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Clint Eastwood

Two Mules for Sister Sara: Clint Eastwood co-stars with Shirley MacLaine in Don Siegel’s amusing blend of Spaghetti Western and romantic-comedy

Two Mules of sister Sara(1970) is a quirky Western directed by Don Siegel, and starring Shirley MacLaine and Clint Eastwood in lead roles. The film mixes the aesthetics of a Sergio Leone Western with the romantic-comedy elements from John Huston’s African-Adventure, The African Queen, to arrive at a highly enjoyable romantic-comic Western adventure.

The quirky Ennio Morricone soundtrack, the earthy Mexican locales, and an unshaven Clint Eastwood wearing the same gun and holster (not to mention a Vest designed to look like those iconic ponchos) he wore in “Man with no Name” films; Two Mules for Sister Sara(1970) could very easily be mistaken for a Sergio Leone spaghetti Western or a Leone-knockoff cooked up by some American Leone-wannabe. Suffice to say that the film is neither. The film is directed by one of the great American action-directors of all time, Don Siegel, who has a unique directorial voice of his own- which is very different from Leone’s. One thing he had in common with Leone was that he was a mentor and regular collaborator for Clint- when the latter was starting out as an American mainstream movie star. This was Siegel’s second film with Clint- they had done the cop-drama Coogan’s Bluff(1968) before; and rather surprisingly, he chose to tackle a film that was more in Leone’s ballpark, but as the film proceeds, we realize that except for the surface similarities, this is very different from the Westerns that Leone made with Clint. For starters, Clint maybe playing an American mercenary in Mexico – à la  the anti-hero of “A Fistful of Dollars”- here, has a proper name, “Hogan”, and he gets to speak lot more lines of dialogue than in a Leone Western. Secondly, one of the coolest and sexiest aspects of “Man with no Name” was the absence of regular American hero characteristics like a personal moral code- instead he has a cool, nonchalant personal style- and romantic relationships with women, here, he definitely has the latter- with Shirley MacLaine’s Madonna\whore hybrid, Sara. As for the “code”, he develops one as the film progresses, though Siegel does not disappoint his fans by completely eschewing the iconic Clint Eastwood “Personal style”. One could say that the this film (and Clint’s character) is an Americanized and contemporized (for the late 60s) version of Leone’s “Dollar” movies. What if Eli Wallach’s “Tuco” in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly was a woman?. How will Clint’s character relate to her, and what changes would that character make in Clint; that’s pretty much the scenario of “Two Mules for Sister Sara”. That way, this film, fully financed, produced and released by an American studio, can be considered a bridge between Clint’s Leone Westerns and his latter day American Westerns, most of which he himself would direct. This film, beautifully photographed in eye-popping technicolor- all vibrant reds and oranges- by the great Mexican cameraman Gabriel Figueroa, is basically a two-character story echoing John Huston’s “The African Queen” and “Heaven Knows Mr. Allison.”

And just like Clint’s introduction sequence in “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”- where he’s seen saving Tuco from three bounty hunters, here too, the opening finds Clint saving a semi-naked Sara from three bandits who are trying to rape her. Clint guns down two of them, and when the third uses Sara as a shield, he coolly drops a lit grenade at his side; and then when he tries to run, Clint comes out of his hiding place and shoots him in the back and kills him. Then he nonchalantly walks down, pick up the grenade and diffuses it before it blows. Yup! just your cool and stylish “Man with no name”, right?. But unlike the “Dollars” films, Clint doesn’t turn and ride away after the killing is done; when he comes to know that Sara is a nun, he decides to escort her to safety before proceeding on his more mercenary pursuits. Just to give some context to the above events: the year is 1865, just after the civil war, Hogan, an American mercenary arrives in Mexico looking to make some quick money. Mexico, at this time, is engulfed in its own civil war; with the intervention of Napoleon III of France, Archduque Maximilian was installed as emperor in Mexico, but Mexican countrymen banded together under exiled president, Benito Juarez (known as Juaristas) and started fighting to rid the country of Frenchmen and their puppets. Sister Sara, presumably a nun, has adopted Juaristas’ cause and is being pursued by the French army for raising money for them. It is at this point in the story where the film opens, and we see her being attacked by bandits and Hogan saving her. As it so happens, Hogan himself is on his way to meet the revolutionaries-he has made a deal with them to attack the French garrison in Chihuahua on Bastille Day, in exchange for half the garrison’s treasury- and he agrees to take Sara to the Juaristas camp.

Soon, the French soldiers are after them, and though Hogan sets up a clever diversion, they cannot shake of the soldiers. Finally, they find safe haven in a ruined fort. At night, when Hogan is asleep, we find that Sara is smoking the left over of Hogan’s cigars and drinking whiskey on the sly- obviously, there’s more to this nun than we know (that’s if the sexy Shirley MacLaine with her prominent fake eyelashes hasn’t already given it away). As they continue on their journey, they get into further adventures; Sara’s mule becomes lame, and when it appears that Hogan has to leave her behind, a miracle happens, when she manages to trade her lame mule for a burro from a peasant. At a Mexican village, they get information that they’re to first destroy a French ammunition train. But on their way, they are attacked by Yaqui Indians, who seriously wound Hogan by shooting an arrow into his shoulder. Sister Sara uses the reflection off her cross to drive the superstitious Indians away. Hogan gets totally drunk to tolerate the pain while Sara digs around the shaft of the arrow and carves a groove in it so he can put gunpowder on it, fire it up, and push it out the back of his shoulder. The ‘operation’ completed successfully, they move on to blow up the train. Only problem is that Hogan is so drunk and delirious that he can neither climb the trestle to plant the dynamite on the pylons nor can he shoot at the charges to explode them. With great trepidation, Sara manages to climb the trestle and plant the dynamite. Come time to blow it up, Hogan can barely hold the gun, leave alone fire it accurately. The train is on its way, and Hogan keeps missing every shot, until Sara cusses and punches him down. Hogan recovers in the nick of time and manages to nail one stick of dynamite, and the entire structure collapses under the train. Hogan’s suspicions’ about the nun are now heightened- he had already caught her drinking whiskey – and he demands to know whether she has been cussing; Sarah transfers the blame on to his drinking, which is making him imagine things.

Finally, the reach the Juaristas camp, which is commanded by Col. Beltran (Manolo Fábregas). There, Hogan gets to see with his own eyes the plight of the poor peasants living in caves in the mountains. Since blowing up the French fort will require more dynamite, Hogan leaves for Texas to purchase them. Sara is waiting for him when he returns, and both of them, along with Beltran & his men, move towards the fort. They observe the g arrison from the top of a church adjacent to the fort, and they’re surprised to find that the the soldiers are on full alert; since it’s Bastille day they had expected them to be drunk, but the attack on the train had forewarned them of an impending attack. Now Sara takes them to another secret passage to get into the fort that is hidden under a whorehouse. The prostitutes there wholeheartedly welcomes Sara, and it dawns on a dumbfounded Hogan that Sara is doing a different kind of god’s work. Anyway, the two team up to devise a plan to storm the fort: a squad of revolutionaries will pass through the underground trapdoor, while two other squads attack the gates and a fourth act as snipers. Hogan and Sara infiltrate the fortress by Hogan posing as a bounty hunter who has captured Sara and is turning her in for the reward. The ruse works, Hogan and Sara engage the French commanding officers while the garrison’s gates are breached for the Mexican revolutionary forces to swarm through. The battle won, Hogan gets his half of the treasury as promised, and he and Sara once again embark on an adventurous journey, this time as man and wife.

MacLaine, being the quintessential New York stage actress, who worked based on the character’s motivations and such, clashed repeatedly with Siegel and Clint, who were the old-Hollywood pros, whose motto was “just do it”. MacLaine questioned every direction that Siegel gave her, and walked off the set if she did not get satisfactory answers, incurring the wrath of even an even-keeled Clint. But it did not affect their on-screen chemistry, even though i believe that the film would have been served better having an extroverted Elizabeth Taylor in the role; Taylor would have worked much better with Clint and Siegel. She is not as great an actress as MacLaine, so she may not have brought the layers that MacLaine brings to this role, but she definitely has the old-fashioned star wattage to match up to Clint, which MacLaine lacks. Also, both Clint and MacLaine being introverts and internalized actors, their chemistry never catches fire beyond a point. Clint needs someone to bring him out of his shell- like Meryl Streep does in “Bridges of Madison County”, and MacLaine, is much too self-absorbed to do that. Their scenes do not sparkle the way the scenes between Bogart and Hepburn does in “The African Queen”. Though individually, both of them give good performances, especially Clint, who I think is very good. In fact, I think it’s his best performance up to this point in his career. He had become extremely confident in his ability and it shows, he is more chatty than your usual ‘Eastwood cowboy’, and he exchanges some witty dialogue with MacLaine. And much of the humor in the film flows from all the comical frustration that Clint delivers, having to behave himself in the company of an attractive nun.

The scene where a drunk Hogan confesses his amorous feelings for the nun, when she’s trying to take the arrow out of his shoulder is Clint at his most funny and talky; the same with the latter scene at the train trestle, though here, it’s MacLaine who scores more than Clint in the comedy department: it’s tense and funny at the same time, with Clint’s Hogan unusually relaxed and confident from the drinking, and MacLaine as Sara having to juggle a lot of emotions in this particular sequence; the pressure of keeping up her masquerade; tackling the dangers involved in the moment; emphasizing the importance of the train destruction and her increasing tension in getting a useless Hogan to turn useful again as the train gets closer and closer. But despite the light hearted nature of the movie, Hogan is as deadly as any Eastwood cowboy- he is incredibly cool and macho in every frame of the movie and quite deadly with every kind of firearm. It’s one of the reasons why Boetticher hated this film; his conception of the lead character was more romantic and vulnerable and not the ‘Spaghetti cool’ Hogan that Clint plays in the film. Boetticher was also angry about the fact that “Sara not being a Nun” was revealed far too early in the film- in his original script, it’s revealed only in the film’s final scene. But one still feels Boetticher’s fingerprints on the film, particularly in the way a lean and clean Western narrative is build up in the backdrop of a harsh landscape using very limited number of characters with little exposition on their backgrounds. Siegel’s widescreen compositions are exquisitely beautiful and he keeps the action scrappy and pulpy. Siegel, who’s not much of a comedy director, does rather well with the scenes between Clint and MacLaine, but he’s better at shooting the action\adventure bits, especially the blowing up of the bridge and the climax sequence, which shows an incredible amount of blood & gore that’s not in keeping with the tone of the rest of the film.

But the most striking aspect of the film is a truly eccentric and inventive score by maestro Ennio Morricone. The film may not match up to any of Leone’s Westerns, but the score is every bit as good (if not better) than his scores for Leone. Orchestra, organ, guitar and choir meld in strikingly original fashion, expertly heightening, enriching and propelling the film’s varied tones. The film’s main theme that mixes nun’s choir singing- “… and lead us not into temptation.”- with electronic Mule brays is one of the most brilliant instances of using music to convey the story; the music- shifting from the divine to comic- perfectly reflecting a duplicitous Sara impersonating a nun and riding a mule. In fact, the whole title sequence- with that Morricone music throbbing on the soundtrack- that has Hogan riding his horse, and dragging a pack mule, across an arid Mexican landscape, burnished by a golden sun, and filled with scenes from nature and its animals is absolutely wonderful. Morricone also composes a marching theme very similar to the “Ecstasy of gold” theme from “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly”; here it appears in the scene where Hogan, Sara and the revolutionaries are climbing the steps of the church adjacent tot he fort. The musical themes from this film was used by Quentin Tarantino in his Western, “Django Unchained.” By the way, Shirley MacLaine gets top billing in the film’s credits- though Clint was billed above MacLaine in overseas territories keeping with the fact that he was the bigger star there. This was the last time Clint Eastwood received second billing (or anything less than first) until “A Perfect World” starring Kevin Costner, and the only time his leading lady was played by an A-list star until “The Bridges of Madison County”.

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Clint Eastwood

Clint Eastwood’s special dating history with Hollywood beauties .

Actor Clint Eastwood is one lucky guy! He’s dated a lot of gorgeous women in Hollywood, including his ex-wives Maggie Johnson and Dina Eastwood (née Ruiz). But no woman could ever make him feel as incredible as his current girlfriend, Christina Sandera, does.“He’s truly happy with her,” an insider exclusively told Closer Weekly in May 2020. “She’s fun, easygoing and his kids like her too. She’s on an even keel like he is.”

Christina came into the Gran Torino star’s life after Dina filed for divorce from Clint in October 2013. Two months after she sent in the paperwork, the reporter went on Bethenny Frankel’s former eponymous TV show to dish about her separation.“I don’t’ think we will be getting back together,” Dina said at the time. “That is why I filed for divorce. I think maybe a part of me was holding out, like ‘What are we doing here?’

Then there have been some definite signs that we’re not going to get back together so let’s move on amicably is my opinion, but I think there is a mental chokehold on you when you don’t have something in place that shows you are definitely apart.”Although the pair decided to call it quits, Dina explained she has no bad feelings towards Clint. In fact, she said he’s “probably the sweetest guy” she’s ever met. “He is a loving, kind, low-key person, so my intuition was still great on marrying a good person,” the journalist gushed.

By December 2014, Clint and Dina’s divorce was finalized. The Dirty Harry star moved on with Christina and they made their first red carpet appearance together at t he 2015 Oscars. It wasn’t long until the Academy Award winner moved his beloved into the same Carmel, California, home he used to share with Dina.“The first time I saw the place I thought it was terrific,” Clint gushed to Architectural Digest about his beautiful estate in August 2016. “Visually it was something else, and I thought it was the place I’d like to call home.”

Maggie Johnson : Maggie is Clint’s first wife. In 1953, they tied the knot and welcomed two kids together: daughter Alison Eastwood and son Kyle Eastwood. The two lovebirds stayed together for 31 years until they got divorced in 1984.//Roxanne Tunis : In 1959, Clint romanced stuntwoman Roxanne after they met on the set of the western TV show Rawhide. In June 1964, their daughter Kimber arrived in the world.

Sondra Locke : Sondra was in a relationship with Clint in the 1970s. The two actors have starred in many movies together such as The Outlaw Josey Wales, The Gauntlet and Sudden Impact. She died in November 2018 from cardiac arrest. // Jacelyn Reeves : Jacelyn and Clint had a brief fling in 1984. The duo are proud parents to their two kids — Scott Eastwood and Kathryn Eastwood.

Frances Fisher : Clint and Frances were dating from 1990 to 1995. In August 1993, they welcomed daughter Francesca Eastwood into the world. //Dina Ruiz : Clint and Dina were married from 1996 to 2014, and during that time, the couple welcomed a beautiful daughter named Morgan. After they got divorced, Dina went on to marry former basketball player Scott Fisher in 2016.///Erica Tomlinson-Fisher : Although there are no photos of Erica, the Mule star briefly dated her when he broke off his marriage to Dina, per reports. However, their love didn’t last long because Clint settled down with Christina shortly after.

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Clint Eastwood

Why Tom Hanks likens the Clint Eastwood style to entwined horses ?

Veteran actor Tom Hanks has likened Clint Eastwood’s directorial style to wrangling animals. Hanks worked with Eastwood for the first time on Sully, the story of a real-life feat of heroism in which his character, Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, safely landed an endangered plane New York’s Hudson river in 2009.

Hanks told the Graham Norton Show: “You certainly don’t want one of those Eastwood looks. “He treats his actors like horses because when he did the 60s series Rawhide, the director would shout ‘Action!’ and all the horses bolted. So when he’s in charge, he says in a really quiet soft voice, ‘All right, go ahead,’ and instead of shouting ‘Cut!’ he says ‘That’s enough of that.’ It’s intimidating as hell!”

Hanks also said that the real Sullenberger made for a strong presence on set, even criticizing Eastwood for his lack of punctuality when he was 20 minutes late. “Sully was very particular about how we portrayed the procedure and the emotions,” said Hanks. “He pulled out this dog-eared, stapled and notated script that he had read. Postits, stapled index cards all over it – I’m sure his wife had even written ‘No’ across it in lipstick! We went through every page and every moment, every beat had been commented on. He had opinions.”

Hanks and Eastwood campaigned for different sides during the recent US presidential campaign. The actor – who was even mooted by documentary-maker Michael Moore as a future Democrat candidate – was a vocal supporter of Hillary Clinton, frequently speaking of his lack of faith in her rival, Donald Trump, whom he described as a “self-involved” gas bags”.

Eastwood, meanwhile, came out for Trump in August, saying the Republican was “on to something, because everybody’s secretly getting tired of political correctness”. “That’s the kiss-ass generation we’re in right now,” he said. “We’re really in a pussy generation.” Eastwood also said he thought a lot of the backlash to Trump was misplaced.

“We see people people of being racist and all kinds of stuff. When I grew up, those things weren’t called racist. “Everybody, the press and everybody’s going, ‘Oh, well, that’s racist’ and they’re making a big hoodoo out of it. Just fucking get over it. It’s a sad time in history.”Following Trump’s earlier , Hanks election to reassure his fellow Clinton supporters about the future. “We are going to be all right,” he told an audience in New York. “We will move forward, because if we do not move forward, what is to be said about us?”

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Clint Eastwood

What are the highlights of Clint Eastwood’s career journey spans 50 years?

As Clint Eastwood enters his eighth decade in the movies, WarnerMedia and Warner Bros. are celebrating the actor/producer/filmmaker with a series of initiatives, including Blu-ray and digital releases, a nine-episode docuseries, an HBO Max spotlight page, a curated exhibit of props and costumes spanning his 50-year association with Warner Bros.,

A theatrical re-release of select Eastwood films, and Clint Eastwood programming on Turner Classic Movies (TCM).This year marks the 50th year of Eastwood’s partnership with Warner Bros. (“Dirty Harry”). Eastwood’s most recent film Cry Macho was released theatrically and on HBO Max on Sept. 17.

From Sept. 9 through Oct. 31, HBO Max will launch a spotlight page featuring select Clint Eastwood films, including the recently-released Cry Macho and seven episodes of the “Clint Eastwood — A Cinematic Legacy” docuseries.WarnerMedia will launch “Clint Eastwood — A Cinematic Legacy” in Dallas, an exhibition of props and costumes from 50 years of filmmaking at Warner Bros. along with memorabilia from Clint Eastwood’s personal collection.

Items include the Gran Torino car from the 2008 film Gran Torino, boxing gloves from 2004’s Million Dollar Baby, Bradley Cooper’s costume from 2014’s American Sniper, the saxophone from 1988’s Bird, Clint Eastwood’s director’s chair, and more.  The exhibition runs from Oct. 6 until Nov. 29 at the AT&T Global Headquarters Showcase in Dallas.Oct. 16 and Oct. 23, Turner Classic Movies (TCM) will air Clint Eastwood programming including feature films and two episodes of the docuseries per night.

This fall, CNN will feature editorial content highlighting Eastwood’s career and the docuseries.Also this fall, in select theaters, Warner Bros. will re-release six of Eastwood’s classic films theatrically, each one paired with an episode from the docuseries that highlights the feature film. The films include American Sniper, Gran Torino, Dirty Harry, The Outlaw Josey Wales, Unforgiven and The Bridges of Madison County.

The “Clint Eastwood – A Cinematic Legacy” docuseries will be available digitally and will also be available in select Blu-ray collections, including:“Clint Eastwood 50th MGM 4-Film Collection” (A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, Hang ‘Em High)“Clint Eastwood 50th 5-Film Collection” (Dirty Harry, Magnum Force, The Enforcer, Sudden Impact, The Dead Pool)“Clint Eastwood 50th 4-Film Collection” (The Mule, Gran Torino, American Sniper, Sully)“Clint Eastwood 50th 2-Film Collection” (The Outlaw Josey Wales, Pale Rider)“Clint Eastwood 50th 10-Film Collection” (Kelly’s Heroes, Where Eagles Dare, The Outlaw Josey Wales, Pale Rider, Heartbreak Ridge, Unforgiven, Dirty Harry, City Heat, Gran Torino, American Sniper)

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