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Clint Eastwood

Clint Eastwood’s Directorial Debut Held Up a Mirror to Hippie Critics

When the free love movement blossomed in America in the 1960s, many folks started to look at relationship dynamics in more nuanced ways. It went hand in hand with the counterculture hijinks of the time, a ripple effect from a combustive cocktail of progressive, anti-war sentiments mixed with sex, drugs, and rock and roll. This was fodder ripe for the picking when it came to movies at the time, particularly hippie exploitation or hippie horror. These films often appeared to function as a way to spin hippie culture as a movement of Satan-worshippers bereft of morality. Undoubtedly, radical new attitudes on love and relationships shook the foundations of the traditional, nuclear family and the set role of a woman as a domestic, whose success depended on their unwavering loyalty to cater to one man. But this level of devotion does not always mean a happily ever after. It assuredly does not go down that way in Clint Eastwood’s 1971 directorial debut Play Misty for Me. Given the timing of the movie’s release and its notable celebration of hippie culture in the immediate aftermath of the free love era, Play Misty for Me functions as an antithetical to the exploitation films of the time that demonized the participants in the free love movement.
At the height of momentous social and political change in the late 1960s, the freewheeling antics of hippies ruled the scene, earning the movement a reputation rooted in hedonism, drug experimentation, and a rejection of pre-ordained roles as determined by a society fueled by capitalism and consumerism. This defiance of societal norms ignited a moral panic that film production companies were all too happy to indulge. Moviegoers of that time period were served up a slew of films which fixated on counterculture, such as 1967’s Hallucination Generation and 1968’s Wild in the Streets. These movies often did little more than construct cautionary tales about what happens when you lap up psychedelics and freebase free-thinking.
Even though these hippie exploitation films often romanticized its free-spirited subjects, they also had a part in instilling negative attitudes towards a bohemian lifestyle. These stereotypes were only reinforced by the media when the Manson family murders shook the nation in 1969. The tragedy occurred just the summer before Play Misty began shooting and contributed to the bitter end of the counterculture movement.
Clint Eastwood’s Directorial Debut Came at the Twilight of Hippie Exploitation

Clint Eastwood as Dave Garver and Jessica Walter as Evelyn Draper in Play Misty for Me

Image via Universal Pictures

After nearly two decades as an actor, Clint Eastwood was flying high on the fruits of his success, which helped him co-found his very own production company called Malpaso Productions in 1967. Eastwood was finally awarded an opportunity to flex his artistic chops behind the camera with the suspenseful drama Play Misty for Me, written by two frequent collaborators of Eastwood’s, Jo Heims and Dean Reisner. The story centers around Dave Garver (played by Clint Eastwood himself) a hip and poetry-keen jazz DJ on the Monterey Peninsula who finds himself in the amorous crosshairs of an unstable woman named Evelyn Draper (Jessica Walters of Arrested Development and Archer fame).
Evelyn sets a thirst trap by repeatedly calling in anonymously to Dave’s show and requesting he plays the song “Misty” by Erroll Garner. Eventually, Evelyn engages with Dave in person after following him to his local watering hole, and identifies herself as the sultry mystery caller, ultimately leading them to spend the night together. What at first appears to be a casual sexual encounter quickly dissolves into something far more sinister when Evelyn becomes frightfully obsessed with Dave and clingier than shrink wrap.
While Dave is no stranger to persistent offerings of female companionship, he finds himself increasingly hung up on his groovy ex Tobie (Donna Mills), an artist enjoying her own era of independence in alignment with the hippie ethos. Even though Dave does not say no to a fling, it is clear that he does not obligate Tobie to reject similar behaviors in his favor. In this way, Dave and Tobie’s simmering romance models the shifting nature of relationships that was becoming more commonplace in the wake of the free love movement. Instead of condemning this relationship, the narrative gives their open-ended dynamic credibility, and fingers the possessive Evelyn as the true offender. Tobie herself admits that she spent time away from Dave because she was becoming “one of her most unfavorite people: a jealous woman”. Enter, a jealous woman: Evelyn.

In ‘Play Misty for Me,’ Hell Hath No Fury Like an Evelyn Scorned

Evelyn’s brand of romantic obsession is nightmare fuel for those who adopted a lifestyle influenced by free love in the wake of the 60s. Jessica Walters as Evelyn is unnerving perfection; flipping from a wide-eyed damsel to a rabid psychotic like the switch of an electric chair. Dave time and time again attempts to shake off Evelyn, which only makes her more steadfast in her pursuit to lock him down. She preys on Dave’s restless spirit and growing inclination to settle down. Evelyn is an imposing introduction to this domestic life: smothering Dave with love and attention, while making sure he is well-bedded and well-fed, even stocking Dave’s fridge and fixing him lunch after just one night together. Evelyn eagerly accepts a role akin to a caretaker or housewife, and embarks on a murderous odyssey to eliminate the women in Dave’s life who could fulfill that role, i.e. Tobie and even Dave’s housekeeper Birdie (Clarice Taylor).
Creating anxiety around the concept of traditional gender roles is just one way Play Misty for Me underscores the liberating aspects of counterculture. There are visual markers throughout the film that celebrate the lingering hallmarks of the hippie generation: from a crunchy love scene between Dave and Tobie under waterfalls and among the clover in the arms of Mother Nature, right down to a gratuitous documentary-style feature of the Monterey Jazz Festival, calling to mind 1970’s Gimme Shelter, but with more bass lines and fewer fatalities.
Eastwood’s cult classic continues to be impactful to this day as a bookend to an era of exploitative movies that characterized participants in counterculture as acid-soaked and morally bankrupt hedonists. Supported by a narrative that held up a mirror to a sea change in gender roles, the film effectively captures the lingering aftereffects of a cultural and social revolution and helped fire up Eastwood’s next era as a big-time, Oscar-winning director.

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Clint Eastwood

Clint Eastwood’s Daughter Dished on What He Was Like at Home: ‘He’s Just My Dad’

To most of the world, Clint Eastwood is one of the most iconic actors alive. He’s the mysterious “Man with No Name,” he’s the detective with a flair for violence, “Dirty” Harry Callahan, some even know him as the mayor of Carmel-by-the-Sea, California (a role he held in real life, not on the silver screen). To his 8 children, however, he’s simply known as dad.

In an interview with Closer Weekly, one of the legendary actor’s eldest children, Alison Eastwood, described what it was like to grow up with the “icon of masculinity” as her father. “He’s just my dad,” she explained. “He yelled at me when I was bad and did horrible things, which I did from time to time. And he was really sweet and supportive when I was doing great things.”

Though Eastwood leans heavily on no-nonsense tough-guy roles in Hollywood, Alison knows a different version of him entirely. “He’s way laid-back,” she revealed. “Probably too laid-back. Don’t tell him, though!”

Clint Eastwood’s Daughter Shares the Advice He Gave for a Career in Hollywood

Like many father-child relationships, Alison is her father’s biggest fan. So much so, in fact, that when it came time to choose a career path, she set her sights on Hollywood. Alison made her film debut at the young age of 7 when she was given an uncredited role in the 1980 Clint Eastwood Western Bronco Billy.

For Clint Eastwood, it didn’t matter what his children did in their careers, as long as they gave it their all. “I just said, whatever you do, do it well,” the Dirty Harry star told the LA Times. “If you’re going to be a phone operator, be the best phone operator.”

Alison now has more than 40 years of experience both in front of and behind the camera. Now an actress and a director, Alison shared the advice her father gave her ahead of her directorial debut. “He has a dry sense of humor,” she said. “So his biggest piece of advice for me as a director was, ‘Make sure you get a lot of sleep, because you’re going to need it.’”

After dispensing some classic dad-style humor, Clint Eastwood shared his actual advice. “Believe in what you’re doing, as opposed to changing your mind or being wishy-washy,” he told his daughter.

The Western icon and his daughter are now 92 and 50, respectively, but remain close to this day. “We’re good friends,” Alison Eastwood said. “We laugh a lot. Now we can talk about directing, acting, the business, and we both love animals. We have a lot to share. And we still do Thanksgiving together!”

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Clint Eastwood

Clint Eastwood Fans Get the Western Icon Trending on Twitter With Epic Throwback Pics

For those people who saw Clint Eastwood trending on Twitter on Sunday morning, then just know that he’s doing just fine. The onslaught of attention, though, did bring some epic throwback pictures to the platform. Fans were sharing many different shots from his iconic career. We picked out a few of them for you to get a peek at and enjoy. Our man Clint loves to keep working and even getting a round of golf in here and there. When he’s on the movie set or in some other setting, it’s always a good time to get some photos.

Those photos and even a video definitely liven up a Father’s Day filled with fun for many. Yep, even Eastwood probably had some fun and well wishes coming his way from his children. Daughter Alison Eastwood is a solid actress in her own right, having starred in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. As for papa Clint, well, where do you start with his movie career? Of course, there’s his time as the “Man with No Name.”

Clint Eastwood Did Find Success In Movies Thanks To ‘Spaghetti Westerns’

The work with Sergio Leone helped him get that movie career up and running. Meanwhile, he made Harry Callahan a major character thanks to Dirty Harry. Yet those Westerns do make him look that much better, right? Think about the “Spaghetti Westerns” that we alluded to just now.

Go beyond that to Unforgiven, a movie he not only acted in but had a role in getting the film made. Heck, Clint Eastwood wanted veteran actor Gene Hackman on board from the get-go. As the story goes, though, Hackman had reservations about joining up. When you play “Popeye” Doyle in The French Connection, that becomes an iconic role for him. But the movie had its fair share of violence and that kind of turned him off at the outset.

In fact, Hackman, at first, said he didn’t want to be involved in another violent movie. That would be because of his daughters, Elizabeth and Leslie, who had some say in the matter. The actor did read the script but said no at first. Eastwood did tell Hackman that there was a chance to make a statement against violence in Unforgiven. When looking at the script again through those eyes, Hackman would agree to do it. Good thing he did. Hackman would win an Oscar for his role. “It’s all in the execution, you gotta execute it right, or else nothing means anything,” Eastwood said in an interview about the film. “He [Hackman] re-read it and came back and said, ‘Yeah, okay, I’ll do this.’”

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Clint Eastwood

Clint Eastwood’s Daughter Reveals Her Favorite Advice He Gave Her

Alison Eastwood is an actress as well one of the daughters of the famed actor and director Clint Eastwood. Getting any type of advice from dear old Dad is a good thing. When it comes to her favorite piece that he gave her, you might think it was acting. She did get the acting bug, too, and did star in the movie Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. This advice must be about her career, right? Nope. It had to do with the always tough task of living life.

“I guess just not to take [life] too seriously,” Alison Eastwood tells Closer Weekly in an interview from 2019. “He never seemed to take anything too seriously. Maybe that’s not a good thing … I don’t know.” Yet she also would offer up a little more insight which she’s picked up from being around him. “He makes me laugh, I make him laugh,” Alison said. “That’s my favorite part about it. I think just having a lot of laughter, especially in our family, amongst ourselves. We’re all getting older.”

Clint Eastwood Isn’t A Big Fan Of His Birthday, Daughter Alison Says

She also says that Dad isn’t a big fan of his birthday. He would rather be doing something else, like working or playing golf, than celebrating his big day. Still, Clint Eastwood keeps on providing fans with film work as an actor and director. He’s achieved great success and to think he also has a classic TV connection. Of course, Clint does from his days playing Rowdy Yates on Rawhide.

Yet it is in the movies of Eastwood that has really made him a household name. Working in Europe would provide some foundational success thanks to the “Spaghetti Westerns” directed by Sergio Leone. He would play the “Man with No Name” in films like A Fistful of Dollars and The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly. They all would lead Eastwood to then become an iconic police officer as Harry Callahan in Dirty Harry. One time, he talked about A Fistful of Dollars possibly becoming an “absolute disaster.” What in the world does he mean by this? Eastwood told Roger Ebert years ago that the movie’s producers were arguing among themselves. The issue at hand was who would pay the bills to get the movie done. This leads him to say, “It could have been an absolute disaster. But, we got lucky with it. And it turned out Sergio Leone was for real.”

While his record of success and achievement is solid, sometimes Eastwood has to pick and choose between projects. When it came to playing Bruce Willis’ role John McClane in Die Hard, Eastwood did turn it down. Screenwriter Jeb Stuart would say that Eastwood said that he didn’t get the humor in the movie.

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