Friday 30 July 2010

CLINT 35 Films 35 Years DVD Box Set Full Review

2010 has been something of a special year for Mr. Eastwood. As busy as ever, his latest movie Hereafter (2010) is already in the can and currently in the post production stages of completion. His next film, a story based on FBI founder J. Edgar Hoover not only serves as a mouth watering prospect, but is already in the early stages of pre production. In May, Eastwood celebrated a milestone 80th birthday in a typically low key and unadorned fashion. Warner Brother’s has been home for Eastwood since he settled there in the shape of a modestly built bungalow back in the 1970’s. As a mark of their huge admiration and genuine respect for Eastwood, the studio honoured their iconic statesman by releasing the mammoth retrospective DVD collection, Clint Eastwood: 35 Films 35 Years. Handsomely crafted, it’s hard to ignore this beautifully presented capsule of films. It is only when we are presented with such a huge and incredibly interesting body of work (contained within a singular package) that we can perhaps fully appreciate Eastwood’s immensely diverse and ‘brave’ choice of projects. From big budget epics like Where Eagles Dare, through genre classics including Dirty Harry and The Outlaw Josey Wales to modern day masterpieces such as Mystic River and Million Dollar baby, 35/35 is a truly fascinating exploration.

Released back in February 2010 (see site archive on right column), The Clint Eastwood Archive takes a closer look at this remarkable collection with detailed analysis of the set contents. Presented in a bound book form, each of its pages are representative of a specific genre or chapter in Eastwood’s career. With 2 discs per page (inserted from the top) and for the best part, 2 films per disc (1 film to each side), Warner’s have insured that the set never runs the risk of becoming too cumbersome or heavy. It’s smartly and simply laid out which makes finding a particular title easy to locate. Also added to each of the pages are the film’s relevant U.S. 1 sheet poster designs which also make for a nice touch.

Page 1 is titled ‘COPS’ In essence, it is Eastwood at his 1970’s hero cop best. Four superb titles including Dirty Harry (1971), Magnum Force (1973), The Enforcer (1976) and the comic book actioner, The Gauntlet (1977) ensure that this set makes for an explosive opening.
Disc 1 Side 1 Dirty Harry (1971) Special Edition

I was happy to see that Warner’s pressing of Dirty Harry was actually the same master used for the Dirty Harry Ultimate edition released on both Blu ray and standard DVD. Most significantly of course, is that this version contains the restored Warner / Kinney opening shield which ran from 1970-72 (Dirty Harry, Site archive, Feb, 2009).

So for serious Eastwood fans and film historians alike, this simple but effective move on the studio’s part is particularly appreciated. Also included is an informative film commentary by Eastwood biographer Richard Schickel. While Schickel’s narration is entirely ‘academic’ in style, it nevertheless provides the listener with an abundance of instructive background detail. Dirty Harry: The Original (29:41) is a tribute look at the Dirty Harry franchise and hosted by the late Robert Urich (rookie cop officer Michael Grimes in Magnum Force). It makes for an enjoyable watch and focuses on the influential aspect of Eastwood’s character and the modern action hero of today. Featuring Eastwood, Arnold Schwarzenegger, John Milius and Scorpio himself Andy Robinson, it works particularly well. Dirty Harry’s Way (7:03) is an original vintage featurette with some great behind the scenes footage of Eastwood and director Don Siegel at work. An interview gallery is a selection of extended interview clips from the previously mentioned Dirty Harry: The Original documentary. A Dirty Harry trailer gallery rounds off the extras and are the regular trailers that have been previously included on their individual titles in the series. Although there is nothing new included on this disc, it’s an excellent collection of material for anyone who is new to the Eastwood DVD market.

Disc 1 Side 2 Magnum Force (1973) Special Edition

Magnum Force continues to be a personal favourite of mine. While Dirty Harry remains at the top of my list, Magnum Force (for me) epitomises Harry as the personification of hero cop. Some critics labelled the original Dirty Harry as ‘fascist’ while others held the film in contempt due to the nature of its violence. For Siegel and Eastwood, it was simply nothing more than ‘a great little cop movie’. But with Magnum Force, Eastwood and director Ted Post decided to really give the critics something to moan about. Political red tape, murder, corruption and even a ‘death squad’ may have been a little too much for some critics. Yet, these same people remained blissfully blind to the fact that Magnum Force was an entirely plausible story of what was happening in the world and in particular, closer to home in American society.

Again, Warner Brothers have included their original Warner Communications company intro at the start of the film, allowing Lalo Schifrin’s opening percussion to be heard over that terrific 70’s logo (Magnum Force, Site archive, Feb, 2009). Also included is a great running commentary from screenwriter John Milius, who provides a much more relaxed approach. The accompanying documentary ‘A Moral Right: The politics of Dirty Harry’ (24:11) is a very good watch and explores the political standpoints of the Dirty Harry character. Also included is the original featurette ‘Hero Cop: Yesterday and today’ an excellent short with some great behind the scenes footage including the filming of the supermarket robbery sequence and director Ted Post at work. As with all of the Dirty Harry titles, the trailer gallery is also included.

Disc 2 Side 1 The Enforcer (1976) Special Edition

Warner’s remastering of the Harry titles sees The Enforcer opening with its original Warner Communications logo in place. The film is again an excellent entry in the series and has Harry teamed up with woman partner Inspector Kate Moore (Tyne Daly). James Fargo was promoted within the ranks of Malpaso and handed the director’s chair for the feature. James Fargo also supplies the audio commentary track and gives us a fine insight into the production and will prove particularly interesting for fans of Eastwood’s 1970’s movies. Included is an interesting documentary, The Business end: Violence in Cinema (30:05) which is pretty much self explanatory. The vintage short ‘Clint Eastwood, Something special in film’ (6:00) is another excellent ‘Professional Films/Robin’s Nest’ production which again provides a unique behind the scenes glimpse at the making of the film and leaves the viewer wishing these featurettes remained much longer. The Dirty Harry Trailer gallery again rounds off the disc.

Disc 2 Side 2 The Gauntlet (1977)

Eastwood’s last cop film of the 70’s was a great piece of comic book adventure and remains an essential classic of the decade. Eastwood plays Ben Shockley, a hard drinking, no nonsense cop with a reputation of getting the job done. Shockley survival skills are tested to the limit when he is sent to escort a ‘no name witness for a no name trial’ from Vegas to Nevada. The film’s big action sequences are well staged, if completely over the top. The film includes many Eastwood regulars of the time including Sondra Locke (excellent as witness Gus Malley) and the ever reliable Bill McKinney is great as a slightly disturbed cop who Shockley and Malley encounter along the way. There is also a superb Jazz score provided by the late great Jerry Fielding who had provided excellent soundtracks to Eastwood’s two previous pictures, The Outlaw Josey Wales and The Enforcer. Sadly, the original Warner’s Communication opening has not been restored to the print. Extras are only in the shape of the original theatrical trailer (a great trailer it is too). I understand there was an original featurette made at the time of production, but unfortunately it does not appear in the collection.

Page 2 is a continuation of the COPS collection

Disc 3 Side 1 Sudden Impact (1984) Special Edition

The fourth entry in the Dirty Harry series was the first and last to be directed by Eastwood himself. Sondra Locke co-stars as a rape victim who plans a number of revenge killings upon each of the gang that raped both her and her sister. Harry stumbles into the case while taking some time off at the request of his superiors. Sudden Impact remains an interesting piece in the series, as director Eastwood explores the character’s soul and questions his sense of moral justification. The film’s original Warner Communications logo has been lovingly restored again to this print, while Richard Schickel returns again to give an informative and insightful audio commentary. ‘The Evolution of Clint Eastwood’ (25:39) is another excellent documentary in the series, and the Dirty Harry Trailer gallery again completes the disc.

Disc 3 Side 2 Tightrope (1984)

Tightrope is a hugely underrated little cop thriller that emerged quietly in the mid 80’s. Eastwood stars as New Orleans law enforcer, Wes Block. ‘A cop on the edge’ as the film’s tagline informed us. Eastwood’s Wes Block proved to be an interesting departure. For once, his cop character became openly vulnerable and to some degree, a troubled man. The film also marked a starring role for the young Alison Eastwood playing one of Block’s own daughters and was the first feature to be directed by Richard Tuggle. Extras are only in the form of a single theatrical trailer.

Disc 4 Side 1 The Dead Pool (1988) Special Edition
It is no secret that Eastwood’s final film in the Dirty Harry series The Dead Pool, is by far the least popular with fans. While enjoyable enough, it is clear that Harry is about as far removed as possible from the charismatic cop that we had continued to celebrate some two decades before. It is notable for including a young Jim Carrey (as doomed rock star Johnny Squares) and provided the opportunity for Eastwood’s long time stunt double Buddy Van Horn to step into the director’s chair. For what is considered to be the weakest entry in the series, the disc certainly makes up for it in the extra features. Malpaso crew members Jack N. Green (Director of Photography) and David Valdes (Producer) provide an excellent audio commentary. ‘The Craft of Dirty Harry’ (21:35) proves to be one of the best of the Dirty Harry documentaries and includes an inside look at Eastwood’s regular Malpaso team. The documentary also features an interview with composer Lalo Schifrin and looks at his significance to the series, as well as exploring the prolific efficiency of Eastwood’s crew. The Trailer gallery again brings the extras to a close.

Disc 4 Side 2 The Rookie (1990)

The Rookie was directed by Clint Eastwood and produced by Howard G. Kazanjian, Steven Siebert and David Valdes. It was written from a screenplay conceived by Boaz Yakin and Scott Spiegel. The film stars Charlie Sheen, Clint Eastwood, Raul Julia, Sonia Braga, Lara Flynn Boyle and Tom Skerritt. Eastwood plays a veteran police officer teamed up with a younger detective played by Sheen, whose intent is to take down a German crime lord in downtown Los Angeles following months of investigation into his illegal activities. Extras are only in the form of a single theatrical trailer, which is a real shame as the comedic short, ‘Clint, the rookie and me’ (shot during the movie) is absolutely hilarious and really deserves to be seen.

Page 3 is titled ‘Man of Action’

Disc 5 Side 1 Where Eagles Dare (1969) Special Edition

Where Eagles Dare takes place during World War II. In the winter of 1943–44, U.S. Army Brigadier General George Carnaby, enroute to Crete to rendezvous with Russian forces to plan the final details of the invasion of Normandy, is captured by the Germans when his aircraft is shot down. He is taken to the Schloß Adler (The Castle of the Eagles – hence the story's title), a fortress high in the Alps above the town of Werfen and the headquarters of the German Secret Service in southern Bavaria. A special team of mainly British commandos is hurriedly assembled and briefed by Colonel Wyatt Turner and Admiral Rolland of MI6, and led by Major John Smith, MC (Richard Burton), and US Army Ranger Lieutenant Morris Schaffer (Clint Eastwood). Their mission is to parachute into the locality, infiltrate the Schloß Adler, and rescue General Carnaby before the Germans can interrogate him. Extras include the excellent original featurette ‘On location, Where Eagles Dare’ (12:38). The original theatrical trailer is also included.
Disc 5 Side 2 Kelly’s Heroes (1970)

Kelly's Heroes is an offbeat 1970 war film about a group of World War II soldiers who go AWOL to rob a bank behind enemy lines. Directed by Brian G. Hutton, who also directed the 1968 World War II drama Where Eagles Dare, the film stars Clint Eastwood, Donald Sutherland, Telly Savalas, Don Rickles, and Carroll O'Connor, with lesser roles played by Harry Dean Stanton, Gavin MacLeod, and Stuart Margolin. The screenplay was written by British film and television writer Troy Kennedy Martin. Extras are in the form of a single theatrical trailer.

Disc 6 Side 1 Firefox (1982) Special Edition

Firefox is a 1982 action film produced and directed by, and starring, Clint Eastwood. It was based on a 1977 novel with the same name written by Craig Thomas. The film details a joint Anglo-American plot to steal a highly advanced Soviet fighter aircraft (MiG-31, NATO code name "Firefox") which is capable of Mach 6, is invisible to radar, and carries weapons controlled by thought. Eastwood stars as Maj. Mitchell Gant, a Vietnam veteran who infiltrates the Soviet Union, aided by his ability to speak Russian (due to his Russian mother) and a network of Jewish dissidents and sympathizers, three of whom are key scientists working on the fighter itself. His goal is to steal the Firefox and fly it back to friendly territory for analysis. Extras include the excellent original BBC documentary ‘Clint Eastwood Director’ (29:58) which is in essence, a terrific making of Firefox. Also included is the original theatrical trailer.

Disc 6 Side 2 Heartbreak Ridge (1986)

Heartbreak Ridge is a 1986 war film, starring Clint Eastwood (who also produced and directed) and Mario Van Peebles, surrounding the 1983 U.S. invasion of Grenada, West Indies. Gunnery Sergeant Thomas Highway (Eastwood) is nearing mandatory retirement from the Marine Corps. He finagles a transfer back to his old unit. On the bus trip to his new assignment, he meets fellow passenger "Stitch" Jones (Van Peebles), a flashy wannabe rock musician who stiffs him for a meal at a stop and steals his bus ticket, leaving him stranded. Extras are in the form of a single theatrical trailer.

Page 4 is a continuation of the ‘Man of Action’ collection

Disc 7 Side 1 Absolute Power (1997)

Absolute Power is a 1997 American political thriller produced and directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Eastwood as a thief who witnesses a murder. The screenplay by William Goldman is based on the 1996 novel of the same name written by David Baldacci. It was screened out of competition at the 1997 Cannes Film Festival. The story describes a conflict that arises after a burglar witnesses Secret Service agents killing the beautiful young wife of an elderly billionaire during her drunken rendezvous with the President of the United States. The burglar is Luther Whitney (Eastwood), a master jewel thief. The President is Alan Richmond (Hackman), a known philanderer. The billionaire is Richmond's friend and financial supporter Walter Sullivan (Marshall), and his wife is Christy (Hardin). Luther has a daughter, Kate (Linney), who works as a prosecutor and has been estranged from him for years.

Disc 7 Side 2 True Crime (1999) Special Edition

True Crime is a 1999 mystery drama film directed by Clint Eastwood, and based on Andrew Klavan's 1997 novel of the same name. Eastwood also stars in the film as a journalist covering the execution of a death row inmate, only to discover that the convict may actually be innocent. Clint Eastwood plays Steve Everett, an Oakland journalist recovering from alcoholism, given the task of covering the execution of convicted murderer Frank Beechum (played by Isaiah Washington). Everett discovers that Beechum might be innocent, but has only a few hours to prove his theory and save Beechum's life. Eventually Steve learns that a young man named Warren, who was stabbed to death three years previously, killed the victim but is unable to prove it. Extras include 2 featurettes, ‘The Scene of the Crime’ (9.26) and ‘True Crime – True Stories’ (22.04). Also featured is the Diana Krall music video for ‘Why should I care’ (3.52) and the original theatrical trailer.

Disc 8 Side 1 Space Cowboys (1999) Special Edition

Space Cowboys is a 2000 adventure/comedy film directed by Clint Eastwood. Eastwood also stars in the film alongside Tommy Lee Jones, Donald Sutherland, and James Garner as four older "ex-test pilots" who are sent into space to repair an old Soviet satellite. An obsolete Soviet communications satellite is about to fall out of orbit and NASA agrees to deal with it. The onboard systems are so archaic that nobody at NASA understands them, so they ask retired United States Air Force pilot and electrical engineer Dr. Frank Corvin (Clint Eastwood), who designed the original guidance systems from which the satellite has been copied, to help them, despite the longstanding animosity between the engineer and project director Bob Gerson (James Cromwell). A flashback reveals that 40 years ago, Corvin's prospects as an astronaut had been dashed with the formation of NASA, a civilian agency. Corvin and his three-man team had been replaced by a chimp, which was a shrewd move calculated by Gerson. Meanwhile, in the present, NASA engineer Sara Holland (Marcia Gay Harden) argues with project manager Gerson regarding conflicting political and engineering concerns over the decaying satellite. Extras include 4 featurettes, ‘Up close with the editor’ (7.05), ‘Tonight on Leno’ (11.40), ‘The Effects’ (7.11) and ‘Back at the ranch: A look behind the scenes’ (28.10). Also included is the original theatrical trailer.

Disc 8 Side 2 Blood Work (2002) Special Edition

Blood Work is a 2002 mystery suspense thriller produced, directed by and starring Clint Eastwood. The film co-stars Jeff Daniels, Wanda De Jesus and Anjelica Huston. Terry McCaleb is an ailing veteran FBI agent who's been given a second chance at life by receiving the heart of a murder victim. Terry is visited by the murder victim's sister, Graciella Rivers, who informs him that he is alive only because of receiving the deceased's heart and asks him to investigate who killed her. Extras include 2 featurettes, ‘Making Blood Work’ (18.09) and ‘A conversation in Spanish with Wanda De Jesus, Clint Eastwood and Paul Rodriguez (14.19).


Tuesday 20 July 2010

Books: Clint A Retrospective

I’m happy to finally get this section off and started. It’s a dedicated Book area that I felt compelled to hold back for a while. For what reasons exactly, I’m not entirely sure? I received an email at the beginning of 2010 from a company asking if I would help contribute to a new book that was due to be published that same year. As ever, I am always happy to help and assist on any Eastwood project in order to see it is presented in the best possible way. What I didn’t realise at the time was that it was going to be Richard Schickel’s book, Clint: A Retrospective.
It wasn’t until I had this book arrive from Sterling Publications, that I realised exactly why I had delayed this particular section. Upon opening the pages of Retrospective, it all suddenly became very clear…

I am just a guy who makes movies
—Clint Eastwood
CLINT: A Retrospective
By Richard Schickel
Introduction by Clint Eastwood

For more than six decades, Clint Eastwood has made outstanding films. First as a leading actor and subsequently as an acclaimed director, Eastwood has carved out a uniquely successful career earning him five Academy Awards® for his achievements in front of and behind the camera. Eastwood’s memorable motion pictures have touched generations of filmgoers and established him as one of the true cinematic greats of all time. Celebrating Eastwood’s legendary role in film culture, the sumptuously illustrated book CLINT: A Retrospective (Sterling Publishing) offers intimate insight into his illustrious, instinct driven career that has remained unmatched in the history of the cinema. Presented chronologically, this stunning volume pays tribute to Eastwood’s accomplishments as an actor, moviemaker, and Oscar winning icon. Encompassing his earliest work as the heartthrob in the TV western Rawhide (1959), to his role in Sergio Leone’s A Fistful of Dollars (1964), which reinvented the Spaghetti Western genre, CLINT follows Eastwood’s growth as an actor and talented director. Special emphasis is paid to some of his best-loved and most well-respected movies, including his role as “Dirty” Harry Callahan in the five Dirty Harry films and The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976), the relatively early film that Clint continues to have great affection for; in addition to films such as Tightrope 1984), Bird (1988), Unforgiven (1992), In the Line of Fire (1993), The Bridges of Madison County (1995), Mystic River (2003), Million Dollar Baby (2004), Gran Torino (2008) and his latest, Invictus (2009), starring Matt Damon and Morgan Freeman.
CLINT: A Retrospective includes:
• Movie stills from memorable screen performances
• Revealing behind-the-scenes photos showing the filmmaker at work
• Three hundred and twenty-five photographs, meticulously researched from Warner Brothers’ files and other key image archives
• An introduction by Eastwood himself

Incisive commentary is provided throughout CLINT: A Retrospective by Richard Schickel, the acclaimed film critic and award-winning documentary filmmaker. In addition, the book includes an exclusive 22-minute DVD, an intimate documentary from Schickel and Warner Home Video entitled The Eastwood Factor.
CLINT: A Retrospective is timed to release alongside Warner Home Video’s comprehensive, elegant giftset, Clint Eastwood: 35 Films 35 Years at Warner Bros., available February 16. The collection will be packaged in a 20-page double-side album and will contain 19 discs that include 34 of Eastwood’s most classic films from the Warner library as well as The Eastwood Factor.
Considered the largest feature film box set ever released for a single artist, Clint Eastwood: 35 Films 35 Years at Warner Bros. highlights the depth and breadth of his work. Included are his “Dirty Harry” movies, Westerns, war movies, comedies, Best Picture Oscar-winning dramas including Million Dollar Baby and Unforgiven, and many more. Select titles from the set will also be available for download via
iTunes, Xbox Live, Zune Marketplace, Amazon video on Demand and other digital retailers.

**I will be posting my full review of this set here at The Clint Eastwood Archive very shortly**
Richard Schickel is an award-winning documentary filmmaker, movie historian,and film critic who has published more than thirty books and produced, written, and directed more than thirty films for television. He was a film critic for Life and Time for 43 years. His many books about film include Elia Kazan: A Biography; The Essential Chaplin, an anthology of critical writings about the great comedian; The Disney Version, a study of the life, times, and art of Walt Disney; and You Must Remember This: The Warner Brothers Story.

CLINT: A Retrospective
By Richard Schickel
Introduction by Clint Eastwood

ISBN 978-1-4027-7472-0
HC and DVD, 288 Pages, 9 ¾ X 11 ½
Sterling Publishing Co, Inc.
Available NOW!

The Clint Eastwood Archive would like to thank Sterling Publications for sending us this book and for their support.

Monday 12 July 2010

Playboy Magazine March 1972 "Clint Eastwood: Pushover for Pullovers"

Here's a wonderful and rarely seen piece. Clint did this fashion shoot for the popular men's magazine in the March edition of 1972 (Vol. 19, No. 3). Called "Clint Eastwood: Pushover for Pullovers" Clint posed with model-actresses Susan Blakely and Shelley Smith. Costing $1.00 in 1972, the magazine now changes hands for between $20-25. A great little time capsule, these photos retain a great deal of charm, unlike the "Pullovers"! Fantastic!

Tuesday 6 July 2010

Cinema Retro's Dollar Trilogy Special NOW OUT

Issue #2: The Clint Eastwood Dollars Trilogy

Cinema Retro's eagerly-awaited limited edition Movie Classics tribute issue to the Sergio Leone/ Clint Eastwood Dollars trilogy is now shipping worldwide.
All pre-ordered issues have now been mailed.

In the footsteps of Cinema Retro's landmark Movie Classics special edition tribute to Where Eagles Dare, publishers Dave Worrall and Lee Pfeiffer present their most ambitious release yet: the most extensive tribute to the Clint Eastwood/Sergio Leone 'Dollar' film trilogy ever published. Years in the making, with contributions from prominent film historians from around the globe.

Full coverage of 'A Fistful of Dollars', 'For a Few Dollars More' and 'the Good, the Bad and the Ugly' - and why these films remain timeless cinematic classics.
80 full pages (16 pages more than the standard Cinema Retro issue)
Packed with hundreds of rare production stills, collectibles and international movie poster art culled from archives from around the world.
Many photos never before published - including rare behind the scenes production stills from people who acted as extras in 'The Good, the Bad and the Ugly'
Special foreword by Leone biographer Sir Christopher Frayling
The legendary film locations - then and now
Coverage of the rare, deleted sequences
Cast and crew biographies

I was proud to work alongside both Dave and Lee on this dedicated project and the finished result is a really wonderful tribute to the 3 dollar films. Highly recommended !!

-The Clint Eastwood Archive-

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