Friday 31 May 2019

NEW BOOK OUT SOON: Fistfuls of Dollars in Almeria

I just thought I would let people know about a new book which is due out very soon. Fistfuls of Dollars in Almeria is a new self-published book by British author Terence Denman. I spent a great deal of time talking to Terence yesterday and the book sounds like it will be a fascinating read.

The `spaghetti western ‘phenomenon of the 1960s and 1970s was one of the most astonishing periods in European film history. Numerous westerns, and most of the iconic masterpieces of the genre, such as Sergio Leone's `Dollars Trilogy`, used the landscape of the Spanish province of Almeria to replicate the American West. Almeria was a land of almost perpetual sunshine, dramatic deserts and valleys, and atmospheric white-washed pueblos. 

Its parched beauty played an important role in defining the look of the genre. And the relentless filming of westerns had a powerful impact on the economy and social life of a beautiful but very poor and previously isolated part of Spain. This book is the first in English to tell the story of the relationship between Almeria and the spaghetti western.

I am very happy to announce that The Clint Eastwood Archive will be cross promoting this book. Terence is currently in Almería until the end of June and staying in the Hotel Costasol, where Clint and many of the actors and crews stayed. Terence told me that he has ‘tried to use only Spanish and Italian sources for the book’, which should offer a fresh and original perspective.  Whilst the book is currently shown on Amazon, Terence just needs to finalise a few bits by the end of June / middle of July. The Archive will have all of the updated news regarding this book, so please keep a regular check.

Happy Birthday Clint

It's amazing to think that Clint turns 89 years young today. His work rate remains relentless, and his output continues to amaze us all. On behalf of The Clint Eastwood Archive, and your millions of loyal fans across the globe, we would like to wish you good health, continued success, and a very happy birthday. 
Beers to you Sir!

Monday 27 May 2019

Rare press still collection from The Beguiled and extracts from Pamelyn Ferdin.

It was some time last year when a rather nice collection of original press stills appeared for auction. Whilst I had a great deal of these in my collection, I realised I had been rather slow in scanning the majority of mine for the dedicated Beguiled page. Instead I took the time in restoring most of the photos that was in the auction. A lot of them were in pretty rough shape and included creases and even emulsion loss. However, I finally finished them today for posting here. Also, going through my files I found a nice collection that I had gathered up over the years which featured co-star Pamelyn Ferdin who played Amy in the film. Inside the folder I also found an old document where I had made some notes, from various interviews with Ferdin. There was some really nice stuff to be discovered actually. So I thought I would merge the photos, along with the material I had on Ferdin and can be found towards the bottom half of this post. I will in the near future also be updating the Beguiled page with these. But in the meantime do enjoy them – NONE of these have ever been featured on the Beguiled page. 
Pamelyn Ferdin on The Beguiled:
Don Siegel was great. He treated me like an adult. I had been in the business for so long that I really was a very professional adult even though I was a kid. I was a teen who knew my lines, was prepared, and didn't kid around. I was very serious about my work and I think Don Siegel really appreciated that. It was a hard film. We were on location in Louisiana for six months. It was hot and humid. I think he appreciated my ability to be just one of the other actors and not have to baby me or treat me in a special way to get me to say my lines. I was prepared every day and I think Clint Eastwood appreciated that, too.
Working with Clint:
He was wonderful. He had children about my same age. He was a little bit homesick at the time we were in Louisiana. It's really just him and me at the beginning of the movie. In between scenes, he would talk about his kids. He called me his "little dove." At the end of the movie, he gave me two doves to keep.
In the opening sequence where I find Mr. Eastwood wounded in the woods and I'm hiding out with him, some confederate soldiers pass by. The scene called for him to cover my mouth with his hand to make sure I didn't scream out and give away our hiding spot. But at the last minute, Clint and Don decided he ought to kiss me instead. My first on screen kiss was from Clint Eastwood! How great is that? Although I must say, as a hard working actress who had been in show business since the age of four, the kiss for me was just part of the work; and my reaction was to look surprised (even though I wasn't!) Both Clint and Don thought they had surprised me with their change in the script, but even at that age, I had a feeling they were up to something, and my surprised look was well thought out at the very moment he kissed me. They printed that take, and I knew my reaction was great because both Clint and Don thought they had really surprised me!
Clint Eastwood and I wait between takes while filming The Beguiled. Eastwood was wonderful and very kind to me. Throughout the production he’d talk to me, telling me about his two small children back home in Carmel and how much he missed them. He doted on me. ‘Whadaya think, little dove?’ he’d ask me after a take. ‘Pretty good, Mr. Eastwood’ I'd say, ‘How about you? ‘He gave me a gift after filming The Beguiled. His nickname for me was "Dove" from a song, "The Dove She Is a Pretty Bird" he sang in the movie, which is why the photo is inscribed "To Pamelyn, my Dove." He wrote, "No more mushrooms, please!” 
I was the last actor cast for that film. Even though the part of Amy was written for a 16-year-old and I had just turned 11, my agent got me an appointment at Universal to read for the casting director. After I read from the script, the casting director made a phone call then asked me to follow him down the hall. I was brought to Don Siegel’s office, where I was asked to read again. I read, and Siegel said nothing. I left hoping I did well enough to get called back for a second interview. Instead, a few days later, my agent called to tell my parents to pack my bags for a trip to Louisiana.
You know that was one of Clint's favourite movies at the time too because he really felt it was a departure. Unfortunately it didn't do well money wise, at the box office. He thought he did a good job in that movie and it was a stretch for him because he played an entirely different character. I think he was very much looking forward to having that movie come out and unfortunately I guess it was not distributed very well or something because I think it could have been a lot bigger than it was.
When we wrapped our location shooting in Louisiana, Eastwood gave me a pair of white doves as a gift. I loved them and had them for many years.
Above: Posing for portraits on the first day of filming "The Beguiled," April 1970. It was about 7am. because director Don Siegel wanted to catch the morning fog along the bayou where we were shooting. I remember it was bitter cold and I was barefoot
Above: Calling for help for the wounded McB in The Beguiled. The authentic plantation in Darrow, Louisiana, had everything needed for the movie but a gate, so a skilled crew of set builders from Universal put one up, making it look just as old as the rest of the plantation.

Sunday 26 May 2019

The C.E.A.S. Magazine issue No 1 (re-invented)

Back in the 1970s the Hardcore Clint Eastwood fans only had one way of keeping up with the Clint Eastwood news and what was happening in Clintworld – It was of course The Clint Eastwood Appreciation Society. It was formed here within the UK by my long-time friend Davy Turner. Many of those original members continue to help me to this day. It’s a strong bond that never weakens. It was because of those great days that I began this site, in order to continue that community spirit. Today two of those original members David Vernall-Downes and his brother Jonathan Downes sent me a reworking of the original 4 page debut (January 1978) edition of the CEAS magazine. It’s a wonderful reminder of what could be done back in the days of a simple manual typewriter, a photocopier and a very tight budget. It all looks very simple and humble when viewed today, but it was the start of our own little piece of paper paradise.  So, for nostalgic reasons, I’ve reproduced those 4 simple pages here on the Archive as it should be.
A very big thank you to David Vernall-Downes, Jonathan Downes and of course Davy Turner for without whom…

Tuesday 14 May 2019

The Passing of Hollywood Legend Doris Day

I think we were all saddened by yesterday’s news, and the passing of Clint’s close friend Doris Day. The legendary singer and actress was also of course a long-time resident of Clint’s hometown of Carmel. I felt it was entirely appropriate to include her passing here on these pages. Here is the BBC report, plus some pictures I have of Clint and Doris together. RIP dear lady.
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BBC Entertainment and Art –

Hollywood legend Doris Day, whose films made her one of the biggest stars of all time, has died aged 97. The singer turned actress starred in films such as Calamity Jane and Pillow Talk and had a hit in 1956 with Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be). Her screen partnership with Rock Hudson is one of the best-known in the history of romantic movies. In a statement, the Doris Day Animal Foundation said she died on Monday at her home in Carmel Valley, California.
It said she had been "in excellent physical health for her age, until recently contracting a serious case of pneumonia. She was surrounded by a few close friends as she passed," the statement continued.
Born Doris Mary Ann Von Kappelhoff in April 1922, Day originally wanted to be a dancer but had to abandon her dream after breaking her right leg in a car accident. Instead she began her singing career at the age of 15. Her first hit, Sentimental Journey, would become a signature tune. Her films, which included Alfred Hitchcock's The Man Who Knew Too Much and That Touch of Mink, made her known around the world. But she never won an Oscar and was nominated only once, in 1960, for Pillow Talk, the first of her three romantic comedies with Hudson. Honours she did receive included the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2004 and a lifetime achievement Grammy in 2008. Her last release, the compilation album My Heart, went to number one in the UK in 2011. 
Day's wholesome, girl-next-door image was a popular part of her myth that sometimes invited ridicule. "I've been around so long, I knew Doris Day before she was a virgin," the musician Oscar Levant once remarked. Day herself said her "Miss Chastity Belt" image was "more make-believe than any film part [she] ever played." Her life was certainly not as sunny. She married four times, was divorced three times and was widowed once. She also suffered a mental breakdown and had severe financial trouble after one husband squandered her money. In the 1970s, she turned away from performing to focus her energies on her animal foundation. According to the organisation, she wished to have no funeral, memorial service or grave marker.