Friday, 15 June 2018

Destination London: In between shooting Where Eagles Dare

Dateline: February 16, 1968
So you’re one of Hollywood’s biggest stars, and you’ve been asked to jet off to London to make a World War II action film with Clint Eastwood. The fee will be one million dollars — not a bad sum in 1968 — plus bonuses based on the blockbuster's box office gross. But there’s just one snag. Due to quarantine restrictions, you won’t be able to take your beloved dogs with you. In the UK at the time, regulations stated that any animals arriving from abroad would have to go into quarantine for six months, the amount of time considered necessary to ensure that they weren’t infected by rabies.
This was the dilemma facing Richard Burton when he set off to shoot Where Eagles Dare in the late 1960s. 

The Port Talbot actor, who relocated to Céligny, Switzerland in 1957, along with his then-wife Elizabeth Taylor, were hoping to take their four dogs with them — two Pekingese and two Yorkshire terriers named Cuthbert, Georgia, Oh Fi, and E’en So.

But when faced with the possibility of having to leave them behind, they found an ingenious solution. Because while the quartet might not have been allowed on British soil, there was nothing stopping them staying on British water. So the Pontrhydyfen -born star set about securing a boat for his four-legged friends.
And not just any old dinghy, but a white, 200-ton, 120-foot Bolvian yacht called Beatriz.
It was leased from the wealthy Patino family from Bolivia at a price of $2,400 a week, and having set sail from Calais docked off Tower Pier on the Thames where it remained for two months.

It cost an estimated $20,000 in total — that’s an eye-watering $140,000 in today’s money. The Burtons themselves stayed in the nearby Dorchester Hotel.
Fortunately, there were a few great pictures of Clint taken in London while he was here filming Where Eagles Dare, especially whilst he was out and about sightseeing around the city. I thought it would be a good idea to gather them up and include them here with this story, as there is something of a natural crossover with the Burton / Taylor story. 

Below: These three photos are very rare shots taken at MGM-British Studios, Borehamwood, England; during the spring 1968. The production had moved here for the interior scenes. The top picture shows Clint inside one of the studio’s offices; it’s not clear which office this is. However the press cuttings on the office board seem to feature a lot of stories based around Burton and Taylor, one of which is the Taylor birthday cake shot, so we know that this was taken after February 27th 1968. There also seems to be a reference to Cleopatra’s Barge. Could this be a lighthearted spin story relating to Taylor’s luxury moored yacht featured above? As the other pictures of Clint were featured in the same Japanese magazine article, they were probably shot around the same time. They show Clint outside the Borehamwood studios where he was perhaps about to embark on a sightseeing day out or simply heading back to his hotel.
Below: I have also included here the pictures of Clint taken on London Bridge. The top photo here clearly illustrates the bridge famously being dismantled, a project which began in 1967. This picture of the bridge, especially the skyline, when used in comparison, certainly helps in confirming Clint’s location. Perhaps he wanted to take in the bridge before it was sold off and shipped to Lake Havasu City, Arizona where the bridge would be reassembled stone by stone.
Below: Arguably the most recognised photos from this time period are the shots featuring Clint on a motorbike around London. Here are several which show Clint on Tower Bridge where he found time to chat to a local 'Bobby-on-the-beat', checking his London street map and on foot after visiting Westminster Abbey.
      
Whilst we do not proclaim to have all of the answers, all of these photos nevertheless provide a fascinating insight and a small glimpse as to what was happening in between the shooting of Where Eagles Dare.
Kind thanks to Kevin Wilkinson and Jayne Smart
Below: Some additional photos from this period

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

David Frangioni: An exclusive offer on the updated Clint Eastwood Icon Book! Release date: June 19th 2018

It was almost 2 years (to the day) when our friend and author David Frangioni, quietly entrusted me with news of his plans to update the superb artwork bible - Clint Eastwood Icon: The Essential Film Art Collection.
I’m not sure if that news was initially beneficial to my health. Why? Well, I guess because I always knew it was coming! Sitting patiently on ‘the wait’ is often a painful path to endure. However, I’m very pleased to report that the long wait is at last, finally over. Not that Frangioni has been sitting idle in those two years, far from it in fact…
It was Morgan Freeman’s ‘Red’ who said, ‘Geology is the study of pressure and time. That’s all it takes really... pressure... and time... That, and a big goddamn poster’   

In many ways, it’s a line that could so easily be attributed to Frangioni’s work. Compiling and producing such an extensive piece of work is far from simple. These exquisite and often extraordinarily rare posters are far from easy to acquire. It takes time, patience and often a great deal more than a pugno di dollari! Poster collecting is (at the best of times) an unpredictably long waiting game. It could of course been very easy for Frangioni to take the easy option. With thousands of pieces residing in his extensive collection, there was already a vast amount of material to generously extend the book’s content. 
However, Frangioni is a hard hunter and a committed pro. Moreover, he makes intelligent use of his connections - both respectfully and wisely – and as a result, secures some ‘big goddamn posters’ for us all to enjoy.
I’d love to rattle off some of what to expect in terms of new additions, but I’m not going to spoil the surprise element for anyone. What I can reveal is that you will see a great deal more, lavishly produced and rarely seen posters and collectables, some of which have already been confirmed as ‘the only one left in existence’
This new edition of Clint Eastwood: Icon presents an unprecedented collection of film art and rare material surrounding the legendary actor. This comprehensive trove gathers together poster art, lobby cards, standees, Italian Spaghetti Western Premier Posters, studio ads, and esoteric film memorabilia from around the world. From his early roles as the nameless gunslinger in Sergio Leone’s spaghetti Westerns, to the vigilante films of the 1970s and 1980s, through his directorial roles and latest releases, Clint Eastwood: Icon captures the powerful presence that turned Eastwood into the definitive American hero.
AN EXCLUSIVE OFFER FOR VISITORS OF THE CLINT EASTWOOD ARCHIVE
As a faithful follower of The Clint Eastwood Archive, David has very kindly put together an exclusive offer. Full details are below, but firstly, I’ll let David explain:
 
Yes, order here through the Archive and you will not only receive a signed edition of the new book but also a copy of the original book! In addition to this and for a limited time, worldwide shipping will be set at just $5.00!
To take up David’s generous offer: 
Please make PayPal payment of $30.00 USD + $5 shipping to:  dfrangioni@audio-one.com
* The new ICON book will be signed by David to the name supplied in their PayPal payment.


Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Clint begins filming The Mule in Georgia


The first report has come through to feature Clint shooting his new movie The Mule. It was reported by Kelby Vera today for The Mail online.
Clint Eastwood is returning to acting after six years of keeping his talent behind the camera. The legendary tough guy 88, was spotted filming his new project The Mule in Augusta, Georgia on Monday, where he looked breezy while carrying a flower around during the outdoor shoot. Eastwood, who is also directing the feature, plays the character Earl Stone, a down-on-his-luck man in his 80s who gets wrapped up in the seedy world of drug trafficking after taking what he thought was just a driving gig.
Clint was dressed in a lightweight tan shirt with a generous amount of pockets on its front. The San Francisco born actor/director wore a large straw hat to keep his skin protected from the sun. He walked around a garden area with a sunburst colored lily as cameras rolled. Later the Dirty Harry star was seen driving off in a beat up truck for another scene.
Between takes Clint relaxed under a shady veranda. The filmmaking team had been working shorter days because of Clint's age, opting for six hour stints on set instead of the typical 12 hour days. In The Mule, Clint Eastwood stars as Earl Stone, a man in his 80s who is broke, alone, and facing foreclosure of his business when he is offered a job that simply requires him to drive but is in reality sees him couriering drugs for a Mexican cartel. Throughout it all, Earl is haunted by his past mistakes which he's uncertain if he’ll have time to right those wrongs before law enforcement, or the cartel’s enforcers, catch up to him.
In addition to Eastwood, the Mule also features the talents of Bradley Cooper, Laurence Fishburne, and Dianne Wiest. American Horror Story: Murder House's Taissa Farmiga, Narcos' Michael Peña and Ignacio Serricchio of Bones also appear. This is Clint's first acting role since appearing in Trouble With The Curve in 2012. The Mule has not yet scheduled a release date.
My thanks to Dave Turner and Olly Peden


Monday, 4 June 2018

Magnum Force: The incredibly rare International mini lobby set of 22


Quite a few of the Eastwood fraternity were ever-so-slightly staggered to see this amazing set of 22 international 10x8 mini lobby cards appear recently for auction. In fact, none of us never even knew that such a large set ever existed! Their rarity was eventually reflected in the finishing price which reached an amazing $3,840.00.
Fortunately, I’m lucky enough to call the winning bidder (who will remain anonymous) a close friend. So it was wonderful to receive a phone call earlier this afternoon and grab some precious time to discuss all things Eastwood which of course, included this wonderful set.
This international set still remains something of a mystery, as they have never appeared in any form of Press book (domestic or international). Nevertheless, what can be revealed is that this set of 22 cards is probably not the full international set. So how can that be? Well, while discussing the set, my friend informed me that he already had some individual cards from the international set, some of which are actually different from any of those featured in the 22!
As most collectors will already know, the international sets do not carry any form of NSS (National Screen Service) number. Furthermore, unlike the standard set of 8 cards, the international cards are also free of any individual numbers. The standard set are usually marked 1 through 8. So of course, with no record of these appearing in any press book, or any other form of Warner Bros publicity material, it is virtually impossible to determine exactly how many cards were produced. It’s a cruel twist that (for the serious collector) must leave a deep sense of frustration.
However, let’s finish on a positive note. Here for your pleasure is the set of all 22, the largest set we have certainly seen, for the time being…
As always, thank you sir for providing and sharing all the details.