. He was offered the part of a platoon leader in Ted Post's Vietnam War film, Go Tell the Spartans. Eastwood refused the part and Burt Lancaster played the character instead. Eastwood was presented with a script called Moving Target which had potential but needed a major rewrite. In the end it was decided to make a third Dirty Harry film. The script, devised by Stirling Silliphant had Harry up against a San Francisco Bay area Symbionese Liberation Army  type group, which in real life had terrorized the area in 1974 with ruthless kidnappings and violence, and the film would end in a shoot out at the gang's hideout on Alcatraz island. Eastwood met Silliphant in a restaurant in Tiburon  and instantly took a liking to the script, particularly the shoot out and the idea of Callahan having a woman as a police partner, his worst nightmare, a relationship which would gradually blossom during the course of the film and provide a backbone to the film's structure as they encounter different situations, from initial hatred to a fondness of each other and Callahan's genuine sorrow on her being shot in the finale. Silliphant wrote the script throughout late 1975 and early 1976 and delivered his draft to Eastwood in February 1976. Whilst Eastwood approved, he believed there was just a little too much emphasis on relationship rather than action and was concerned the fans might not approve, so Dean Riesner revised the script, keeping the structure but reducing Callahan's lines and placing in more action and making the mayor as the subject of the gang's kidnapping. Kate Moore was originally proposed to play the part of the female cop, but in the end it went to Tyne Daly. Her casting was initially uncertain, given that she turned down the role three times. She objected to the way her character was treated in parts to the film and showed concern that two members of the police force falling in love on the job was problematic, given that they would be putting their lives in jeopardy by not reaching peak efficiency. Daly was permitted to read the drafts of the script developed by Riesner and had significant leeway in the development of her character, although after seeing the film at the premiere was horrified by the extent of the violence.

With James Fargo to direct, filming commenced in the San Francisco bay area in the summer of 1976. Eastwood was initially still dubious with the quantity of his lines and preferred a less talkative approach, something perhaps embedded in him by Sergio Leone. He encountered serious difficulties in the bar scene with Harry and Kate (Daly) and the scene had to be shot at least 6 times. The film ended up considerably shorter than the previous Dirty Harry films, and was cut to 95 minutes. Upon release in the fall of 1976, The Enforcer was a major commercial success and grossed a total of $100 million, $60 million in the United States and easily became Eastwood's best selling film to date, earning more than some of his previous films combined. Critically, Eastwood's performance was poorly received and was named "Worst Actor of the Year" by the Harvard Lampoon and the film was criticised for its level of violence. His performance in the third installment was overshadowed by positive reviews given to Daly in her convincing role as the strong-minded female cop. Feminist reviewers in particular gave Daly rave reviews, with Marjorie Rosen remarking that Malpaso "had invented a heroine of steel" and Jean Hoelscher of Hollywood Reporter praising Eastwood for abandoning his ego in casting such as strong female actress in his film.

The Enforcer by Wesley Morgan (New York, Warner Books, 1976)
Star 0352-30239-9, 1978.
——, 2nd imp., 1980, 189pp, £1.25.
San Francisco trembles when a group of terrorists lays siege to the city, planting bombs and demanding millions. Frightened officials start cracking down on suspected political militants—but Harry Callahan knows a heist when he sees one. These are hoods—and the only cause they're fighting for is the money. To end their power play, Harry will fight dirty as they do and make sure the blood they shed will be their own.
In 1977, Eastwood directed and starred in The Gauntlet, in which he played a down-and-out cop who falls in love with a prostitute whom he's assigned to escort from Las Vegas to Phoenix in order for her to testify against the mob. Written by Dennis Shryack and Michal Butler, Steve McQueen and Barbra Streisand were originally cast as the film's stars. Fighting between the two forced them to drop out of the project, with Eastwood and Locke replacing them. References to political corruption and organized crime  were depicted in the film. Although a moderate hit with the viewing public, critics were mixed about the film, with many believing it was overly violent. Eastwood's long time nemesis Pauline Kael called it "a tale varnished with foul language and garnished with violence". Roger Ebert, on the other hand, gave it three stars and called it "...classic Clint Eastwood: fast, furious, and funny." David Ansen of Newsweek wrote, "You don't believe a minute of it, but at the end of the quest, it's hard not to chuckle and cheer".

The Gauntlet by Michael Butler & Dennis Shryack (New York, Warner Books, 1977)
Star 0352-30159-7, 1977, 208pp, 60p.
——, 2nd imp., 1978; 3rd imp., 1979, 70p;
——, 4rd imp., 1980, 208pp, £1.25.
He was a cop who "got a job done."
__She was a hooker set up by both the law and the mob to have a job done on her.
__They were two people with nothing left to do but run...
In 1978, Eastwood starred in Every Which Way But Loose  an uncharacteristic, offbeat comedy role. Eastwood played Philo Beddoe, a trucker and brawler who roamed the American West, searching for a lost love, while accompanying his best brother/manager Orville and his pet orangutan, Clyde. The script, written by Jeremy Joe Kronsberg  had been turned down by many other big production companies in Hollywood and most of Eastwood's production team agents all though it was ill advised. Bob Hoyt  who Eastwood had contacts with through his Malpaso secretary Judy Hoyt and Eastwood's long term friend Fritz Manes thought it showed promise and eventually convinced Warner Brothers to buy it. An orangutan named Manis was brought in to play Clyde, Geoffrey Lewis as the dimwitted Orville, Beverly D'Angelo as his girlfriend and Sondra Locke as Lynn Halsey-Taylor, the country and western barroom singer. Songwriter Snuff Garrett  was hired to write songs for the film, including three for Locke's character, something which proved problematic as Locke was not a professional singer. Upon its release, the film was a surprising success and became Eastwood's most commercially successful film at the time and ranks high amongst those of his career to date, becoming the second-highest grossing film of the year. It was panned by the critics, with Variety  commenting that, "This film is so awful it's almost as if Eastwood is using it to find out how far he can go - how bad a film he can associate himself with". David Ansen of Newsweek described the film as, "plotless junk heap of moronic gags, sour romance and fatuous fisticuffs.

Every Which Way But Loose by Jeremy Joe Kronsberg (New York, Warner Books, 1980)
Robert Hale (h/c), 1980.
Star 0352-30795-1, (Dec)1980, 191pp, £1.25. [FC: Clint Eastwood]

In 1979, Eastwood starred in the fact-based movie Escape from Alcatraz, based on the true story of Frank Lee Morris, who, along with John and Clarence Anglin escaped from the notorious Alcatraz  prison in 1962. The inmates dug through the walls with their spoons, made papier-mache dummies as decoys and made a raft out of raincoats and escaped across San Francisco Bay, never to be seen again. The script to the film was written by Richard Tuggle, based on the 1963 non-fiction account by J. Campbell Bruce. Eastwood was drawn to the role as ringleader Frank Morris and agreed to star, providing Don Siegel directed under the Malpaso banner. Siegel inisted that it be a Don Siegel film and out-maneouvered Clint by purchasing the rights to the film for $100,000. This created a rift between the friends, causing Siegel to depart to Paramount, a rival studio. Although their disagreement was later patched up and Siegel agreed for it to be a Malpaso-Siegel production, Siegel would never direct an Eastwood picture again. As Siegel and Tuggle worked on the script, the producers paid $500,000 to restore the decaying prison and recreate the cold atmosphere, although some interiors had to be recreated within the studio. The film was a major success, earning $34 million in the states alone and was widely acclaimed by critics, marking the beginning of a newly found critical praise Eastwood began to receive in the early 1980s. Frank Rich of Time described the film as "cool, cinematic grace", whilst Stanley Kauffman of The New Republic called it "crystalline cinema".
Escape from Alcatraz by J. Campbell Bruce (New York, McGraw-Hill, 1963; London, Hammond, 1964; revised, Comstock, 1976)
Mayflower-Dell 2405, 1966, 221pp.
Futura 07088-1692-4, 1979, 218pp, 90p. [FC: film poster, Clint Eastwood]
Alcatraz. Throughout time, the stark, rainlashed rock had stood, an ominous scar on the face of San Francisco's scenic bay.
__By the twentieth century, riots, bloodshed, madness and murder filled the penitentiary that was built on its forbidding shore.
__Bugs Moran and Machine Gun Kelly passed silent years in its cold, damp cells. Al Capone did laundry for the Army by day and went insane by night. They never escaped. It was said no one ever could.
__But Frank Lee Morris disagreed.

(* The main body text for this column is from the Wikipedia article "Clint Eastwood in the 1970s", accessed 24 September 2010 (last modified 23 August 2010).Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.)

1 comment:

Norman Boyd said...

Surprising that the publishers didn't use the Frazetta poster for the "Gauntlet"