Tuesday 28 January 2020

Clint Eastwood Photo Opportunity #17

Here’s something rather wonderful. It was one of our UK correspondents (and great friend) Davy Triumph who first brought this photo to my attention earlier this month. I would of loved to have posted it back then, but the truth is - it was totally obliterated with watermarks. The result being – it was a major distraction and totally destroyed the actual image. Davy (being Davy), took one for the team on this occasion and actually ended up buying the photo from the States - in order to get it saved, here on the Archive in a clean (watermark free) state.
The photo is an incredibly rare one. Clint is seen in the top half of his High Plains Drifter garb, matched up only with a pair of white Tennis shorts! Gun in one hand, Tennis racket in the other, it’s clear that the mood is relaxed. With the lack of beard we’ve made an educated guess that this was taken in advance of filming, perhaps at pre-production stages. The lack of beard could also indicate that it was arguably taken during the same photo session which subsequently resulted in the cover photo used for Iain Johnstone’s book The Man with No Name (1981).
In fact, what we do know, (thanks to the original cutting on the reverse) is that it was used for publicity purposes and to tie in with KMSP-CH9’s ‘Squint like Clint’ TV season - a week long run of Clint’s movies which was beginning here with A Fistful of Dollars.
I can’t really offer any logical explanation as to why they decided to use a candid High Plains Drifter photo; perhaps they were simply more taken by the unusual, comedic aspect of the photo? I guess we’ll never really know. However, I’m sure we’re all certainly grateful that they did!
Thanks again Davy!    
 Below: The Man With No Name book by Iain Johnston 1981

Sunday 26 January 2020

Ennio Morricone ‎– For a Fistful of Dollars Rare LP

I was fortunate enough to finally obtain this rare Ennio Morricone LP last week. I’ve been after this particular version for a good many years now, and it was thanks to friend of the Archive, Rocco who kindly sold me this. The 1977 Netherlands LP (RCA International ‎– CL 17146), is in terms of content,  pretty much the same as the basic RCA Camden issue, except of course for the amazing artwork which is very  different. For this particular release they have used the concept art from the original Yugoslavian poster (as well as the Spanish and Italian re-release poster). I always loved this poster and luckily have one in my collection – and probably the reason why this LP was always high on my list and so appealing to me. The album was made in Holland by Inelco Nederland from master recordings owned or controlled by RCA Records. I’m very grateful to Rocco who does have a stock of soundtrack albums which he will be listing from time to time, so be sure to check out his page here 
Below: The original Yugoslavian poster

The Gauntlet Original Lobby set from former Yugoslavia

The former Yugoslavia is the territory that was up to 25 June 1991 known as The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY). Specifically, the six republics that made up the federation - Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia (including the regions of Kosovo and Vojvodina) and Slovenia.

Film memorabilia from the former Yugoslavia has become more popular in recent decades, and because of its history, has started to find its place with collectors. I have several Eastwood posters from the 70s and 80s and can be found on these pages. However, Lobby cards or sets are a little harder to find. Friend of the Archive Steve Saragossi, sent me this set from The Gauntlet (1977) that he had spotted on the internet. I took a little time to restore them to some degree as I thought they would be nice to save here. As Steve pointed out, a lot of these photos, whilst looking familiar at first glance, do have some subtle differences. For this reason, I certainly think they deserve a place here for all to enjoy. The size of this set are 17 x 24 cm. Many thanks Steve.  

Wednesday 22 January 2020

Clint Eastwood Photo Opportunity #16

Chicago born actress Arlene Golonka celebrates her 84th birthday tomorrow. She is seen here as Jennefer in Malpaso's first production, Hang 'em high. Taken between shots, this photo clearly illustrates that there was plenty of fun to be had in the studio. Happy Birthday Arlene, have a great day from all at the Archive! 

ITV This Morning interview

Just a small piece that probably appeals more to UK friends really. On Monday, 27th. January sometime between 11:00 - 13:30, ITV's daytime show This Morning will be showing an interview with actor and director Clint Eastwood. Clint sits down with Alison Hammond in Los Angeles to chat about his new film Richard Jewell. The news that ITV had flown Hammond out to LA, seems to indicate and confirm that Clint will not be travelling to the UK to promote his film - which is a shame. ITV has been running a series of Teaser spots and simply stating 'coming soon', so my thanks to our friend Neil Thomson for chasing up ITV for this update.

Sunday 19 January 2020

City Heat Original German Lobby Set

Last week I was lucky enough to finally obtain a full collection of the City Heat German lobby set. In terms of photos, they are arguably one of the best sets issued, but trying to find a full set of 14 has started to become increasingly difficult to find. They are often being separated and the set also contains 2 oversized lobbies of both Clint and Burt. The first 12 come in at 12 x 9 inches and the larger 2 at 18.5 x 11.5 inches. For reference and for collectors, I have scanned the first 12 and tried to photograph the oversized 2. The first 12 are also still a little too large for a standard flatbed scanner so these images are just missing the top white border edge.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank my friend Terry who kindly sold me these. He did me a huge favour and for that I am indebted to him.

Clint Eastwood Photo Opportunity #15

Whilst I will also be posting this photo on the dedicated Hang ‘em high page (here) I also felt it was worthy of its own Photo Opportunity. In many ways it is also a pretty fair representation of the great deal of work and effort that often goes into presenting an image in the finest possible quality – and taking into account that some, like this example, are pretty hard and rare to find in any other ‘clean’ version.
As an example, I have published here (for the first time) both a before and after set of images. The first is of course the finished photo. It shows a superb image of Clint whist on location filming his first American western, Hang ‘em high (1967). Below that is the original image that it was created from. I have to thank my friend Davy Triumph for finding and sending this image of a German magazine that he saw on Ebay. Davy gives me more than enough headaches with these sort of challenges, but like me, he has a healthy respect for such wonderful photos and likes nothing more than seeing it saved (if possible) and presented on these pages.
I can understand that the amount of work that is often carried out on these photos probably goes unnoticed, but the long hours involved is a reflection of our efforts in making this the finest possible site dedicated to Clint and his legacy. I hope you enjoy.

Anthony James: so good at being bad

I recently discovered this piece on the internet by Nick Thomas and thought it deserved a place here. I think it's always nice to feature Clint’s classic co-stars and always consider them a vital part of the Eastwood circle of friends.
After preparing a draft of his autobiography in 2009 and approaching several book agents, former actor Anthony James was repeatedly advised: “It’s a wonderful memoir, but take your mother out of it and we’ll represent you."
But James would have none of it. In addition to telling the story of his rise to one of Hollywood’s most memorable "bad guys" in the 70s and 80s, he was determined to also honour the woman who supported his career.
“After all those years of agents and publishers wanting to ‘throw Momma from the train,’ the book was published by the University of Mississippi Press,” said James from his home near Boston, where he has lived since retiring from acting 20 years ago.
Published in 2014 as “Acting My Face,” the title seemed appropriate to the lanky, swarthy James, who is widely recognized for playing psychopathic killers and other disturbed characters.
“I have to remind people that I did play love scenes, it’s just that they were at knife-point!” he laughed.
After selling all their possessions and moving from South Carolina to Hollywood in 1960, James says his widowed Greek mother, Marika Palla Anthony (1913–2008), immediately began working to support him.
“She took a job as a factory steam presser while I tried to start my career,” recalled James. “I really didn’t have a clue how to begin, and even looked for starring roles in the want-ads of the LA Times. Those first years in Hollywood were difficult and scary.”
With persistence, luck, and the encouragement of a devoted mother, James landed two one-line roles in the short lived TV series "T.H.E. Cat" and "Captain Nice" six years after arriving in Hollywood.
"They got me my SAG card but, most importantly, I did my first film 50 years ago in 1966, "In the Heat of the Night," said James. Released the following year, it was a small but pivotal role in what would be the year's Best Picture Oscar winner.
“When I left the dressing room and walked out for the first scene in the diner, I felt I was being led to a guillotine!” admitted James about his first film role. “I tried to keep my voice from breaking I was so terrified. But I told myself to just be the character – imagine there was no camera, no crew, no marks to hit, to just always go back to being the character. Norman Jewison was a supportive director and the scene was done in one take.” 
Set in the sweltering Mississippi summer, many external scenes were filmed in Illinois during the chilly fall. It was so cold, the actors’ breath could be seen during filming.
“We had to put ice in our mouths just before saying our lines to cool our breath,” said James.
As the sleazy diner counterman, Ralph Henshaw, James was immediately typecast as a villain. “My mother wasn’t too thrilled – she always thought of me as the heroic romantic lead, but eventually accepted it.”
In “Burnt Offerings” (1976), James was memorable as a creepy chauffeur in a dream sequence, although he never uttered a word on-screen. Off-set, he was more vocal, and recalls his first encounter with co-star Bette Davis.
“For one scene, she was made up to appear over a hundred years old, which was done in her hotel room for her convenience,” said James. “I was staying in the same hotel and met her for the first time in the lobby as she came down in character as an old woman. I said ‘It’s a pleasure to meet you Ms. Davis, we should probably get over to the set because it will take a long time to get your makeup on!’”
Davis’s entourage froze with shock, says James. “But she got the joke. Two years later we did another film, ‘Return from Witch Mountain,’ and during the nine weeks of filming had all our scenes together. Director John Hough and I were the only people she would allow in her dressing room.”
James worked in two classic Clint Eastwood westerns, but didn’t fare well at the hands of the famous cowboy. In “High Plains Drifter” (1973) Clint shot off his ear, before getting final retribution with a whip, and in “Unforgiven” James was blasted with a shotgun just before the credits rolled.
Well-known for these western roles, James offered an explanation why the genre fell out of favor with studios and audiences.
“My uneducated guess regarding the virtual extinction of the western is that it does not carry the inherent scope for the massive sophistication of special effects and the 3D lens,” he suggested. “How many arrows, stampeding herds, and tumbleweeds can you hurl at a current movie audience without finding them passed out from clinical boredom?  No, only science fiction, fantasy, horror, animation, and the video game's non-stop technological drug is the cinematic fix for today's movie goer's addiction.”
As for the last great big-screen western, James suggests John Ford's “My Darling Clementine” is a strong contender.
“The great emptiness of his landscapes and the vast cloud-mottled skies dwarf the characters' problems rendering them minor, vain and pathetic,” he said. “That a western with a gritty realism and brutality can capture the existential angst of life with such a grievous beauty is for me a touch of genius.”
An abstract painter of many years, James says Eastwood admired his artwork.
“He liked one piece in particular, so I left it in his office as a gift,” recalled James, who published a book of art and poetry, "Language of the Heart," in 1994. “Later, I got a note from Clint saying he built a room for it in his new home!”
“Unforgiven” won Best Picture Oscar in 1992, and would turn out to be James’ final acting job after nearly 100 film and TV roles. He moved to the East Coast where, today, he continues to paint. His works are sold through Renjeau Gallery in Natick, Massachusetts.
Bookending his acting career with a pair of Best Picture films is an accomplishment James views modestly.
“I never considered myself a celebrity, just a sometime recognisable face,” he says in reference to the title of his autobiography. “I hope people will laugh out loud at some of the book’s Hollywood tales and are moved by my mother’s story.”
Nick Thomas teaches at Auburn University at Montgomery, Ala., and has written features, columns, and interviews for over 600 magazines and newspapers.

To order Acting My Face click here 

Thursday 2 January 2020

Clint Eastwood Photo Opportunity #14

I thought it would be nice to begin 2020 with a simple post in our continuing series of Photo Opportunities. I’m hoping to increase these this year, as they are perfect fillers, and often illustrate some rarely seen images. My files are quite plentiful with these sort of images, so hopefully the Photo Opps will be a rewarding, more regular feature of 2020.
Image #14 is a photo that I had never before seen until last month. It shows the late, great Don Rickles hugging up with Clint during the making of Kelly’s Heroes. Rickles rarely missed the chance of playing it for laughs whenever a camera was about - as this great shot clearly reflects.