Saturday, 22 September 2012

Lalo Schifrin's Clint Classics finally to be released!

A couple of weeks ago I was informed of a super 4 CD set due out very soon. Lalo Schifrin: My Life in Music is due for release on Nov 15th.
What makes this set interesting, not only for film music collectors in general, but particularly Clint Eastwood collectors, is the fact that this marks the first ever official release of music from Coogan’s Bluff, The Beguiled and Joe Kidd! I was of course thrilled by this news. I remember from my Interview with Mr Schifrin, specifically asking him about these releases, and while he was hopeful they might one day materialise, he explained how difficult it was to put together with the likes of the musicians unions etc. One can only imagine the logistics of what is actually involved in seeing that these great scores are released. Also included in this set will be music from the excellent Don Siegel film Charley Varrick, a soundtrack that beautifully mirrored the essence of his Dirty Harry score.
Above: Lalo Schifrin, the Genius Composer
I spoke to Aleph records just this week, as I was curious to know if the scores were re-recorded for this set or the original recordings. I was delighted when they confirmed that they are the original recordings. The wonderful people at Aleph will be sending me a set, so I will be looking forward to reviewing it both here, and in my regular spread within Cinema Retro Magazine. In the meantime, below is an article from the much respected Jon Burlingame which was recently featured in Variety.
Left: This Rare Bootleg album, was the only release to previously contain music from the film

Eminence gris maestro Lalo Schifrin basks in spotlight
Despite having turned 80 in June, Lalo Schifrin shows no signs of slowing down: He will be honored at two festivals in Europe in October, has a four-CD career retrospective due for release, has written a book, and is the subject of a documentary.
The composer of "Mission: Impossible," "Cool Hand Luke," the "Rush Hour" films and more than 100 others is working on a large-scale classical commission. "But if the right movie comes along, I'll do it," he tells Variety.
Composer is profiled in an hour long documentary, "In the Tracks of Lalo Schifrin," by French filmmaker Pascale Cuerot (who has previously done bios of Maurice Jarre, Georges Delerue and Gabriel Yared). It will premiere Oct. 16 at France's Grand Lyon Film Festival.
He then flies to Vienna, where he will be honored during the Hollywood in Vienna festival, including a symposium Oct. 19 and a concert Oct. 22. David Newman will conduct such Schifrin favorites as "Dirty Harry," "Bullitt," "Enter the Dragon" and "Mission: Impossible," and Schifrin will be presented with the fest's Max Steiner Film Music Achievement Award.
"Lalo Schifrin is one of the most versatile musicians of our time, equally at home conducting orchestras, performing as a jazz pianist, or writing and arranging music for film, classical concerts and jazz," says Hollywood in Vienna producer Sandra Tomek. "He is a living legend."
That overused phrase really does apply to the Buenos Aires-born composer. His classical training combined with his passion for jazz first got him noticed in the late 1950s, then found a home in American movies and TV in the 1960s and '70s.
All of it will be showcased in a four-CD box, "Lalo Schifrin: My Life in Music," to be released Nov. 15 on the composer's own Aleph label. It includes tracks from three dozen Schifrin films (including previously unreleased music from "Coogan's Bluff," "The Beguiled," "Charley Varrick" and "Joe Kidd") plus numerous jazz and symphonic pieces.
Producer Nick Redman, who has overseen several Schifrin albums and will moderate the Vienna symposium, cites "his incomparable playing, his one-of-a-kind arrangements, his own vast horde of uniquely flavored jazz albums, combined with his continued reinventions that make listening to anything he did in the last 50-plus years as fresh and vital as it was the minute it was laid down on tape. That's the hallmark of a giant."
In the meantime, the prolific composer has written his second book (he penned an autobiography in 2008), "Music Composition for Film and Television" for Berklee Press. Aimed at aspiring film composers, it's filled with practical advice and musical examples from Schifrin's long career.


Reflecting on that career, he cites several key moments: studying at the Paris Conservatory in the early 1950s; meeting Dizzy Gillespie, who later asked him to join his band; being mentored by Universal TV music chief Stanley Wilson; working with film directors Stuart Rosenberg ("Cool Hand Luke") and Don Siegel ("Dirty Harry"); and conducting his "Cantos Aztecas" in 1988 at the pyramids of Teotihuacan, Mexico.
Schifrin says he appreciates the tributes, although he confesses, "I still don't understand why I'm such an object of attention. I remember when I was admiring other people -- Stravinsky, Bartok, Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk -- and I would make them objects of homage. In a way, they inspire me to keep going."
Above: The Beguiled: Schifrin told me this was one of his favourite Siegal/Eastwood movies.














Left: Joe Kidd, Schifrin also explained that there was a Bootleg release of the score which originated from South America.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Clint Eastwood: Master filmmaker at work. Book Review

About the book
Four-time Academy Award recipient Clint Eastwood is one of the most renowned film directors in the world. This authorized volume offers a revealing in-depth exploration of his influential filmmaking methods, comprehensively illustrated with unit photography, key art, production design sketches, and film frames. Covering all of Eastwood’s 32 films, including The Outlaw Josey Wales, Unforgiven, Mystic River, Million Dollar Baby, and Letters from Iwo Jima, the book is a full-career retrospective. To portray the maverick behind the camera, author Michael Goldman interviewed Eastwood; his longtime crew of award-winning cinematographers, editors, and production designers; and many celebrated actors, including Matt Damon, Leonardo DiCaprio, Gene Hackman, Sean Penn, Meryl Streep, Hilary Swank, and Forest Whitaker.
About the author
Michael R. Goldman is a veteran entertainment journalist who has been an editor at Daily Variety, senior editor at Millimeter magazine, and a contributor to American Cinematographer. He has written four books and countless articles about filmmaking.

So, is it as good as we are lead to believe? Oh Yeah, absolutely...
How refreshing it is to be utterly consumed by these newly unearthed stories. Clint Eastwood Master Film Maker at Work provides genuine, first-hand accounts of Eastwood's filmmaking style and technique. Miraculously researched and illustrated throughout with an abundance of rare and previously unseen photos, production sketches and designs, Michael Goldman's book stands tall as an essential, authoritative work. Contained between its lavish 240 pages are over 60 original interviews with long time Eastwood collaborators such as Jack Green, Leonard Hirshan, Deborah Hopper, Robert Daly, Tom Stern, Buddy Van Horn, David Valdes and the late great Bruce Surtees. With insights provided by his loyal Malpaso crew and accounts from his closest friends, Goldman has successfully appraised the nature of Eastwood's dignified and simplistic approach to filmmaking. After reading some 50 titles on the man, never has a book on Eastwood ever provided such a definitive insider's guide. My advice, don't hesitate in ordering it, you won't regret it.

I would like to thank Author Michael Goldman and Jane Pickett of Abrams & Chronicle Books for contributing this wonderful book.
Click here for the amazon sales link
Click here for the Publisher’s page

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Trouble with the Curve 2012

As we have entered the month of September, I thought it was just about time to set up a dedicated area for Clint’s latest project, Trouble with the Curve. Trouble with the Curve is a sports-drama film starring Clint Eastwood, Amy Adams, Justin Timberlake, Matthew Lillard, and John Goodman. The film revolves around a retiring baseball scout who brings his daughter on his final trip. Filming began in March 2012 with a scheduled release of September 21, 2012.
This is Clint's first acting project since 2008's Gran Torino and the first film he will star in since In the Line of Fire not to have him as director.
An aging Atlanta Braves baseball scout named Gus Lobel (Eastwood) is given one last assignment to prove his worth to the organization, who sees him as unable to adapt to changes in the business. His boss and friend Pete (Goodman), who does not want to see him let go, asks Gus's daughter Mickey (Adams) to join him on the trip to make sure he's ok, against Gus's wishes. Together they scout a top new prospect in North Carolina, where Mickey begins to take an active role in her father's work to make up for his failing vision, which he has hidden from his bosses. Along the way Gus reconnects with Johnny (Timberlake), a rival team's scout who has a friendly history with Gus, as Gus was the man who scouted him when he was a baseball player, and who also takes an interest in Mickey.
Below: Here are the two current Trailers


Below: Here are the official TV Spots 1 - 4


Some Production History:
Stories began appearing during October 2011, here are a few that appeared during that time.

From The Hollywood Reporter 10/5/2011 by Borys Kit
Clint Eastwood Acting Again in 'Trouble With the Curve'

His long-time associate Robert Lorenz will direct the project.

Clint Eastwood, who once said that 2008’s Gran Torino would likely be his last acting gig, is in talks to go in front of the camera once again for Trouble With the Curve.

His longtime producing partner at Malpaso Productions Robert Lorenz is in talks to direct the baseball drama, set up at Eastwood’s longtime home of Warner Bros.
The script, by Randy Brown, centers on an aging baseball scout who goes on a road trip with his adult daughter.
The 81-year old Eastwood was due to direct A Star Is Born for Warners but when star Beyonce Knowles got pregnant, that pushed the remake into limbo, leaving Eastwood, never one to stand still, with an open slot.
Beyond the fact that Eastwood is agreeing to act again, the project is notable in that Lorenz will be making his directorial debut. While Lorenz has been producing Eastwood’s movies since 2002’s Blood Work, he’s also been working as an assistant director for the actor-director since 1995’s The Bridges of Madison County, with his last behind-the-camera credit 2004’s Million Dollar Baby.

Webpronews reported
Clint Eastwood: How Justin Timberlake Got On His Bad Side
Amanda Crum · July 27, 2012
 
Clint Eastwood has been in the business long enough to know when a project is going to work and when it won’t; he famously ended his Western career after wrapping “Unforgiven” in 1992 and has judiciously selected his films since then, working mainly for…himself. As a director, his career took a whole new turn with successes like “Mystic River”, “Gran Torino”, and “Million Dollar Baby”, and he starred in several of the films he helmed. But now, he’s been asked to star in a film by Robert Lorenz about an aging baseball scout, and Eastwood trusted his gut enough to sign on as the lead character, Gus.
 
The film also stars Amy Adams as his daughter, who agrees to accompany him on a trip to see a baseball phenom in action, and John Goodman, who plays his boss. And, in something of a departure for the young actor, Justin Timberlake shows up as Johnny, a young rival scout who strikes up a friendship on the road with Gus. Of course, after he insinuates himself into the relationship between Gus and his daughter–and ultimately begins to look at her as more than a friend–Eastwood throws on that famous scowl and does the scary-dad thing.

Lorenz says of "Trouble With The Curve":
“He (Goodman’s character) recognizes that Gus is at risk of losing his job. There are younger people at the organization who think it’s time for new blood. Gus is old school, and they want to move him out.”

Lorenz and Eastwood are old pals, having worked together on films like “Mystic River” and “Letters From Iwo Jima”, so it’s no surprise that the grizzly actor decided to do the project. The film premieres in September; no word yet on how Timberlake felt when confronted with Eastwood’s angry-face.

‘Trouble with the Curve’ to Feature Music by Marco Beltrami
July 16, 2012 by filmmusicreporter
Composer Marco Beltrami
Beltrami is currently scoring the drama Trouble with the Curve. The film is directed by Robert Lorenz and stars Clint Eastwood as an aging baseball scout who is losing his sight and takes a road trip to Atlanta with his daughter to take a look at a hot prospect. Amy Adams, Justin Timberlake, John Goodman, Matthew Lillard and Scott Eastwood are also starring. Robert Brown wrote the film’s script. The project marks the directorial debut of Lorenz who has previously produced most of Eastwood’s movies over the last decade including Mystic River, Letters from Iwo Jima and Gran Torino. Lorenz and Eastwood are also producing the drama for Malpaso Productions. Trouble with the Curve is set to be released on September 28, 2012 by Warner Bros. Pictures.

March 2012 Screenrant reported
Amy Adams & Matthew Lillard Join Clint Eastwood in ‘Trouble with the Curve’ by Sandy Schaefer

Gran Torino was supposed to have been Clint Eastwood’s swansong, as an actor. However, in the latter months of 2011, news got out that the 81-year-old Hollywood icon would work in front of the camera one more time on Trouble with the Curve, the directorial debut of his frequent assistant director/producer, Robert Lorenz.
Sandra Bullock was briefly raised as a possibility to portray Eastwood’s daughter in the film, but a scheduling conflict reportedly forced the Oscar-winning actress to withdraw. Word got out shortly thereafter that another acclaimed starlet, namely Amy Adams, could be taking Bullock’s place; now, it seems that casting move is essentially set in stone.
EW has the exclusive on Matthew Lillard being in talks to also join the cast of Trouble with the Curve. The star of the original Scream and live-action Scooby-Doo movies is in a good place right now, thanks to his supporting turn in the new Golden Globe-winning (and Oscar front-runner) The Descendants – so, signing on for what should actually be Eastwood’s final starring vehicle could easily help keep Lillard’s win streak alive.
The Wrap has also learned that Joe Massingill is being eyed for Trouble with the Curve. The young Georgia-born actor only has one-episode stints on TV shows like Glee and Zeke and Luther on his resume. Combine that with the likelihood that Massingill is being eyed for a pivotal part in Lorenz’ film and it’s safe to say, this casting move will only help his standing in Hollywood.
Trouble with the Curve tells the tale of a nearly-blind baseball scout (Eastwood) who sets out with his adult daughter (Adams) for one final recruiting mission to check out a promising up-and-coming player in Atlanta (Massingill?). Lillard, should he sign on, would portray a rival scout.
It’s interesting how Trouble with the Curve has the potential to be a breakout project for several people, including Massingill as an actor, Lorenz as a director, and relative newcomer Randy Brown as a screenwriter. Kind of ironic, really, seeing how it’s both a story about the end of one man’s professional career (life?) AND meant to be a final sendoff for Eastwood as a star of the big screen.

Lorez, as mentioned before, hasn’t actually directed a film yet, so it will be interesting to see how much he’s learned (and borrows) from Eastwood, having collaborated with the man on virtually every one of his projects released over the past decade. In all honesty, there seems to be a good chance that Trouble with the Curve could look and feel so much like an Eastwood-directed flick that many casual moviegoers will assume that’s actually the case.
Trouble with the Curve is scheduled to begin production by March 2012. Since it’s an inexpensive, character-driven drama, shooting shouldn’t take too long; according to IMDB, the film is already set to hit theaters in France by January 2013. So, a late Oscar-qualifying U.S. limited run before the end of 2012 doesn’t seem out of reach (for now).

On Jan. 31, 2012 Variety reported:
Justin Timberlake plays ball with Clint Eastwood
'Social Network' actor to star opposite Amy Adams in WB's 'Curve' pic
By Jeff Sneider, Justin Kroll

"The Social Network" star Justin Timberlake is set to join Clint Eastwood and Amy Adams in Warner Bros.' "Trouble With the Curve," which will mark the directorial debut of Eastwood's longtime producing partner Robert Lorenz.
Randy Brown wrote the script, which finds Eastwood playing an aging baseball scout with vision problems who takes a road trip to Atlanta with his daughter to take a look at a hot prospect.
Timberlake will play Eastwood's pal Johnny Flanagan, a former pitcher who now works as a baseball scout for the New York Yankees. His character is a potential love interest for Adams, who plays Eastwood's daughter.
Eastwood and Lorenz will produce through their Malpaso banner, while Michele Weissler will also be involved in a producer capacity, having who brought the project to Malpaso. Sarah Schechter will oversee the project for WB.




Feb 8th, 2012 cinemablend.com reported:
John Goodman Joins Baseball Drama Trouble With The Curve
by Eric Eisenberg
John Goodman and Justin Timberlake may soon become the closest of friends. In addition to the fact that both are starring in the upcoming Coen brothers film Inside Llewyn Davis, now it's been confirmed that they will be teaming up on the baseball drama Trouble With The Curve.
Timberlake's casting was announced last week and now, according to Variety, Goodman has signed on as well. The film tells the story of an aging baseball scout, played by Clint Eastwood, who is getting ready to retire due to his failing eyesight. As one final job, he decides to go on a road trip to Atlanta to check out a hot new prospect, bringing his daughter (Amy Adams) along for the ride. Goodman will play a character named Pete Klein, who is another baseball scout and a believer that Eastwood's character isn't ready to retire just yet. The project is being directed by Robert Lorenz, who is Eastwood's production partner at Malpaso Productions and the script was written by Randy Brown.
Goodman has been super busy as of late, and in no way is that a bad thing. In addition to the fact that he's in two movies nominated for Best Picture this year (The Artist and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close), he has three titles coming out later this year - Argo, ParaNorman, and Flight - and is in development on a number of others. It's always great to see Goodman on the big screen and seeing him with talent like Eastwood, Adams and Timberlake only makes things sweeter.

You can also check out the official website
Click here

Clint addresses the 2012 Republican National Convention

CLINT EASTWOOD DELIVERS REMARKS AT THE REPUBLICAN NATIONAL
CONVENTION  
Above: View Full Speech
Below: Full Text
EASTWOOD: Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you very much. Save a little for Mitt.
(APPLAUSE)
I know what you are thinking. You are thinking, what’s a movie tradesman doing out here? You know they are all left wingers out there, left of Lenin. At least that is what people think. That is not really the case. There are a lot of conservative people, a lot of moderate people, Republicans, Democrats, in Hollywood. It is just that the conservative people by the nature of the word itself play closer to the vest. They do not go around hot dogging it.
(APPLAUSE)
So -- but they are there, believe me, they are there. I just think, in fact, some of them around town, I saw John Voigt, a lot of people around.
(APPLAUSE)
John’s here, an academy award winner, a terrific guy. These people are all like-minded, like all of us. So I -- so I’ve got Mr Obama sitting here. And he’s -- I was going to ask him a couple of questions. But -- you know about -- I remember three and a half years ago, when Mr Obama won the election. And though I was not a big supporter, I was watching that night when he was having that thing and they were talking about hope and change and they were talking about, yes we can, and it was dark outdoors, and it was nice, and people were lighting candles. They were saying, I just thought, this was great. Everybody is crying, Oprah was crying.
(LAUGHTER)
EASTWOOD: I was even crying. And then finally -- and I haven’t cried that hard since I found out that there is 23 million unemployed people in this country.
(APPLAUSE)
Now that is something to cry for because that is a disgrace, a national disgrace, and we haven’t done enough, obviously -- this administration hasn’t done enough to cure that. Whenever interest they have is not strong enough, and I think possibly now it may be time for somebody else to come along and solve the problem.
(APPLAUSE)
So, Mr President, how do you handle promises that you have made when you were running for election, and how do you handle them? I mean, what do you say to people? Do you just -- you know -- I know -- people were wondering -- you don’t -- handle that OK. Well, I know even people in your own party were very disappointed when you didn’t close Gitmo. And I thought, well closing Gitmo -- why close that, we spent so much money on it. But, I thought maybe as an excuse -- what do you mean shut up?
(LAUGHTER)
OK, I thought maybe it was just because somebody had the stupid idea of trying terrorists in downtown New York City.
(APPLAUSE)
I’ve got to hand it to you. I have to give credit where credit is due. You did finally overrule that finally. And that’s -- now we are moving onward. I know you were against the war in Iraq, and that’s okay. But you thought the war in Afghanistan was OK. You know, I mean -- you thought that was something worth doing. We didn’t check with the Russians to see how did it -- they did there for 10 years.
(APPLAUSE)
But we did it, and it is something to be thought about, and I think that, when we get to maybe -- I think you’ve mentioned something about having a target date for bringing everybody home. You gave that target date, and I think Mr Romney asked the only sensible question, you know, he says, “Why are you giving the date out now? Why don’t you just bring them home tomorrow morning?”
(APPLAUSE)
And I thought -- I thought, yeah -- I am not going to shut up, it is my turn.
(LAUGHTER)
So anyway, we’re going to have -- we’re going to have to have a little chat about that. And then, I just wondered, all these promises -- I wondered about when the -- what do you want me to tell Romney? I can’t tell him to do that. I can’t tell him to do that to himself.
(APPLAUSE)
You’re crazy, you’re absolutely crazy. You’re getting as bad as Biden.
(APPLAUSE)
Of course we all now Biden is the intellect of the Democratic party.
(LAUGHTER)
Kind of a grin with a body behind it…
(LAUGHTER)
But I just think that there is so much to be done, and I think that Mr Romney and Mr Ryan are two guys that can come along. See, I never thought it was a good idea for attorneys to the president, anyway.
(APPLAUSE)
I think attorneys are so busy -- you know they’re always taught to argue everything, and always weight everything -- weigh both sides. They are always devil’s advocating this and bifurcating this and bifurcating that. You know all that stuff. But, I think it is maybe time -- what do you think -- for maybe a businessman. How about that?
(APPLAUSE)
A stellar businessman Quote, unquote, “a stellar businessman.” And I think it’s that time. And I think if you just step aside and Mr Romney can kind of take over. You can maybe still use a plane.
(APPLAUSE)
Though maybe a smaller one, not that big gas guzzler you are going around to colleges and talking about student loans and stuff like that.
(APPLAUSE)
You are an -- an ecological man. Why would you want to drive that around? OK, well anyway. All right, I’m sorry. I can’t do that to myself either.
(APPLAUSE)
I would just like to say something, ladies and gentlemen. Something that I think is very important. It is that, you, we -- we own this country.
(APPLAUSE)
We -- we own it. It is not you owning it, and not politicians owning it. Politicians are employees of ours.
(APPLAUSE)
And -- so -- they are just going to come around and beg for votes every few years. It is the same old deal. But I just think it is important that you realize , that you’re the best in the world. Whether you are a Democrat or Republican or whether you’re libertarian or whatever, you are the best. And we should not ever forget that. And when somebody does not do the job, we got to let them go.
(APPLAUSE)
Okay, just remember that. And I’m speaking out for everybody out there. It doesn’t hurt, we don’t have to be
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Make my day...
(LAUGHTER)
EASTWOOD: I do not say that word anymore. Well, maybe one last time.
(LAUGHTER)
We don’t have to be -- what I’m saying, we do not have to be metal (ph) masochists and vote for somebody that we don’t really even want in office just because they seem to be nice guys or maybe not so nice guys, if you look at some of the recent ads going out there, I don’t know.
(APPLAUSE)
But OK. You want to make my day?
(APPLAUSE)
All right, I started, you finish it. ‘Go ahead.’
AUDIENCE: Make my day!
EASTWOOD: Thank you. Thank you very much.
(APPLAUSE)

Obama still a fan of Clint Eastwood despite chair speech: President Praises 'great actor' after bizarre RNC speech
After Clint Eastwood's speech to an empty chair at the Republican National Convention sparked the #Eastwooding meme, President Obama maintains he didn't mind: 'If you're easily offended, you should probably choose another profession' An empty chair aside, President Obama is still an aficionado of Clint Eastwood’s work on the Silver Screen, especially when he’s behind the camera. The President was more inclined to focus on Eastwood’s recent hits, like “Mystic River” and “Million Dollar Baby” — but that didn’t stop politicos on the Sunday talk shows from debating the impact on the presidential race of the actor’s oddball Republican National Convention speech. “He is a great actor, and an even better director,” Obama told USA Today aboard Air Force One en route to a campaign stop in Iowa Saturday. “I think the last few movies that he’s made have been terrific.” Eastwood’s rambling 12-minute performance Thursday was punctuated by a bizarre interview with an empty chair that was supposed to be propping up an invisible Obama. The unexpected bit of political theatre became a sensation on Twitter and led to an outpouring of interpretation, criticism and praise — but Obama himself would not join the critical chorus.

When the USA Today reporter asked him if Eastwood had offended him with the on-stage antic, he said with a smile: “One thing about being president or running for president — if you’re easily offended, you should probably choose another profession.”
Other Democrats were not so kind to the 82-year-old Hollywood legend. Former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday that all the online buzz about “#Eastwooding” is a negative for Mitt Romney’s campaign. “The reason we are debating and even discussing Clint Eastwood is because there is nothing memorable about Mitt Romney’s speech,” the Chicago mayor argued.
“And I think the Romney people — I know this, you have a convention, you want it about your candidate’s ideas, not about a bizarre performance.” Interviewed on the same show, former GOP presidential contender Newt Gingrich discussed the Eastwood episode in a more positive light. “It was a distraction,” he said, pivoting to find a positive. “I think in the long run it’s almost irrelevant... If you’re Mitt Romney and your choice is to have ‘Saturday Night Live’ decide to pick on Clint Eastwood or pick on you, I think I’d give them Clint Eastwood.” But if the Eastwood craze cut into Romney’s post-speech spotlight, an ever more powerful headline-snatcher — the upcoming unemployment report for last month — promises to impact Obama’s convention speech at the end of the week, Gingrich said. “If that Friday morning jobs report is bad, it will drown his speech,” Gingrich opined, adding that if it is dismal, it will be “a lot bigger” than Eastwood was last week. Yet at the same time Eastwood’s chair routine led to an explosion of commentary on the web, it also served to highlight a gap in social media prowess between Obama and his Republican challenger. A Twitter spokeswoman said Sunday that the Obama camp’s tweet in response to Eastwood’s chair shtick Thursday — the words “This seat’s taken” accompanying a picture of Obama sitting in a chair designated for the President — was the most retweeted tweet of the RNC, USA Today reported. It had been retweeted about 51,400 times. That ranked, the Twitter spokeswoman told the paper, as the President’s second-most retweeted message to date; it was surpassed only by the 61,500 retweets of Obama’s message from May in support of gay marriage. But Obama certainly stole Romney’s twitter thunder in Tampa. USA Today reported that the Twitter analysis site 140Elect.com found that Romney’s top tweet of the RNC had been retweeted just 4,800 times. That tweet, near the end of the GOP festivities, read: “Our economy runs on freedom, not government. It’s time we put our faith back in the American people.”

Was the message lost?
Whilst I generally tend to avoid American politics on this site, I’ve found this episode to be particularly interesting. I do wonder if Clint’s approach has perhaps been overlooked or even misunderstood? I came across a piece from Ian Martin who writes for the UK newspaper, The Telegraph. Iain Martin is one of Britain's leading political commentators. A former editor of The Scotsman and deputy editor of The Sunday Telegraph, he's currently writing a book about the financial crisis. Overall, I think Mr Martin was astute enough to read between the lines, and as a result, got it just about right. He concluded his report:

‘A constant complaint is that politics is now too scripted. Even the attempts at improvisation and informality are very obviously rehearsed or pre-planned. Voters can see the wiring and as a result they have become even more cynical about the motives of those seeking their votes. To his credit, Eastwood tried to avoid playing the game and didn't give a standard celeb-endorsement speech of the kind we've now seen a million times in which the actor or rock star looks straight at the camera and spouts some facile new-age nonsense about healing America, the world and the universe, before concluding that dreams can come true if only you vote for the guy that they, the celeb, have paid $250,000 to sit next to at dinner.
In contrast, Eastwood's introduction about the quiet conservatives in Hollywood was good. In the sections on Obama he was trying, rather awkwardly and incoherently as it turned out, to do what I imagine many Americans would love a chance to do: which is to ask Barack some questions about why, although he gives such smooth and well-gamed speeches which are loved by political communication experts, he is so rubbish at being President? Good for Clint. He tried something and it didn't really work. Are we now really so media-saturated and over-spun that we can no longer tolerate that?’