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Clint Eastwood

50 years of ‘Dirty Harry’: Clint Eastwood’s genre-defining role

“Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?’” – Harry (Dirty Harry)

After he established himself as the ‘man with no name’ in the western classics of Sergio Leone, Hollywood icon Clint Eastwood set about making a name for himself in the contemporary sphere as the industry ramped up in the late 20th century. Casting his dusty, western aesthetic aside for a new sharp, suited persona, Eastwood became Dirty Harry in 1971, a role that would help to define the actor’s later career.

The action-thriller, neo-noir from Invaders of the Body Snatchers filmmaker Don Siegel sees Eastwood star as a San Francisco Police Inspector who is assigned to take down a crazed psychopath named ‘the Scorpio Killer’. It’s a stylish action vehicle for the lead icon, sporting a smart suit, wicked grimace and the evocative double-action Smith & Wesson Model 29, 44-cal. Magnum revolver.

Originally intended as a role for the influential singer and actor Frank Sinatra, once he decided against the project the film’s producers began to look for a younger actor to play the role. With the likes of Burt Lancaster, Steve McQueen and Paul Newman each turning down the role, the latter suggested that the crew consider Eastwood for the part, with the iconic western star eager to come on board.

Passed through a number of hands, it’s remarkable that the film’s final script has even a semblance of continuity with six different writers each having their own input on the project, including the Badlands director Terrence Malick. In addition to Malick, the pioneering writer of Apocalypse Now, John Milius, also had a hand in penning the script, telling Film Comment in 1976 that his main contribution to the film was “a lot of guns. And the attitude of Dirty Harry, being a cop who was ruthless…I was thinking in terms of Kurosawa’s detective films”.

Despite the many cooks that contributed to the boiling broth of Dirty Harry, it is Clint Eastwood as the titular badass who helps to pull the film together dominating the streets as a ruthless processor to Judge Dredd. Almost constantly suited, ready for both a board meeting and shootout, Eastwood’s enigmatic character seems inspired by the meandering individuals of the films of Wim Wenders with the merciless morals of his Sergio Leone identity.

Spawning four sequels released throughout the 1970s and ‘80s, Dirty Harry quickly became a figure of popular culture and helped to elevate Clint Eastwood above his stereotype of a wandering star of western cinema. From one stereotype to another, Eastwood indeed became the blueprint of every hardened cop in film and television, with his highly-strung mentality inspiring the likes of Roger Murtaugh in Lethal Weapon, Frank in Serpico and even Marty Hart in HBO’s True Detective.

50 years after the release of the influential crime classic, the film remains a cultural milestone in action filmmaking and dirty Harry Callahan continues to be remembered as a figure of great inspiration for the genre to come.

Clint Eastwood

“I don’t like it when it’s dumb”: Yellowstone Star Kevin Costner Revealed He Hates Western Genre Despite Sharing Clint Eastwood’s Rare Record In Hollywood

Taking a look at the rear-view mirror in the journey of Hollywood, everyone remembers the good old days when Western films dominated not just the US, but the entire world. And leading that charge was the legendary Clint Eastwood, along with stars like Kevin Costner following close behind. To this day, the effect of those classic pieces of cinema can be felt.
Kevin Costner

Kevin Costner
In fact, when we take a look at Costner’s career in the industry, many will realize that it was the 1985 Western classic Silverado that brought him to the spotlight. In the later stage of his career, he won two Academy Awards for his film Dances with Wolves, something that Eastwood has also managed to achieve. But despite leaving an everlasting impression, it seems like he doesn’t love the genre for being dumb.
Kevin Costner Reveals That He Doesn’t Love The Western Genre Because It’s Dumb
Kevin Costner in a still from Dances with Wolves Kevin Costner in a still from Dances with Wolves
While he may have been forgotten for a while in the changing landscape of Hollywood, the fans of the classic Western genre of films will never forget the impact Kevin Costner made with his films in the category. Going toe-to-toe in this genre with the face of old-school Western films Clint Eastwood himself, the actor and director has proved why he’s a genius in this department.
But despite achieving the extremely rare accolade of directing one of the only four Western films to receive the Oscars, also including Unforgiven by the Dirty Harry star, Costner reveals that this genre may not be his favorite.
In a past interview with Good Morning America, the former Yellowstone star talked about how he was not a big fan of the Western genre, the reason being that most of the films produced in it are dumb and illogical. He says that there’s too much of a straight divide between good and bad without any substantial form of moral complexity.
On top of that, he calls out the genre for being somewhat illiterate but has the potential to become so much more than just an illustrious piece of history. He said:
“[western] have to be literate. It’s too much black hat, white hat…I won’t tolerate bad language, meaning literacy of a western on TV or in film. I hate it. I don’t like it when it’s dumb because there’s such great opportunity because the architecture of a western should be to actually frighten you sitting in the dark, watching something. ‘That could have just happened to me. And I don’t know what I would’ve done’”
Thus, his new and unique outlook on the filmmaking of a Western film is what drives him to only make the best that the genre has ever seen.
What Was Dances With Wolves About?
A still from Dances with Wolves A still from Dances with Wolves
Widely considered to be one of the best films in the history of this genre, recognized by being awarded two Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Director for Costner, Dances with Wolves may be Western filmmaking done right.
The film tells the tale of Civil War soldier Lieutenant John J. Dunbar, a man who is posted at Fort Hays, where he meets and develops a relationship with the native Lakota Indian tribe. Mesmerized by their lifestyle and simple outlook on the world, he soon finds himself being welcomed into their clan. But when Union Army soldiers come to their land with the agenda of uprooting the tribe, Dunbar has to choose a side.
Dances with Wolves, streaming on Prime Video.

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Clint Eastwood

“He was too expensive”: Clint Eastwood Starred in ‘Dollars Trilogy’ After Director Couldn’t Afford Another Oscar Winning Actor With $15000 Salary

In today’s day and age, Clint Eastwood’s name is one that echoes with terms such as legendary and brilliant. His ability to be expressive as an actor without having to say too many dialogues was one admired by many. Not only his skills as an actor, but being a talented director helped build his reputation in the best way possible.
Clint Eastwood in The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1966)

Clint Eastwood in The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1966)
During his days as an actor, there were many films offered to him. Some he let go of, others he grabbed as soon as he could. One of his most iconic works is the Dollars Trilogy with director Sergio Leone. Despite the massive amount of fame that he got from it, there was an unfortunate yet slight chance that Eastwood would have lost out on the role because Leone wanted another actor altogether.
Sergio Leone’s Initial Choice for His Trilogy was not Clint Eastwood
One of Clint Eastwood’s biggest movie trilogies, the Dollars trilogy was something that came along his career, giving him a boost the actor never knew he needed. The year 1964 saw a rise in his fame from then on. However, as per BBC (via Farout Magazine), Eastwood was not Sergio Leone’s first choice for the film.
James Coburn
“I really wanted James Coburn, but he was too expensive,” Leone stated. “The Italian cinema is very poor. We got Clint for $15,000, Coburn wanted $25,000.”
The director revealed that because of the budgetary limitations that they had, there was no way possible for him to get James Coburn for the role. The actor wanted $10,000 more than what Eastwood had settled on, making it an absolutely impossible choice for them to hire Coburn. He elaborated on how being in the Italian cinema at that time did not give him flexibility with the budget. Due to this, Eastwood became his ideal choice and that in turn benefitted his career.
Clint Eastwood Almost did not Join Sergio Leone
Clint Eastwood’s career has been a rising climb for decades now. One of the reasons for this is his credible fame because of the Dollars trilogy. However, there was a slight chance that the actor would have given up on the role. According to a BBC documentary (via Farout Magazine), the actor was hesitant about saying yes.
Clint EastwoodClint Eastwood
 “I was doing Rawhide, and I was coming to a hiatus,” Eastwood remembered. “I took three months off, usually around February, March and April every year, and my agent in Los Angeles called me up and asked me if I’d like to go to Europe and make an Italian, German, Spanish co-production of a remake of a Japanese film [Yojimbo] in the plains of Spain.”
The actor/director stated that he was asked to make a film in a rather peculiar setting right after he was coming back from a three-month-long break. His reply to the same had been a rejection. In the end, he warmed up to the idea.

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Clint Eastwood

“I got to take her, and I still remember that”: Clint Eastwood Had A Personal Reason To Cherish His Oscar Win Despite His Anti-Semitic Comments Against Academy

Clint Eastwood is a legendary figure in Hollywood, not only because of acting prowess but also because he is a brilliant storyteller. From countless nominations to multiple wins, the Dirty Harry star has had enough accolades to his name, proving that he is every bit deserving of the fame he has received all these years. However, despite his immense fame, the actor has said some very concerning things in the past.
Clint Eastwood

Clint Eastwood
Years ago he had made some alleged antisemitic remarks about the Academy Awards committee but when he won his first Oscar, the actor-director accepted and enjoyed the experience for a very personal reason.
Clint Eastwood’s Reason For Cherishing His First Oscar
eastwood with his late motherEastwood with his late mother
Also Read:  “He was too expensive”: Clint Eastwood Starred in ‘Dollars Trilogy’ After Director Couldn’t Afford Another Oscar-Winning Actor With $15000 Salary
It has been decades since Clint Eastwood made his debut in Hollywood and ever since then he has been unstoppable. A recipient of numerous accolades and maker of multiple successful movies, the actor-director once had expressed his reservations about Academy Awards, even before he won his first-ever nomination.
While certain people labeled him as anti-semitic because of his Academy-related comments, he went on to get his first-ever nomination just sometime later at the age of 62. It was his movie Unforgiven that gave him an Oscar each for Best Picture and Best Director and a nomination for Best Actor.
Despite his earlier comments, the actor enjoyed his first nomination and win for a very personal reason which was being able to take his mother Ruth Wood to the ceremony (via Parade).
“It was nice, I guess. The nicest thing was that I got to take my mother to the Oscars. I’d been successful as a movie director and actor but not as successful in that kind of hoopla. So that was fun. I got to take her, and I still remember that. The trophies are tucked away in the house somewhere.”
Stated the director when asked if he even cared at that point about awards like the Oscars for he was already a pretty successful filmmaker at that point.
What Alleged Anti-Semitic Comments Did Clint Eastwood Make?
Clint Eastwood in UnforgivenClint Eastwood in Unforgiven
Clint Eastwood was 62 when he received his first Oscar nomination. Even though he lacked an Academy Award before, he was already a successful filmmaker and actor, having acted and directed several fan-loved movies.
However, before he ever won or was nominated for an Oscar, the actor was said to have stated in the book Clint: The Life and Legend of Clint Eastwood, a biography of his life written by Patrick McGilligan,
“I will never win an Oscar and do you know why? First of all, because I’m not Jewish. Secondly, because I make too much money for those old farts in the Academy. Thirdly, and most importantly, because I don’t give a f**k.”
His comments were understood by many as anti-semitic. However, things began to change for soon he went on to earn multiple Oscar nominations in the subsequent years after his first win with Unforgiven.
Unforgiven can be streamed on HBO Max.

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