Sunday 22 September 2019

Rare 1970 Fashion shoot or Clint’s venture into fashion victim studmuffin territory

I was quite amazed when I (purely by accident) discovered this remarkable feature this week. Like a lot of fans, I knew this wasn’t exactly new territory for Clint, due mainly to the Playboy Magazine March 1972 "Clint Eastwood: Pushover for Pullovers" feature (here). However, I was not aware of this Harper's Bazaar, Feb 1970 magazine which also features Clint in another fashion shoot. It contains just the two full page shots (photos by Bill King), and finds Clint not looking particularly comfortable, but nevertheless trying to enjoy the moment. It’s an interesting find as it notably states that Clint is currently appearing in Paramount’s Paint your Wagon and his next film is Universal’s Two Mules for Sister Sara. I’m constantly surprised by what is still out there and surfacing.   

Friday 13 September 2019

A Fistful of Dollars: 55 Years since Italian Premiere

I was reminded yesterday by our friend Jayne Smart that yesterday (September 12th) marked the 55th Anniversary since A Fistful of Dollars made its Italian premiere in 1964. I thought it would be nice to mark the occasion with a little bit of post history and why the film was delayed in other countries. For this particular post, I have borrowed from Wiki, which is all pretty accurate.
Sergio Leone counting his Dollars
Initially, releasing A Fistful of Dollars was difficult, basically because no major distributor wanted to take a chance on a faux-Western and an unknown director. The film ended up being released in September, which is typically the worst month for sales. The film was shunned by the Italian critics, who gave it extremely negative reviews. However, at a grassroots level, its popularity spread, and it grossed $4 million in Italy, about three billion lire. American critics felt quite differently from their Italian counterparts, with Variety praising it as having ‘a James Bondian vigor and tongue-in-cheek approach that was sure to capture both sophisticates and average cinema patrons’. The release of the film was delayed in the UK and the United States, because distributors feared being sued by Akira Kurosawa, as A Fistful of Dollars was immediately identified as an unofficial remake of his film, Yojimbo (1961). As a result, A Fistful of Dollars was not shown in American and UK cinemas until 1967. This made it difficult for the American public or Hollywood to understand what was happening to Clint in Italy at the time. An American actor making films in Italy met with considerable prejudice, and was seen in Hollywood as taking a step backward, rather than a career development.
A Fistful of Dollars was released in Italy in September 12, 1964. Over the film's theatrical release, it grossed more than any other Italian film up to that point. In January 1967 the film premiered in the United States grossing $4.5 million for the year. It eventually grossed $14.5 million in its American release. In 1969 it was re-released, earning $1.2 million in rentals.
Upon the film's American release in 1967, both Philip French and Bosley Crowther were not impressed with the film itself. Critic Philip French of The Observer stated:
‘The calculated sadism of the film would be offensive were it not for the neutralising laughter aroused by the ludicrousness of the whole exercise. If one didn't know the actual provenance of the film, one would guess that it was a private movie made by a group of rich European Western fans at a dude ranch... A Fistful of Dollars looks awful, has a flat dead soundtrack, and is totally devoid of human feeling.’ June 11th, 1967
Bosley Crowther of The New York Times treated the film not as pastiche, but as camp-parody, stating that nearly every Western cliché could be found in this ‘egregiously synthetic but engrossingly morbid, violent film’. He went on to patronise Eastwood's performance, stating: ‘He is simply another fabrication of a personality, half cowboy and half gangster, going through the ritualistic postures and exercises of each... He is a morbid, amusing, campy fraud’ February 2nd, 1967
The retrospective reception of A Fistful of Dollars has been much more positive, noting it as a hugely influential film in regards to the rejuvenation of the Western genre. The 67th Cannes Film Festival, held in 2014, celebrated the "50th anniversary of the birth of the Spaghetti Western... by showing A Fistful of Dollars". Quentin Tarantino, prior to hosting the event, in a press-release described the film as ‘the greatest achievement in the history of Cinema.’

Sunday 8 September 2019

Clint Eastwood Photo Opportunity #13

Here's a nice, rarely seen photo which I thought was worthy of an individual post (I will also be adding to the Dirty Harry page). Clint is captured here undergoing some major injury make-up from the Dirty Harry crew. The make up represents the beating that Harry took by Scorpio at the foot of the Memorial Cross at Mount Davidson. My thanks to Davy Triumph.  

Monday 2 September 2019

Space Cowboys Rare UK Press Kit

I was over the moon to receive this wonderful rare UK Press kit today – thanks to a new friend of the archive, James Maher. Whilst I have a great deal of material from Space Cowboys (including a different press kit), these differ a great deal. My other set contains several two-on-one photos, (where 2 shots are featured on one photo), whereas this set contains 15 full individual photos and include shots that are not featured in the other set. They all come nicely packaged in a colour Warner’s folder / junket and also include 40 pages of production notes. It makes a great addition to the collection and I am very pleased to now own them. I thought they deserved their own post and will also be adding them to the dedicated Space Cowboys page (here)
Thank you again James, hope you can stick around here.