Monday, 27 September 2021
Saturday, 25 September 2021
This is a wonderful piece of history regarding Clint’s award winning film Unforgiven (1992). There’s a couple of remarkable things about this memo which really stands out. Firstly, it’s the date of January 1984. Clint had previously spoken out regarding the project which dated way back to 1976. Infact, the project had previously been owned by Francis Ford Coppola, who went as far as to meet with John Malkovich and offer him the role of William Munny. Malkovich recalls:
"The offer was not very serious, thank God! I say that for myself and the poor public, and for Clint, absolutely! I would have been a total, total failure. Total! Who would've wanted to see that? I wouldn't! I would've just been acting-schmacting. There are some things you can only have with a kind of mythic figure which Clint is."
Clint had said that Malpaso had acquired it after the rights had expired adding that he put it away in a drawer as he had several other projects to do and that he felt he needed to mature more into the role and perhaps wasn’t of an old enough age to portray the character. So the date is very significant on this piece.
Secondly, is the title. At the time of Unforgiven’s release, information concerning the film’s original title was circulating - which was The William Munny Killings - and was developed under that title during pre production. However, before that (and especially at the early development stages) it was known as The Cut-Whore Killings or ‘Killing’ - as it is referred to on the document.
Lastly, and rather ironically, is the content - which certainly raises an eyebrow (and a smile). The memo is addressed to Clint (with copies to Fritz Manes) from Sonia Chernus (1909–1990), an associate of Clint’s which dated back to the days of Rawhide (as story assistant). She was also involved with the famous Clint Eastwood Meets Mister Ed TV show of 1962 and was also credited as one of the writers on The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976).
I use the term ‘irony’ of course as Sonia Chernus obviously hated the entire concept of the Unforgiven project, at least in these very early days. Her distaste for David Webb Peoples script was blatant to say the least, even though he had written the Oscar nominated film The Day After Trinity (1980) and co-written Blade Runner (1982). At one point she practically advises Clint to throw it in the bin. Well thankfully Clint thought otherwise, and when developed and made as Unforgiven, the film became a critical and commercial giant winning multiple Oscars along the way.
Irony in this case seems to be a double-edged sword - as Ms Chernus died some 2 years before Unforgiven’s release and never lived to see the overwhelming success that the film became. Although it’s a long shot, I like to think that Clint (out of respect for Chernus and her opinions of the script) might have just kept the project in the drawer, and decided to retrieve it only after her passing? But I’m speculating and probably have one foot in dreamland!
The memo however is certainly fascinating. I have had it on file for a number of years now. I think it originally turned up for auction - but never followed it through to see if it sold and/or what the final price was. I also wanted to digitally restore it to some degree and generally clean it up. I have posted both the before and after here - for the purists and admirers of ‘warts and all’ pieces.
Thursday, 23 September 2021
Dollar Quad Poster mock ups
I recently found these in a large picture file which I have been slowly working through. The world of poster mock-ups is a really curious entity. It is often just a harmless bit of fun where amateur artists and designers provide alternative concepts to the original official designs issued by the studios. We have a host of examples here.
So, I recently re-discovered these 4 mock up quads from A Fistful of Dollars and For a Few Dollars More. Their concept was obviously inspired from the official A Fistful of Dollars 4K cinema release of 2018 – with their superb, gritty monochrome designs. What has always impressed me about these mock up designs is that they are just so damn good. I guess a lot of it has to do with the advances of technology – where one can just sit in front of a PC or Laptop and roll off one of these beautiful examples in no time at all.
Of course, there were a few who didn’t like the 4K experience of A Fistful of Dollars. I think immediately of maverick director Quentin Tarantino (who was invited to help present the film in Cannes) and claimed that seeing it left him ‘depressed’.
‘I just had a really uncomfortable experience in Cannes […] because they had the 50th anniversary of ‘Fistful Of Dollars’. They showed this 4K restoration. I have an IB Technicolor, a beautiful Techniscope print of ‘Fistful of Dollars’ —I could have brought that’
That statement by Tarantino always brings a smile to my face – like we can all be afforded the luxury of owning an IB Technicolor, Techniscope print of A Fistful of Dollars, right?
Nevertheless, I know the director is a fan, and loves movie posters. So while he has some issues with the 4K presentation, I’m pretty positive he could certainly live with these mock up posters should they had existed in the real world.
I have posted the official 4K release poster (for comparison) at the top, followed by the four mock up designs which were recreated in the same unique style.(below: This first mock up actually features a shot from For a Few Dollars More)
Hang ‘em High Contact sheet from title sequence
Here’s a rare contact sheet from Clint’s first American film after returning back from making the Dollar trilogy in Italy and Spain.
This sheet shows several shots from the title sequence of Hang 'em high (1967) where Clint’s character Jed Cooper is brutally beaten, hung and left to die. The sheet offers a rare glimpse into this sequence – I wonder who still has the original negatives?
Rare Cameo Parkway Records flyer
Here is a very nice piece of history kindly sent to me by our U.S. correspondent Kevin Walsh. In the 1960’s Clint enjoyed a brief career as a recording artist due mainly to his success from the TV series Rawhide.
One of his single releases was Rowdy / Cowboy Wedding Song. This flyer is a nice piece as it also headlines the release date of the single and its catalogue number – the release date being February 19th, 1963. As a point of interest, the record was only released in the U.S. with a generic studio sleeve, whilst here in the UK; it was treated to a nice picture sleeve (below). This flyer must also originate from the UK, as it clearly illustrates that Rowdy is the leading A side. Still to this day, (and probably due to that picture sleeve), most people still believe that Rowdy was the A-side. Yet, on the U.S. version of the 45, it was in fact Cowboy Wedding Song which was the A side and Rowdy was instead used as the B-side of the single.
More of Clint’s history as a recording artist can be found here in an original piece I wrote for the Archive back in July, 2017.
Here’s a very special item. As most will know, the finished artwork for Clint’s 1982 film Honkytonk Man consisted of a drawn / sketch type design of Clint and Kyle. However, Clint’s long-time associate Bill Gold had already made some original concepts featuring a photo image and an entirely different font for the titles. Many might argue that this is a far more appealing design – but it wasn’t meant to be. However a similar design (probably from the same photo shoot) was used for both the LP soundtrack cover and the paperback tie-in book. This unused piece of original art is approx. 20” x 30” and mounted on board and originates from Bill Gold’s design studio.
My kindest thanks to Davy Triumph for this lovely piece of movie history.
Wednesday, 22 September 2021
The passing of friend and author Patrick AganSome sad news for the Eastwood circle of friends:
I went to catch up with an old friend earlier last week, the author Patrick Agan. Patrick’s book on Eastwood ‘The Man behind the Myth’ was the first book I ever bought on Clint and was a true inspiration. It was only the paperback version that arguably most people had from around 1977, but later in life Patrick became a real and genuine friend and we stayed in touch. Later he would send me a first edition hardback copy of that book with a beautiful dedication inside, and then he donated a great deal of his original research material over to me to hold, saying he wanted it to go to a good home. Patrick was a truly lovely man. I had not heard from Patrick in a little while, so set out to drop him a line and generally catch up - as Cry Macho was about to be released – it was only then that I learnt the sad news that Patrick had passed away on July 4th, 2018 at the age of 75.
I really couldn’t believe it. I guess we sometimes just take it for granted that friends are always going to be there – and of course the damn years pass so fast...
Anyway - I thought I would just let the fans know. I wanted to put a little something together here on the Archive, just in order to honour his memory, and because of his overall inspiration and kindness. RIP my friend, you’ll be sorely missed.
Friday, 17 September 2021
Wednesday, 15 September 2021
Another great little featurette today from Warner Bros as the premiere of Clint’s new movie draws increasingly closer. This third featurette comes in a bit longer than the previous two at 6 minutes. From the amount of feedback and contact I’ve been receiving, Cry Macho seems to be the most anticipated Eastwood movie for a very long time.
Tuesday, 14 September 2021