Saturday 28 January 2017

Eastwood’s UK trip of June 1967

For some time now, I have been collating all of the photos I can find to illustrate Clint’s 1967 visit to the UK. Clint arrived at London’s Heathrow airport on Thursday, June 1st 1967. He was in the UK for a total of 9 days to promote A Fistful of Dollars. It was of course released some 3 years after it was made, due mainly to copyright problems with Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo (1961). Most pictures from this promotional tour were captured at Heathrow where it was arranged through United Artists for Clint to be photographed with three beauties from the UA publicity department. These three girls, dressed in cowboy hats, ponchos and toy guns were Sue Melody, Sandra Marshall and Anita McGregor. Sadly, I have never come across any UK newspaper articles which cover this event.

During the tour Clint also stayed at The Albany Hotel on Smallbrook Queensway which is located in the city centre of Birmingham. It is unclear how long Clint was actually in Birmingham, but the two photos here were taken on June 5th, one with his then wife Maggie.

There are also a couple of very famous photos which show Clint holding a silver tankard. In one he appears to be blowing the head off his beer – it’s a strange picture to say the least. Whilst the exact date remains elusive, we do know that these pictures were taken in Manchester.

The last of these pictures is a wonderful photo of both Clint and Maggie Eastwood on their arrival at Cardiff central railway station to attend a special press showing of A Fistful of Dollars. Again, it is unclear of the exact date in June. "When Eastwood arrived at the press screening at the Capitol Theatre, there really wasn't that much media interest. Local paper, the South Wales Echo, did get a shot of a bequiffed Eastwood, and his then wife Maggie, in the back of a car but that was about it. With his DA hairstyle and sober suit he looks like a throwback to the 1950s"
However, it was during this visit that Clint gave an interview to a 24 year-old BBC Wales journalist named John Humphrys. The interview has become something of a classic clip now, and is also included here.

I’ve always been fascinated with this visit, ever since I saw one of the Heathrow photos in Iain Johnstone’s book The Man with No Name, first published in 1981. Should anyone have any other additional information on this promotional tour I would love to hear about it and to add it here to this piece. 
Below: Clint visits Birmingham
Below: Clint has a beer in Manchester
Clint pictured in St Peter's Square, Manchester 12th June 1967 if this date is correct, it suggests that Clint's visit was longer than the 9 days stated above or that his arrival date is wrong...
6ft 3 Clint Eastwood pictured in St Peter's Square Manchester with Antony Rixon aged 18 months
Below: Clint in Cardiff, Wales
Below: Clint interviewed by John Humphrys

Friend of the Archive, author Steve Guariento was recently spreading the good word to his friend Sim Branaghan, Branaghan, author of the book; British Film Posters – An Illustrated History, (BFI 2006) asked Steve to relate this story to me and for us to enjoy.
John Grundy is today known as a TV presenter whose work is mainly featured in the BBC North East Region of England. However, as a young man, he was also assigned as Clint’s Tour Manager when he visited the North of England in 1967.
Above John Grundy:acted as tour manager for Clint in 1967
‘John Grundy, who admitted he had never previously heard of Clint, but forty years later he told me he was a thoroughly nice, and an unassuming fella. Grundy mentioned to me in an anecdote concerning a hotel somewhere in the North (he couldn't recall where), in which Clint claimed he'd enjoyed the best night's sleep ever.  He was a particular fan of the pillows, and begged for John to get him a couple somehow. John discreetly collared one of the hotel cleaners, and after a few quid exchanged hands was sneakily handed a couple of the treasured pillows. Clint was very pleased, and kept them for the rest of the trip. That's a true story!’ 

Magnum Force, alternative promotion photo by Philippe Halsman

This week I was reading about Philippe Halsman (2 May 1906 – 25 June 1979). He was an American portrait photographer - born in Riga in the part of the Russian Empire which later became Latvia, and died in New York City. He was very successful in the industry and especially for his cover shots used for Life magazine. Celebrities photographed by Halsman include Alfred Hitchcock, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, Judy Garland, Winston Churchill, Marilyn Monroe and President John F. Kennedy.

It was while studying his portraits that I came across his well-known shots of Clint that were used for the incredible publicity campaign for Magnum Force (1973). Like me, a great deal of fans place this advertising campaign among their favourites. In particular, the American half sheet poster that featured Clint in a multi-image shot (Halsman liked a great deal of movement in his photography). It’s a real stand out piece of work and is the most treasured of posters in my own collection. So while looking through Halsman’s photographs, I was quite amazed to find an alternative version of this familiar image. I have to say, I still think the image used in the final version is the correct choice. Eastwood’s face has a very cool and lethargic look, Harry almost looks innocent – which I think works incredibly well. In the alternative version, Eastwood’s face is a great deal more serious, there’s a far darker intent about it.

I still find it incredible when more photos such as this begin to surface. After some 40 years of collecting, you can’t help but think (perhaps rather naively) that you’ve seen pretty much everything - and that nothing else can possibly emerge to surprise you.

How privileged and how lucky we are when proven wrong…  
Magnum Force, final design for the Half Sheet poster
Magnum Force, alternative unused photo image
Below: Two shots of the original photograph which was displayed during the Philippe Halsman exhibition of 2016.
Footnote: To avoid any confusion, it is of course acknowledged that the great Bill Gold is credited for the Magnum Force poster concept - but Gold hired Philippe Halsman to photograph Eastwood wielding the Magnum with a wide angle lens, blowing up the gun to surreal proportions for the Magnum Force poster.

Thursday 26 January 2017

Two rare candid shots from The Enforcer

Anyone who has looked at the dedicated Enforcer page will know there are a lot of photos to look at. A friend of mine sent me these two wonderful pictures late last year which show Clint on location during the robbery sequence shot on location in San Francisco. My thanks to Kevin Walsh.

Sully Oscar snub

I'm sure everyone will be aware by now, but here's a short piece for the record, as reported by Datdline Hollywood. Sully – The heroic story of pilot Chesley Sullenberger’s 2009 emergency landing of a US Airways flight on the Hudson River, and everyone on board escaping safely, was borderline miraculous. The fact that star and multiple Oscar winner Tom Hanks, director and multiple Oscar winner Clint Eastwood, and the film’s box office success were overlooked in the major categories is nothing short of a sin.

Lets move on...

Wednesday 4 January 2017

Vocalion release SA-CD of Classic Montenegro Album

Music from A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More & The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1968)

There aren’t too many people I know amongst the soundtrack community who don’t enjoy the recordings of Hugo Montenegro. Whilst he was an accomplished composer in his own right (Lady in Cement 1968, The Ambushers 1967 and The Wrecking Crew 1968) he is perhaps remembered more for his unique arrangements – usually of other composers’ music. Vocalion’s new CD treats us to not one, but two of his great albums. Love Theme from The Godfather (1972)/Music from A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More & The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1968) (CDLK 4595) provides the listener with arguably his very best work. Back in 1972, RCA released Love Theme from The Godfather as a quadraphonic LP (APDI-0001). Vocalion have reissued both albums here on CD in the SA-CD format and therefore retaining its multi-channel format (this CD is also Stereo compatible). Love Theme from The Godfather is an album of varied styles containing a mixture of both film music and popular tunes of the time. Ranging from Lennon & McCartney’s Norwegian Wood to Mancini’s Baby Elephant Walk, the content is diverse and eclectic – but all comes together in a quirky and highly enjoyable way. Music from A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More & The Good, the Bad and the Ugly has largely attained widespread recognition over the decades. An extremely popular album, soundtrack collectors continue to hold their vinyl as cherished possessions. Naturally, a completely remastered version of that album is also extremely welcome. Michael J. Dutton has done a fabulous job in providing a crisp freshness to these classic recordings and it appears to be perfectly justified in releasing this twofer by way of a Hybrid CD. Frankly, they have never sounded so good. As well as including the massive single chart hit The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, the album also includes the single cut for Hang ‘em high – Clint Eastwood’s first American western made upon his return from Europe after completing Sergio Leone’s Dollar trilogy. It’s perhaps a little disappointing that no new liner notes were produced for this release; instead there is a straight reproduction of the original album notes. Considering the versatility and calibre of Montenegro’s work, it would have been nice to include some form of appreciation of his career in music. However, the proof here is solidly in the music itself, and on that basis, it’s a winner in every respect. 

Order your CD HERE

Tuesday 3 January 2017

Sully Behind the scenes shots of Plane

Here's a couple of terrific behind the scenes shots from Sully which feature the Airbus A320-214 mock up. The US Airways Flight 1549 took off on January 15th 2009. Unable to reach any airport, pilots Chesley Sullenberger and Jeffrey Skiles glided the plane to a ditching in the Hudson River off midtown Manhattan. All 155 people aboard were rescued by nearby boats and there were few serious injuries.
My thanks to Dave Worrall for sending me these great shots.