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Clint Eastwood

Unforgiven’s Jailhouse Sh00tout Makes Clint Eastwood’s Western a Classic

Let’s start with the obvious: Unforgiven is a masterpiece. Clint Eastwood’s gritty deconstruction of the Western genre easily stands as one of the best of its kind. From start to finish, we’re enraptured by this dangerous world populated by men and women who utilized violence as a means to an end.
Starring Eastwood (who also directed), Gene Hackman, Morgan Freeman, and Richard Harris, the epic galloped into theaters in August of 1992 and quickly found acclaim amongst critics and moviegoers. All told, Unforgiven earned a massive $159M against a $14.4M budget and went on to win Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor (Hackman), and Best Film Editing. One could argue that two more awards were due — for Eastwood’s performance (he lost to Scent of a Woman’s “hoo-ah” screaming Al Pacino) and Jack N. Green’s stunning cinematography (the Oscar went to Philippe Rousselot for A River Runs Through It).
No matter. Eastwood has no need for pint-sized Hollywood awards. The iconic director/actor aims for something bolder and grander, which is why I think Unforgiven stands as his masterwork; the pièce de résistance of a storied career that continues to this day. And for an artist with a resume chock-full of classics like The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, The Outlaw Josey Wales, Dirty Harry, High Plains Drifter, Kelly’s Heroes, Mystic River, and Million Dollar Baby … that’s saying something.
I could go on and on about Unforgiven and echo the sentiments of Peter Travers who, in his review in Rolling Stone magazine, called it “the most provocative Western of Eastwood’s career” and noted: “By weighing Munny’s rise to prosperity against his fall from grace, Eastwood gives Unforgiven a tragic stature that puts his own filmmaking past in critical and moral perspective. In three decades of climbing into the saddle, Eastwood has never ridden so tall.”

You’ve likely read this all before.
Instead, I want to focus on my favorite scene from Unforgiven. No, it’s not that scene, but rather a smaller, quieter moment that occurs midway through the film that serves as the turning point in the story.
Unforgiven mostly operates like a traditional Western throughout its first hour. We are thrust into a familiar tale of revenge, meet a colorful cast of characters, and are whisked away on a grand adventure filled with campfires and atypical sweeping country landscapes. That all changes about 50 minutes into the production when Gene Hackman’s Little Bill beats the ever-loving shit out of Richard Harris’ English Bob and hauls him to prison. It’s here that Eastwood unveils the true purpose behind this tale. Here, the director deconstructs the myth of the cowboy, blurs the line between good and bad, and sets the tone for the remaining film whilst laying groundwork for the dark finale.
He also gives us one of the more intense standoffs in modern cinema. Let’s rewind.
English Bob is a notorious gunslinger who rides into the town of Big Whiskey in the hopes of collecting a bounty on a couple of cowboys who cut up a local brothel worker. Bob, we quickly learn, possesses gunslinging skills and a talent for embroidering the truth, but has clearly let fame go to his head, as is evident by the biographical writer (Saul Rubinek) currently attached to his person. The denizens of Big Whiskey treat Bob like some sort of English Elvis; his legend precedes him at every turn. All it takes is a mild game of “shoot the pheasant,” which Bob easily wins, for challengers to holster their sidearms and take a step back; so renowned is the Englishman’s mythos.
Except, in truth, English Bob is just a man who rose to fame thanks in large part to a fortunate moment of happenstance. We learn as much when Little Bill gleefully recounts Bob’s “legendary” tale as it actually happened:

The conversation gives way to “my favorite scene,” or the standoff between Little Bill and English Bob:

I’ve watched this scene a thousand times and each viewing makes my heart race. There’s a lot to unpack here, from the way Bill demystifies the gunfighter legend by demonstrating how difficult it is to draw a weapon, aim and kill a moving target; to the manner in which Mr. Beauchamp attempts to create his own “iconic scene” that he hopes to exploit through his books.
Take note of Eastwood’s use of sound in the clip above. There’s no music. Rain and thunder pervade the soundtrack. Old Westerns often scored gunfights with dramatic orchestrations packed with rousing themes for the good guys and darker melodies for the bad guys. Check out this clip from the classic High Noon in which Gary Cooper takes on some dastardly villains and listen to the way Dimitri Tiomkin’s bombastic score highlights the action:

The difference between High Noon and Unforgiven is that the former features clearly drawn heroes and villains operating on very distinct sides of the law, while Unforgiven dips its toes in murkier waters. During Bill’s standoff with Bob, there’s no need for music because, well, we’re not sure who to root for. Little Bill carries a badge and certainly seems like he has good intentions, but isn’t much better than the murderers he abuses. It’s no coincidence that as tensions mount in the jail, Eastwood posits Bill behind bars in several shots, giving the impression that he deserves to be locked up right alongside the criminals he so despises:

I’ve always seen Bill as a man desperately trying to be the good guy, who too often mistakes violence and abuse for justice. His treatment of English Bob, for example, is a misguided attempt to condemn a man who hasn’t done anything wrong:

After Bill’s mistreatment of Bob, the film escalates into a series of violent standoffs and showdowns.
At one point, Bill comes face-to-face with a feeble and sick William Munny and seizes the opportunity to beat the shit out of the old cowboy. His directive is to scare the bejesus out of bounty hunters who ride into town aiming to kill for a handful of cash. I should point out that Bill’s violent actions make little impact. William and his partner, the Schofield Kid, eventually murder the two wanted cowboys and collect the bounty. Ironically, if Bill had acted as an actual lawman rather than a violent psychopath, he may have saved the two boys’ lives. Instead, his deeds incite more unnecessary violence and eventually lead to his own death.

Ironically, in the jailhouse, Bill calls English Bob a pathetic coward for shooting one of his victims in the back. He’s not wrong. Bob is a phony and a coward. However, Bill spends half the film beating defenseless people to a bloody pulp. He literally murders Ned (Morgan Freeman) — a character who outright refuses to kill — after a violent interrogation goes wrong and later displays his corpse for all to see.
In the end, Bill is more ruthless, cowardly, and cold-blooded than the men he tries to keep from entering his town. No matter, Little Bill eventually gets what he deserves in Unforgiven’s astonishing final scene:
What’s great is that Bill’s death is foreshadowed during his extensive conversation with Mr. Beauchamp in the jailhouse: “Look son,” he says, “being a good shot, being quick with a pistol, that don’t do no harm, but it don’t mean much next to being cool-headed. A man who will keep his head and not get rattled under fire, like as not, he’ll kill ya.”
We see two examples of this play out. First, when Bill squares off against English Bob, and second, during his final confrontation with William Munny. In the first, Bill is calm and steady — he even smirks! That’s because Bill knows the truth about Bob. He doesn’t buy into the lies surrounding his person and knows the Englishman will back down from a fair fight or end up dead. Bob represents the faux legend whose mythos quickly unravels when you peel back the layers and peer just below the surface.
In the second example, Bill comes toe-to-toe with an actual gunfighter with a known reputation — Munny has killed women and children, after all — and panics. By contrast, William Munny keeps his cool and manages to take out a half dozen men (including Bill) with relative ease. Munny is the legend we all long to see, but the cold truth is that he’s a miserable old man haunted by his past deeds. Mr. Beauchamp will likely embellish his story and paint Munny as some sort of mythical figure, but we know the truth.
Ultimately, I could’ve picked any number of scenes from Eastwood’s classic to explore. However, the jailhouse shootout has always been the moment where Unforgiven morphed from being a really good Western to perhaps the greatest Western ever made. In the end, this might not be the old-fashioned Hollywood cowboy adventure we all wanted, but it’s the film we deserved.

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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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Clint Eastwood

Clint Eastwood’s Daughter Posts Rare Selfie, And Her Fans Are Absolutely Loving It

Earlier this week, Clint Eastwood’s daughter, Francesca Eastwood, took to her Instagram account to share a rare selfie.

The actress, who didn’t write a caption for the post, is seen with a pair of pink lens sunglasses while sitting near a plant. Follows of Clint Eastwood’s daughter gushed over the simple snapshot. “Extraordinarily Beautiful,” one follower declared. “You look gorgeous, so much like your mom,” another added.

Francesca is preparing to film her upcoming action-packed movie, “Live Fast, Die Laughing.” The film follows a broke taxi driver in Vietnam who thinks it is his lucky day when a mysterious offers him a fortune to drive her 1,000 miles from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi. While on the road, the duo is pursued by mobsters and an assassin. Written by Timothy Linh Bui and Tim Tori and directed by Bui, Eastwood will star in the film alongside Harvey Keitel. 

Clint Eastwood’s Daughter Francesca Talks Starring in a Western Genre Film 

While promoting her 2016 film “Outlaws and Angels,” Francesca revealed to the Observer that she didn’t speak to her father, Clint Eastwood, about starring in the western genre film.

“I didn’t ask my parents for advice on this one,” Francesca stated about the role. But she did admit that she usually asks her parents but she wanted to do her own thing this time. “So I just ran and did it and talked with them about it later. I wanted to do one on my own, and it felt great.”

Frances Fisher, Francesca’s mother, was also part of the film. However, the duo did not appear in any scenes together. “This is the first time that I was on a film and then she came on after, rather than her being in a film and I join as her baby. I was probably the least experienced actor, and everyone was just so welcoming and really nurturing to that.”

While speaking about working in a desert, Francesca recalled, “It was pretty intense with the heat and the costumes, and we couldn’t wash them because they were supposed to look aged, so after about 3 weeks of being in the same layers it was just gross. It was fun and part of the experience though. Normally if you’re uncomfortable or too hot you go get a water and sit in a trailer, but that was so not the case with this one.”

Francesa went on to note that she and the rest of the cast just dealt with the production’s conditions. “No one really went to the trailers. We just hung out – no texting, Tweeting, Instagramming. I think it made it really special. There were no distractions.”

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