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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”.

Clint Eastwood

Shyam Benegal: ‘You Don’t Have To Give The Audience What They Want; You Have To Create Something New…”

Circa 50 years ago, Shyam Benegal was in the vanguard of the offbeat cinema movement with path-breaking 1970s films such as Ankur (Shabana Azmi, Anant Nag), Nishant (Girish Karnad, Shabana Azmi, Naseeruddin Shah), Manthan (Smita Patil, Girish Karnad) and Bhumika (Smita Patil, Amol Palekar). Benegal’s filmmaking, though, started even earlier. He reminds us, “My career didn’t start with feature films. I have made several documentaries before and since that were very satisfying too.” And of course he went on to helm the seminal TV show Bharat Ek Khoj.In his late 80s now, Benegal is still in the thick of things. Mention his latest film, Mujib: The Making Of A Nation, and he quips, “That has been completed and released.” He is immersed in the present, where the current mood of cinema, especially OTT, is in alignment with the temperament of this forward-thinking filmmaker.
Excerpts from the interview
It is amazing that filmmakers like Clint Eastwood, Martin Scorcese and you continue to make films even after crossing 80. Would you say the creative impulse is as strong even now as it was 50 years ago when you made Ankur?
I am 89 years old now, and Clint Eastwood is 93. The fact that Clint Eastwood continues to make films at his age inspires me too. The creative urge is still strong within me. I’m a filmmaker and I am still driven by the desire to make films. And that is why I still make cinema. I haven’t been well over the last few years … it comes with old age (said dryly). I have to undergo dialysis almost every second day. But, despite all that, I can’t retire.
Zubeidaa

Zubeidaa |

Your latest film Mujib: The Making Of A Nation has just been released. What gripped you about the subject?
He is the man who paved the way for the creation of Bangladesh. I found his story intriguing and I think it made for interesting cinema.
Ankur Ankur |

What challenges did you face while making the film, especially bilingual?
Every film I have made has presented its own set of challenges. This film was made in Bengali but the Bengali spoken in the eastern parts is different from the language spoken in West Bengal. In fact, within Bangladesh itself, the Bangla in Dhaka is different from the dialect in Chittagong. Thanks to the literature I had read and the music I have heard,  I was aware of the culture this side of the border, but I had to familiarise myself with the milieu of the east for the film.
You have made several biographies earlier like Bhumika, Sardar Begum, Zubeidaa and films on Gandhi, Bose and now Sheikh Mujibur Rehman. As a filmmaker, is it possible to be objective about your subject?
I make these films because I admire these people, but as a filmmaker I have to be objective. However, one’s objectivity is limited by one’s perception of these people. Every filmmaker has his own viewpoint, his perception. They are fascinating characters… How you present them cinematically depends on your sensibility and sensitivity.
It is now 50 years since you made your first feature film Ankur (1973). Has it been a satisfying journey creatively?
No and yes. Every person strives for perfection but that is not always possible so one has to keep striving, and find satisfaction in the creative process. I have enjoyed experimenting with varied themes … from serious films to Mandi which was a comedy on the subject of prostitution.
MujubMujub |

You have made 24 feature films in these five decades, what are your three best films?
That is not possible for me because when I look back I notice flaws in my films. It’s also a matter of opinion. Many people, including me, would say that Pather Panchali is Satyajit Ray’s best film but he himself thought that Charulata was his most refined work.
You followed Ankur with critical triumphs like Nishant, Manthan, Bhumika and Junoon. This string of 1970s films can be credited with starting the art film movement in Hindi cinema. Your thoughts.
I have been a part of the art film movement but there were so many other directors who were making these kinds of films — Ritwik Ghatak, Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Mrinal Sen, Satyajit Ray, M S Sathyu, Govind Nihalani and others.
You have been a part of Indian cinema for 50 years, would you say it has changed for the better?
Technologically, the equipment available nowadays for lighting, editing and shooting is tremendous and they are able to shoot much faster. In comparison, the techniques we had were very primitive. Thematically too, cinema is bound to change because it have to keep up with the times. You don’t have to give the audience what they what, you have to create something new that they did not know they wanted.

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Clint Eastwood

10 forgotten Clint Eastwood films that few remember

To speak of Clint Eastwood is to allude to one of the most important actors and directors in Hollywood who, incidentally, took time to be mayor of the town of Carmel-by-the-Sea.
With more than 70 credits in his career, just as an actor, we tend to be clear about which Clint Eastwood masterpieces to evoke when we talk about his career.
Movies like The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, No forgiveness, Dirty Harry o Million Dollar Baby They are essential stops in his filmography, not to mention legendary ones like The iron sergeant o Gran Torino.
But today, in HobbyCine de Hobby Consolas, we will talk about 10 Clint Eastwood films that are usually forgotten by a large part of the public.
On the tightrope
On the Tightrope (1984)


Let’s start with one of the best eighties thrillers that Clint Eastwood starred in in the eighties: On the tightrope.
He actor Californian has starred in many thrillers throughout his career and, for some reason, this film with psychological overtones is not usually one of the first to come to fans’ minds.
Eastwood plays Wes Block, a New Orleans detective investigating a serial rapist and killer wreaking havoc on the city.
Soon, he discovers that he and the murderer have several sinister points in common, bringing to the surface fears that he thought buried forever.
The blacklist
The Blacklist (1988)
In 1988, Clint Eastwood played for the last time Harry Callahanthe always controversial Dirty Harry, in The blacklist.
For some, the weakest of the saga, for others, as good as the first. Be that as it may, the movie directed by Buddy Van Horn It is not the first that comes to mind when talking about the most scoundrel police officer that the actor has ever starred in.
Of course, some of us still look askance at remote-controlled cars when we see them on the street, lest it be…
A haul of $500,000
A $500,000 Loot (1974)
Eastwood’s career also took its time in heist films and buddy movies, and one of his seventies films was A haul of $500,000.
The movie of Michael Cimino paired Clint Eastwood with Jeff Bridges to plan and carry out a robbery of the supposedly impregnable Bank of Montana.
“Lightning”‘s (Eastwood) former partners form an uneasy alliance with them that could be more problematic than beneficial.
A $500,000 Loot is a great film that, despite all the technological advances, has aged quite well, being released in 1974.
The seducer
The Seducer (1971)
We cannot forget the heartthrob Clint Eastwood: to think that the actor only plays tough guys who would crack you like a nut for looking at them wrong would be unfair.
The seducer It takes us to the American Civil War, where the actor plays a northern soldier wounded in combat who is rescued by a young woman from a girls’ school.
After taking him to school, when the soldier recovers, he becomes a conqueror who drives everyone crazy, and by crazy we mean that the school becomes the headquarters of Celos International.
Alcatraz escape
Escape from Alcatraz (1979)
Don Siegel and Clint Eastwood have collaborated on numerous occasions throughout their respective careers. In 1979, director and actor signed Alcatraz escape.
See if we tend to forget this film, consolega, that even a certain editor of this website – yours truly – forgot about it when writing a news story about The Rock and stating that Sean Connery He was the first to escape from prison.
The best prison series: Vis a vis, Wentworth, Prison Break...
Clint Eastwood plays a tremendously insightful and intelligent inmate who has had enough of the prison system after several successful escapes.
In the end they intern him in the maximum security prison of Alcatraz, in San Francisco Bay, daring him to escape from where no one has managed to escape. A challenge that he gladly accepted.
Two mules and a woman
Two Mules and a Woman (1970)
In fact, Don Siegel was also in the director’s chair of Two mules and a womanone of Clint Eastwood’s westerns that we most often overlook.
Nor is it a bad film if there is a logical reason for it to be an unnoticed Western, but other films by the actor, such as The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, The Legend of the Nameless City, Death Had a Price or A Fistful of Dollarsthey tend to overshadow it.
License to kill
License to Kill (1975)
In addition to sharing a title with one of the James Bond films, although the 007 film came almost three decades later, License to kill was one of Clint Eastwood’s first films as an actor and director.
Released in 1975, this thriller uses the trope of the protagonist who reaches a dark past that he thought he had left behind.
Eastwood plays a former hitman who worked for an international organization.
Although he is retired, he is blackmailed and ordered to kill one of the three people trying to summit the Eiger in the Swiss Alps.
A perfect world
A Perfect World (1993)
A perfect world is a film that had the bad luck to see the light of day a year after Unforgiven and, in many ways, is overshadowed even by In the line of firealso released in 1993.
This road movie with a sixties setting puts Clint Eastwood in the shoes of a Texas ranger in charge of hunting down fugitives who have kidnapped a child during their escape.
suicide route
Suicide Route (1977)
Among Clint Eastwood’s police thrillers in the seventies, we also find the frequently forgotten Suicide Route.
The actor plays an alcoholic police officer who has the mission of escorting a prostitute from Las Vegas to Phoenix, although the obstacles they will encounter to prevent the witness from giving a statement will be constant.
Space Cowboys
Space Cowboys (2000)
More than forgotten, Space Cowboys It is usually vilified without much reason, since it is a very entertaining product without being, by any means, the best thing that Clint Eastwood has done.
The actor and director surrounds himself with some of the biggest names in Hollywood who have been sporting gray hair for decades for one last rodeo, yes, in orbit.
When a Russian satellite leaves its orbit, the creator of its systems is tasked with repairing it, but he will only go into orbit in the company of the companions he was able to fly with in the past.
None of the Clint Eastwood films that we have mentioned today are bad, far from it, but they are works that tend to be buried in that ocean of masterpieces that the actor and director has left behind throughout his many decades in the industry.

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Clint Eastwood

Clint Eastwood wanted to do a stunt aged 90, and no one could stop him

We’d never want to disagree with Clint Eastwood. If he said jump, we’d ask how high, and if he demanded we let him ride a horse in his 10th decade on Earth, then we’d be powerless to resist the great man’s equine ambitions.
That’s exactly what happened during the production of Clint Eastwood‘s most recent movie as director, Cry Macho. The remarkable commitment and efficiency that keeps new movies coming from Eastwood also meant that he wanted to ride a horse himself in the film, despite the fact he’d recently celebrated his 90th birthday and hadn’t ridden since making Unforgiven – still one of the best Westerns ever made – in the early 1990s.
“The wrangler was worried,” Eastwood explained to the LA Times. “She was saying: ‘Be careful, be careful now’. She was scared I’d end up on my rear end. But if you treat the horse like a buddy, he’ll take care of you.”
The horse wasn’t even the only stunt Eastwood volunteered to do himself. He was swinging his fists about too, throwing a punch in one particular confrontation. “It might not be as good as I’ve thrown in the past but it was fun to do it,” said Eastwood.
You can see Eastwood getting back in the saddle in this behind-the-scenes video from the set of the movie.
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Cry Macho filmed in late-2020, just after Hollywood had begun production in the wake of the pandemic shutdown. Eastwood had been trying to adapt N. Richard Nash’s 1975 novel for decades and finally decided to take on the lead role as a former rodeo rider tasked with bringing a young boy back to his father.
The stars aligned for Eastwood this time, decades after he was first approached with the story in the 1980s. At the time, he offered to direct, but declared they should get an older actor for the lead role. Later versions of the project could have starred Arnold Schwarzenegger – a very different take, but one we’d love to see – before it eventually came full circle back to Eastwood.
In that LA Times interview, Eastwood explained that he still loves being one of Hollywood’s best directors, but is considering hanging up his acting boots. “I’ve gotten to the point where I wondered if that was enough, but not to the point where I decided it was. If you roll out a few turkeys, they’ll tell you soon enough,” he said.
Clint Eastwood was 90 when he starred in Cry Macho
We think Eastwood still has a lot to offer on both sides of the camera, even at this stage of his illustrious career. He’s not up to the high watermark of the best movies in his career these days, but he’s delivering some very solid work in films like Cry Macho and The Mule. If he doesn’t want to slow down, he shouldn’t.
Eastwood has suggested that his upcoming movie Juror No. 2 might be his last but, if we know Clint, he won’t be able to resist working for as long as his health allows.
For more of the great man’s cinematic legacy, find out our picks for the best Clint Eastwood movies and learn why Clint Eastwood rejected a “grim” Dirty Harry role. Finally, delve back into the archives to find out why Clint Eastwood almost quit acting after one of his worst movies.

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