Monday 8 October 2012

High Plains Drifter Soundtrack finally released!

It's been a long time comin', but I was overjoyed to learn that Dee Barton's fabulous score for Clint's 1973 film High Plains Drifter has finally been released. We can only hope that Barton's scores for Play Misty For Me and Thunderbolt and Lightfoot may soon follow. Intrada have released High Plains Drifter to coincide with Universal's 100th Birthday celebrations. It was with Universal that Clint also made Play Misty For Me, so I'm tentatively hopeful that Misty may one day emerge on the silver platter. Thunderbolt and Lightfoot was released through United Artists, so I'm not sure who currently holds the rights to Barton's score. 
Above: Intrada's 24 page booklet has a choice of cover art.
Here's the official information from Intrada.
Label: Intrada Special Collection Volume 217

Date: 1973
Tracks: 27
Time = 54:27

At long last! World premiere of complex, highly original score for justifiably famous Clint Eastwood western with director as star. Dee Barton scores with unusually strong minor key main theme in western garb, then heads into Lago (the town) with much more under his saddle! Complex, experimental ideas play on strings, guitars, harmonica, percussion, early synths, electric bass, voice... an array of tense, dissonant colors! But there's much more than what has been known up to now: Universal's multi-track scoring session masters revealed numerous orchestral cues in traditional western guise that filmmakers dropped in favor of vivid experimental cues. New ideas like "Dummy Wagon" bring broad, expansive themes into play, action cues such as "Gunfight", "Shooting Stacy" offer intense brass figures amongst chaotic strings, even a sturdy vocal version of main theme with orchestra adds color, all of these being heard for first time ever, illuminating fact that composer intended much longer score than what (admittedly effective) amount remains in finished production. Dee Barton (famed composer/arranger for Stan Kenton as well as uncredited composer on several Dirty Harry films and composer of Eastwood's first directing effort: Play Misty For Me) writes with requisite nod to Morricone in use of rhythm, short motifs to punctuate script lines, so forth, but then takes off in his own direction with extremely challenging music - amongst western genre's most unorthodox ever. Intrada presentation offers every cue recorded by Barton, mixed into dynamic stereo from mint condition complete three-channel scoring session masters. Flipper cover offers dramatic shot of star under "Universal 100th Anniversary" banner on one side, exciting original poster campaign on the other. Take your pick! Dee Barton conducts. Intrada Special Collection release available while quantities and interest remain!
My Thoughts:
The Audio quality of Intrada's release is quite superb. The music retains a crisp clarity that seems to defy its 40 year age. Joe Sikoryak (who I have had the great pleasure of working with) has again provided an excellent booklet with an attractive layout. Sadly, there isn't a great deal of rare or unusual photos within the booklet. Instead, the regular, much repeated pictures are used to accompany the first rate (and highly detailed) liner notes provided by Douglass Fake.
Whilst I would never claim to be an expert on the use of illustrative material, I have spoken to many fans over the course of many years, and for them, it remains something of a grievance. However, I am also aware that some studios have, on occasions, offered a relatively small amount of stills to support projects such as soundtrack releases. It appears to be something of a red tape area, which I have increasingly found hard to accept. In addition, I also believe that 'fans' or 'collectors' sometimes own more photos or relevant illustrative material than the actual studios! The result of which, often leads to a feeling of genuine frustration. From a fans perspective, it is often summarised as a 'wasted opportunity' or a missed chance to 'make it something special'. Projects such as soundtrack releases are rarely privileged a second outing, and it is for that reason, that fans and collectors alike, rely upon it emerging at its very best. The choice of photos or posters may perhaps be perceived as a minor quibble or even an insignificant moan. But the arguments can sometimes spread beyond the boundaries of simple illustrative material.
High Plains Drifter is undoubtedly a very welcome and long overdue soundtrack, and we of course praise and applaud Intrada for overseeing its eventual release. The soundtrack is by definition, a celebration of the film's audio history, painstakingly produced and sounding quite magnificent throughout. Drifter's audio significance is restored, preserved and available for future generations. But can anything be done to make it that little bit 'special'?

Well, perhaps so...
Along with many other 'fans', I have always regarded Radio Spots to be an integral part of a film's audio history. Intended as an audio aspect of the film's original marketing campaign, the soundtrack CD would seem to provide the ideal opportunity and location for their inclusion. So it raises some interesting questions:
Was anyone aware of their existence?
Did anyone ever suggest their use?

Would Universal have been able to supply them?
There are in fact, a very nice set of Radio Spots to accompany High Plains Drifter, which (IMHO) would have rounded off this soundtrack rather nicely indeed.
So why not?
A simple key word search on the internet would have brought us to Intrada's attention. As an owner of a set, I would have been more than happy to provide Intrada with them for use on this release. There are many collectors such as myself, and we are all relatively easy to find. We are always here, and always available to assist. There are no hidden agendas. Among the many likeminded people I have had the privilege to speak with; we seem to share a common concern. The majority would be happy to help and assist, if only someone would ask... From my experience, collectors and fans simply want any Eastwood related product to appear at its very best. The individual has nothing to gain from it, other than perhaps a simple credit for their help.

It remains an interesting (if rather clouded) topic of conversation that I am sure will continue long after the end credits have rolled. But I would genuinely welcome some input on the subject. I'm sure it would prove fascinating. Perhaps Mr Douglass Fake of Intrada would be happy to participate and provide us with some answers on this subject.

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 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

Rooting for One Player in Baseball Politics: Dad
The New York Times
By A. O. SCOTT Published: September 20, 2012
The trouble with baseball movies like “Trouble With the Curve” is that they tempt reviewers to reach for hackneyed sports metaphors. I’m only human, but I’m also not sure which comparison best suits this easygoing, unsurprising movie, directed by Robert Lorenz from a script by Randy Brown. Regrettably, it is not a home run or a perfect game, but it isn’t a wild throw, an errant bunt or a dropped fly ball either. “Trouble With the Curve” is either an off-speed pitch that just catches the edge of the strike zone or a bloop single lofted into right field. The runner is safe. The movie is too. Crack open a peanut and flag down the beer guy.
Clint Eastwood, muttering grumpily to himself — though not, this time, in the service of a political campaign — plays Gus Lobel, a longtime scout for the Atlanta Braves. Gus’s eyesight is failing, and his job is threatened by a younger front-office hotshot (Matthew Lillard) whose approach to baseball involves numbers and computers and all that newfangled nonsense. If this were “Moneyball,” last year’s autumnal baseball picture, the guy would be a hero, but “Trouble With the Curve” is the anti-“Moneyball.” The old-time scouts from that film, mocked for their superstitions about “intangibles” and “instincts,” get their revenge this time around, thanks to the greatest avenger of them all.
Not without a struggle, of course. Comeuppance is a dish best served just before the final credits, after the audience has gotten good and mad at the designated jerks. And then those eyes go into their trademark squint, the voice acquires an extra scoop of gravel, and we all feel lucky. If you have seen “Space Cowboys” or “Gran Torino” or any number of other late-period Eastwood movies, you know that cantankerous wisdom will triumph over youthful smarts. You also know that Mr. Eastwood’s dry, grouchy manner camouflages a sentimental streak and that at least one member of the younger generation will be the object of tenderness rather than contempt.
That was, for example, Hilary Swank’s job in the great “Million Dollar Baby.” In this case Gus’s protégée and foil is his daughter, Mickey (Amy Adams), a shiny red-haired apple who has not fallen far from the gnarly paternal tree. At first relations between them are strained almost to the point of rupture. Mickey is a lawyer one big case away from making partner at a prestigious firm, and she is exasperated by her father’s stubbornness and emotional distance. It will not take Sigmund Freud to deduce that father and daughter are in fact quite similar; it will take Justin Timberlake, who shows up to provide a feeble romantic spark and a hint of generic sex appeal.
When Gus runs into some trouble on a scouting trip to North Carolina, Mickey, nudged by her dad’s old pal Pete (John Goodman), shows up to lend a hand. She and Gus cross paths with Johnny (Mr. Timberlake), a washed-up pitcher who has been sent by the Red Sox to check out a much-hyped high school slugger. This prospect (played by Joe Massingill) is both talented and obnoxious. So is Mickey’s rival back at the law firm. You don’t have to be an expert sign stealer to know exactly what will happen and more or less when.
The very title of “Trouble With the Curve” is a spoiler, but it hardly matters. Originality is for punks. As a filmmaker Mr. Eastwood is a master of reviving tired genres and finding truth and soul in clichés. Mr. Lorenz, who has worked with Mr. Eastwood as a producer and assistant director for many years, hews close to the master’s style in his directing debut. Mr. Eastwood’s longtime cinematographer, Tom Stern, shoots the mostly outdoor locations in a restrained, handsome palette, neither too gauzy nor too gritty.
The pat and occasionally preposterous story is really just a pretext, a  serviceable scaffolding for a handful of expert, satisfying performances. A gaggle of first-rate character actors trails Mr. Eastwood from Turner Field in Atlanta to the rural bars and ballparks, and the star knows how to step aside and let them work. He also has the good sense to realize that, much as we may adore him, we’d sometimes rather spend time with Ms. Adams, who somehow grows tougher, funnier, scarier and more charming with every role. In the larger scheme of things “Trouble With the Curve” may be an exhibition game, with nothing much at stake, but Ms. Adams brings the heat. She swings for the fence. Snags the line drive, tags the runner and makes the throw to the plate. Find your own metaphor.

Clint addresses the 2012 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
OK, I thought maybe it was just because somebody had the stupid idea of trying terrorists in downtown New York City.
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.
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?”
And I thought -- I thought, yeah -- I am not going to shut up, it is my turn.
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.
You’re crazy, you’re absolutely crazy. You’re getting as bad as Biden.
Of course we all now Biden is the intellect of the Democratic party.
Kind of a grin with a body behind it…
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
We -- we own it. It is not you owning it, and not politicians owning it. Politicians are employees of ours.
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.
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...
EASTWOOD: I do not say that word anymore. Well, maybe one last time.
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.
But OK. You want to make my day?
All right, I started, you finish it. ‘Go ahead.’
AUDIENCE: Make my day!
EASTWOOD: Thank you. Thank you very much.

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 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?’

Thursday 9 August 2012

Chuck "Chaz with The Jazz" Gauger talks to The Clint Eastwood Archive about KRML and Misty country…

I can’t believe it has been over a year that I started chatting with Chuck Gauger. Chaz worked for KRML and kindly shared some of his memories and photos from his collection. I hope you all enjoy.

TCEA: Was you working for KRML when Play Misty for Me was made?
CG: No, I did not work there when the film was made; I was there 15 years later.
TCEA: Had the place changed much since Clint made Play Misty for Me?
CG: No, It looked exactly the same as it had when he filmed there.
Above Clint working in the KRML studio
Below Chuck in the very same studio
TCEA: What about any of KRML’s original crew, were any of those guys still around?
CG: Yeah, I did work with at least two guys who were there, Johnny Adams (who plays a bartender in Bird) and Sam Salerno. Clint loved jazz and he lived in Carmel, so I assume he suggested the station for the movie; usually the location manager scouts out filming sites.
Below Clint with Johnny Adams

TCEA: Did any of these guys work with Clint, for the movie
CG: Johnny is the one who taught Clint how to look like a real DJ, use the board (equipment), etc. and he stayed friends with Clint, so he got to be in the Bird movie, and as thanks he threw a private party for Clint to thank him, for which I drew the banner depicting Clint in a caricature. Most of these events/stories were told in various issues of the CEAS magazine back then (1988-89).
TCEA: So you got to meet Clint?
CG: Yes, I met Clint twice, the first time at the radio station when he came to do an interview when running for mayor, the second time at the party itself. I took my (then) very pregnant wife to meet him that night. To say that he is gracious, charming, tall, and funny are all understatements, for a lifelong superstar he treats everyone as an equal.
Above: Chuck with wife Cathy at Clint’s party
TCEA: What about KRML today, in what capacity does it operate?
CG: KRML itself has fallen on hard times, it was always a very small, locally owned station (by many owners) and they did move out of that basement location where it was filmed, and moved twice more (once into the Eastwood Building in downtown Carmel), now they do everything from the little transmitter shack in a field, no more 'studios'. It's barely surviving, still playing jazz but mainly networked from other stations, not a lot of local stuff anymore.
TCEA: Some good memories?
CG: Very good. You can check out their website at; the featured picture of Clint is a gift Clint gave Johnny Adams, I also have a signed one from Clint.
TCEA: Chaz, thank you for sharing these great memories with all of us.
CG: It’s a pleasure. I appreciate the interest and just want to say hello to all the Brit fans of Clint. I wish you all well...
Above: Chuck with Dave Turner of The Clint Eastwood Appreciation Society, in the original studio during one of the society’s stateside trips.
Listen to KRML here.

Wednesday 8 August 2012

“Good guy, that last one he shot was a good guy!” On the Set with CLINT EASTWOOD by Tony Piazza.

A couple of months back I was thrilled to hook up with Tony Piazza, a really nice guy who has appeared in many great films and TV series of the 70s. We struck up a good relationship, which was secured upon discovering our shared admiration for both Steve McQueen and Paul Newman (more about that later). Tony had written a great piece about working with Clint, which he has kindly allowed me to post here, as well as some additional comments that are exclusive to The Clint Eastwood Archive. Many thanks Tony, and for your kind words about the Archive. Enjoy.

"Eleven words" my claim to celebrity status; my fifteen minutes of fame which if you took a stopwatch and measured it, would run well under that length of time. And although I would have many small screen appearances later on in The Streets of San Francisco, these few words to this day still gets me the most attention.
Why? Because CLINT EASTWOOD films are both well-known and greatly admired not only in the U.S., but also to audiences around the world. Therefore to be associated with a Clint Eastwood movie usually guarantees that an actor (even a minor one) will receive instant and lasting recognition.
TCM ran a tribute to Clint Eastwood and it brought back memories of my experiences meeting and working with the man. He was very pleasant, soft spoken, down to earth, and charming with a subtle sense of humor. I met him first in 1971 when he was shooting Dirty Harry. I had gone down to North Beach (one of the film`s locations) to take a look at the Harry car which it was being arranged that I would purchase from Warner`s Transportation when the picture wrapped. It was to be my first car and owning a picture car drove by Clint Eastwood made it all the more exciting. He was very humble and polite when I met him, and I also remember being surprised at how tall he was- well over six feet. I subsequently went down to the set many times afterwards and brought high school friends and dates along. Needless to say I was very popular amongst my peers. I unfortunately didn`t get the car however- they needed it for a pickup shot on the Warner`s backlot and it got shipped back to Burbank, California.
In 1973, three years after becoming an extra, I reported on the set of Magnum Force - Dirty Harry`s second appearance on screen. I initially performed in the background in various roles-police officers mainly, but during one of the days that I had reported to work, I was approached by the Assistant Director Al Silvani, who told me that my agent had suggested me for a small speaking role as a Cadet in the film. I was of course ecstatic. I was given the few pages of script that contained my line and rehearsed ever variation of that piece of dialogue (see above) than you could imagine. Finally the day came and I reported to the police firing range to do my scene in the picture. I was in good company - getting to hang out with ROBERT URICH, DAVID SOUL, TIM MATHESON, and KIP NIVEN all day (actually two days- it took that long to film!). They were a fun group, and I remember Urich doing impersonations of various celebrities like Ed Sullivan etc. He kept us in stitches. TED POST was the director and I was able to cinch my bit in two takes. Of course Clint Eastwood, HAL HOLBROOK, and JOHN MITCHUM were also there. It was a memorable event.
Left: Clint with Tony's Mother on the set of Magnum Force 1973
The last time I got to work with Eastwood was in 1976 on his third outing as Harry in the The Enforcer. I was at the Hall of Justice - this time as an extra. Perhaps I was feeling shy- or maybe I figured he wouldn`t remember me because (after all) it had been three years since I last saw him- or I thought he was a big actor now and too busy for me- but in any case I felt uncomfortable to re-introduce myself and so didn`t bother to go up to him that day. However as they were setting up I happen to glance over in his direction and he made a point to single me out and nod a greeting of acknowledgement. I thought that was pretty cool-especially since now he was a bonafide mega star! But, you know in hind sight, I shouldn`t have been surprised- that is Clint Eastwood. He never saw himself as a star - he has always been unpretentious in that way. One incident to drive this point home occurred during the filming of Dirty Harry. My father worked in his usual capacity on that film and both he and Eastwood had the same birthday, May 31st. The crew decided to get a cake for my Dad and presented it to him at lunch. One problem- they forgot it was also Clint Eastwood`s birthday as well. Well, could you imagine what the results would have been if this happened to another big actor with a matching ego? Not Clint, he wished my Father a Happy Birthday and enjoyed some of his cake.
Below: Tony's Mother with Hal Holbrook
Well, that`s my two cents for what its` worth regarding my time spent with Clint Eastwood. Great memories of a great guy and certainly worth the honor TCM has given him. Of course, knowing him, he probably thought it was a lot to do about nothing.
I appreciate The Clint Eastwood Archive's interest in Clint Eastwood; he is certainly a great actor, but more importantly in life he is still just as humble a man as when I worked with him back in the 70s. Fame hasn't changed him in all the years since I last worked with him. He is a generous man, and definitely has a lasting appeal, which cannot be said of the more recent actors. It was a privilege to get the chance to work with him, and more importantly, know him personally. I am also grateful that that the archive is interested in sharing my story. Thank you and I hope you enjoyed it.
Above: Tony Today
Tony Piazza is author of the 1930`s Hollywood murder mystery novel; Anything Short of Murder, which had its roots on the TCM fan website. His next novel, The Curse of the Crimson Dragon was released in February 2012. He was an actor/extra during the 1970`s and worked with such legends as Steve McQueen, Paul Newman, and Karl Malden.
As I mentioned above, Tony is also an admirer of Paul Newman and Steve McQueen. Recently Tony shared the stage with another legendary actor's son, Chad McQueen promoting his e- book, "Bullitt Points" a behind the scenes look at the making of Steve McQueen's Bullitt.

It is a personal story, and all the proceeds go entirely to McQueen's charity - The Boys Republic. He, like Paul Newman, and Clint Eastwood haven't forgotten who put them where they are. They have used their fame and resources for the good of their fans, not wasting it entirely on their own personal pleasures. It is this humanitarianism that make them special, and why they hold such a lasing place in our hearts.
I must recommend this to anyone interested in McQueen, Bullitt or film history in general. At just $0.99 it is a fascinating read and includes some great pictures and more importantly, everything goes to McQueen's charity.

Please check out Bullitt Points here
To check out Tony’s original article click here

Tuesday 26 June 2012

The Ethical Vision of Clint Eastwood. Sara Anson Vaux’s book provides a fresh and engaging insight:

As the title of Sara Anson Vaux’s book seemed to suggest, readers are invited to share a fresh perspective on a selection of Eastwood’s projects. As with many followers and admirers of Eastwood’s work, fans have heard this before. Yet, this particular book seemed to promise something a little different… an original concept. After approaching the book, perhaps a little tentatively, it soon became apparent that Vaux’s observations were not only intelligently founded, but completely captivating to read.
In Vaux’s writing, it becomes rather clear that she is indeed a fan. It’s a characteristic that immediately draws us closer to the author, and a trait that of course does her little harm. Regardless of this, there is little doubt that her arguments are presented impartially and offer a variety of ambiguous interpretations. At times, her insights are quite miraculous, a testament to what must have amounted to some painstaking research. Not an easy task considering the subject matter. It is certainly a complex area of study and one in which many film commentators seem almost reluctant to examine.
Vaux’s opening chapter, The Angel of Death, is particularly interesting and focuses on Eastwood’s later day western avengers. In particular, The Outlaw Josey Wales, its racism, class conflicts, displaced characters, reconciliation and its status as a revisionist western, all make for fascinating reading. However, Vaux continues to dig deeper until we, the reader, arrive at an entirely new level of uncharted ground. The author mediates over the film’s relationship with earlier outings such as High Plains Drifter, and examines themes of moral justice through later films such as Unforgiven.
In Chapter 2, The Mysteries of Life, Vaux examines Mystic River, Million Dollar Baby, Changeling, and Bird. Themes of brutality and crimes raise stimulating questions about human nature, violence, and the meaning of life in the face of senseless death. In Chapter 3, Eternal War or Dawn of Peace, Eastwood takes on the suffering, sacrifice, danger, and destructiveness of war overseas and at home where the poor and the downtrodden are treated as enemies. Using Flags of Our Fathers, Letters from Iwo Jima, Gran Torino, and Invictus, Vaux constructs some provocative arguments. Finally, Vaux reserves a special section for Hereafter and images of the reconciling community.
Above: Author Sara Anson Vaux 
In analysing Eastwood’s films from the last forty years, Vaux discusses how they have become more sophisticated and nuanced in tone. She debates how Eastwood's moral agenda has resulted in his becoming an icon, a man of significance in intellectual as well as in film history.
I was however, a little surprised that the ‘moral ethics’ displayed during the controversial conclusion of Sudden Impact were not evaluated to any degree. Since seeing it upon its original release, it is an ending that leaves a slightly uncomfortable taste in the mouth. Regardless of whether it is right or wrong, Eastwood typically leaves us pondering over the question, should a sense of moral justification overshadow that of the law? It’s an interesting and (arguably) common enough area of debate, that I’m sure would have proven fascinating from Vaux’s perspective. Nevertheless, Sara Anson Vaux has provided an amazing account of an (until now) undiscovered element of Eastwood’s work. Ethical Vision ignites a unique sense of rejuvenated interest. One seems almost compelled to re-examine Eastwood’s back catalogue with a fresh and profound sense of sagacity. Whist presented in both an insightful and scholarly manner, Ethical Vision is a pleasure to read and easy to absorb. I certainly see this title blossoming, and (hopefully) rightfully regarded as essential Eastwood reading.

As an addition, here is Sara Anson Vaux’s view on Eastwood’s J. Edgar

Yesterday I went back to the local theatre to see J. Edgar again. Initially, I found Clint Eastwood’s newest movie a masterpiece of period, mood, and understatement, with brilliant performances by Leonardo DiCaprio as Hoover and Armie Hammer as Clyde Tolson, his life partner.
The distaste of the critics did not surprise me, for with Changeling and Hereafter and even Gran Torino and Invictus brilliant explorations of the tragedies of life were sadly overlooked. How dare Eastwood (“Dirty Harry”) abandon the tough American hero template to focus on a woman, three damaged fools, a crazy old kook, and a mythologized political figure in a far distant land! And now: how dare he do a biopic on a reviled and shadowy “G-man” — who ruined our country — without painting him in the colours of pure evil!
At my second viewing, I was even more impressed with Eastwood’s storytelling. As my neighbour said recently, “I was drawn into the story from the very first moment and want to go back to see it.” Rather than starting with J. Edgar’s early life and marching straight toward his death at age 77, Eastwood begins as the powerful director of the untouchable FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) dictates his life story to a young FBI agent, who busily types away without comment. The spoken words quickly fade into images of a young, ambitious man determined to protect his country from anarchists like the ones who overthrew the Russian Czar and his government — or so the young man tells everyone. The rest of the movie follows the same pattern: the older Hoover dictates his memoirs to a series of young agents, and we see almost cartoon-like illustrations of the “facts” he has given to his transcriber.
As the movie progresses, though, every time the older Hoover appears in the present day, the cartoons begin to show not a great American hero (the dramatic G-man Hoover presented to the outside world) but, rather, a paranoid, power-hungry figure who terrifies presidents and attorneys general, disregards the Constitution, and spies on hundreds of thousands of American citizens.
Instead of increasing the glamour of the portrait, Eastwood lets the story begin to fall apart. Hoover’s own colleagues and confidents criticize him quietly through glances and body language or toward the end of the movie, quite openly. Hoover himself goes on an insane rampage with his campaigns against Martin Luther King Jr. and President Kennedy. Most tellingly, even his devoted secretary Helen, to whom he once proposed, and his inseparable friend Clyde, #2 at the Bureau and #1 in Hoover’s life, become horrified and disgusted at his lies and speak out.
Since he first began to make movies, Eastwood has repeatedly examined American political life with intelligence and understanding. J. Edgar is one of his most powerful explorations of justice and its conflicted, complex nature to date.
The real-life J. Edgar Hoover did irreparable damage to freedom of speech and assembly during his years as head of the FBI. My husband and I were among his many targets. As the historical record shows — and as Eastwood shows with clarity in this film — he justified any means (perjury; torture; spying; violence) to “protect our country,” even if he trampled over democracy itself in the process.
What’s more, after two viewings, I have concluded that this movie is much more than a simple biopic. It comments upon current events — the illegal war in Iraq with thousands of our own soldiers and Iraqi civilians dead; prejudice and even violence toward immigrants and anyone else whose religion and skin colour are different from our own; and assaults upon freedom of assembly. The search to define and deliver justice in our democracy continues, and Clint Eastwood is still on the case.