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Eastwood - Robert Tanitch

Clint Eastwood

Review by Lizzie Guilfoyle

ROBERT Tanitch’s Eastwood certainly lives up to its description as ‘the complete career of Clint Eastwood in words and pictures’ and as such, will be much appreciated by his legions of loyal fans.

Starting way back in the 1950s, it chronicles Eastwood’s career film by film – from 1955’s Francis in the Navy (I know, I’d never heard of it either!) to 2005’s Million Dollar Baby – 50 years, which in my book and considering the fickle world of show business, speaks volumes.

But more importantly perhaps, Eastwood is an honest appraisal of the actor/director’s work, so if you’re looking for something that acknowledges only ‘the good’ but ignores ‘the bad and the ugly’, this one isn’t for you.

For example, we’re told that the “badly scripted” mountain spy thriller The Eiger Sanction (1975) was variously described as “time passing rubbish”, “appalling tripe” and “a good film to sleep to” – criticism that would almost certainly have deterred a lesser man from pursuing a career in film.

It’s also obvious from the progression of stills that Eastwood lacks the vanity so prevalent among his peers. Just like the rest of us, he has aged but, to his immense credit, he has done so ‘gracefully’ – in other words, without resorting to cosmetic enhancement.

Compare for instance, the fresh-faced Rowdy Yates of Rawhide (pages 24/25) with the aging Frank Horrigan of In the Line of Fire (page 182). Yet is he any less attractive? I don’t think so but “a gazelle in jeans and cowboy boots” – never…...

What we have then, is a comprehensive evaluation not only of Eastwood’s performances but of the films themselves, many of which are accompanied by quotes from contemporary reviews – both British and American.

For my own part, I would have preferred the images in colour and not in black and white as they invariably are – a small gripe that has far more to do with taste than any detrimental effect they might have on the overall effect.

So, for genuine Eastwood fans, this warts and all filmography is an absolute must. For anyone else, myself included, it provides a fascinating insight into the career of one of Hollywood’s most enduring stars.