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Final Eastwood Thoughts
Thu Feb 22, 2018 1:34am

Hi DC--

I only happened by THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY as it was in a stack of novels I had acquired--this was when I was a teenager, and at the time I was a voracious reader; it was there, I had the time, and the studio had just announced that Clint was adapting it for the silver screen. It is what it is--a decently done Nicholas Sparks tearjerker. I like a variety of genres. Anyway, I agree--this is not one of Clint's greatest pictures; it did stick out, however, as the role was very atypical for Clint, and he turned in a solid performance in a genre very different from his usual work. As for Meryl...well, outside of a few films, I never really understood what the big deal was with her, and I'll leave that at that--it was Clint's quiet, low-key, GENTLE approach that startled in a good way.

Yes, that phenomenon is exclusive to Clint's more recent directorial work. The films that suffer from this languid-to-a-fault pacing:

1. MYSTIC RIVER, 2003.
2. CHANGELING, 2008.
3. INVICTUS, 2009.

Guess we'll have to disagree on that matter. Clint does NOTHING for me as a comedic actor, but let me reemphasize: this is not an insult, or a bad thing. I admire the man for attempting to branch out--as Lee did--but I just prefer him in his "signature" style in those harder roles. Regarding Lee: the same line of thought applies here. EL CONDOR, SABATA, and CAPTAIN APACHE just DO NOT work for me--but that's a personal preference. Just as you'd never catch Neil Young sporting an Armani suit, so I believe my L.V.C. is best served as tough, hard, deadly serious persona and character. :)

Clint, as you already probably know, was fortunate to have been given a good bit of freedom with regard to choosing projects in his collaborations with Warner Brothers, and I believe this was for two reasons: one, his films were always shot on schedule or finished before Due Date; and two, his films generated serious $$$ at the box office. I can't think of any other actor/director who's had such autonomy in this capacity. This highlights one of his strengths: the man was always good at selecting quality projects.

Oh yes--THE GAUNTLET is another one of his most underrated pictures. You meet Shockley stumbling out of a low-rent Phoenix dive bar (Cocktail Lounge! Ha!) at the break of day and climbing into a beat-up 74 Plymouth Satellite. You think: "Dirty Harry!" Guy looks like D.H., talks like D.H., walks like D.H.--but he sure as hell ISN'T Dirty Harry. The thing is: I don't consider this a comedy film. The late 70s were an interesting time for his as he did pick odd but high quality projects--I tend to think more of them as "slice-of-life" type affairs of downtrodden, lower economic class people with a myriad of funky quirks thrown in. As for Sondra: don't get me wrong--an Oscar winner she'll never be, but I feel she pulled off the shrill and brassy Gus Malley very well. I can't imagine what a disaster it'd have turned into had Streisand had played that part. Also, that great motorcycle/helicopter chase sequence was outstanding--and it still holds up to this day. "It's been a few years, but, we'll fake it."--Ben Shockley ;)

Yes, I've heard that THE ENFORCER was supposed to be the final picture in what was planned as a trilogy for the gruff San Francisco Police Inspector, and it's a shame it did not play out as such. One note on THE ENFORCER: the Harry Callahan character has some of his best lines in that film. "Hypothetical situation, huh? Alright: I'm standing on the street corner, and Mrs. Grey there comes up and propositions me: says that if I take her home for $5, she'll put on an exhibition with a Shetland pony." Classic! SUDDEN IMPACT isn't without its charms--it has a strong revenge story, and it has some particularly nasty and memorable villains--Paul Drake as the vile "Mick the Rapist." That being said, Lalo Schifrin's ordinarily awesome score was destroyed by the introduction of that hideous early 80s synthesizer, that antiseptic early 80s feel to films made during that period, and Sondra Locke being cast as the vigilante-on-a-mission--another actress should've been used here. My longtime thought is that SUDDEN IMPACT would've come off much better had it been shot five or six years prior to 83. Last thought on SUDDEN IMPACT: I get the "beyond ridiculous weaponry" element at play there, and no police officer would EVER walk the streets with a handcannon, but I do like the introduction of the long-barreled A.M.T. .44 AutoMag. At least they made it somewhat plausible: Harry loses his famous S&W Model 29 in the Pacific, and we can't have him wasting bad guys with a snubnose .38, can we?! ;)

You have excellent taste. THUNDERBOLT & LIGHTFOOT is one of his greatest works, and it's sad that it doesn't get the attention it deserves. Agreed on all points there--he turned in his best performance as an actor in that film. One note on that: although Michael Cimino is credited as director on that project, I have a strong suspicion he was director in name only; that was Clint's show ALL THE WAY.

Back to L.V.C.!


  • Clint, reduxDCG, Wed Feb 21 6:35am
    Not a lot to add, amigo --- you pretty much covered it! ;) But I'll try... Never read BRIDGES/MC, and only saw the film a few years after it debuted. For whatever reason, it just didn't interest me... more
    • Final Eastwood Thoughts — TheBad7, Thu Feb 22 1:34am
    • "That's you! You're The Thunderbolt!"TheBad7, Wed Feb 21 8:06am
      No need for further explanation on THUNDERBOLT & LIGHTFOOT--it's in my Top Three for Eastwood pictures. He and Jeff Bridges should've both scored Oscars for their work in that film--you could even... more
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