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Clint Eastwood: A Biography Paperback – October 21, 1997


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 570 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; 1st Edition Uk Pbk edition (October 21, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679749918
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679749912
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 1.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #793,332 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Schickel, a movie critic for Time magazine, surveys the life and career of Hollywood's laconic macho superstar. Eastwood's career has slowly developed: television success in Rawhide; his icon-defining role as the nameless gunslinger in Sergio Leone's spaghetti Westerns; movie superstardom with the Dirty Harry series; then a softening, and even some intellectual respectability, with his Oscar for directing Unforgiven. Shickel chronicles Eastwood's middle-class upbringing in Oakland, California, details a personal life that included a drive to bed many women, and recasts Eastwood from his role as the male equivalent of the "dumb blonde" to that of "one of the great ironists of the age." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

The career of actor and filmmaker Clint Eastwood has been one of the most unusual in cinema history. Starting out as a bit player in such 1950s films as The Return of the Creature and Tarantula, and then as a young hunk in the TV series Rawhide, Eastwood hurtled to international fame in 1964 by starring in an Italian western made in Spain, Sergio Leone's A Fistful of Dollars. It took Eastwood another 20 years, however, to begin to win over critics. His ascent from critical contempt to adulation, even as he has remained enormously popular with fans, forms the heart of this superb biography. Schickel (Brando), a film critic for Time magazine, is a friend of Eastwood's, but this privilege doesn't blinker his critical eye. The actor's personal life is evoked in telling detail, and Eastwood's relentless womanizing isn't whitewashed. The core of the book, though, is Schickel's passionate defense of Eastwood as actor and director; in fact, he makes a convincing case for Eastwood as one of the most important and influential filmmakers of his generation. The production and critical reception of Eastwood's most important films are recounted in detail; especially outstanding is Schickel's analysis of the still-controversial Dirty Harry. Schickel zeros in on Eastwood's appeal, showing through his acute interpretive readings of the films how the actor combines the masculine authority and repressed rage of Gary Cooper and John Wayne with an almost postmodern ironic self-consciousness. Some of Eastwood's most compelling films (The Beguiled; Tightrope; Unforgiven), Schickel contends, have deliberately played with, and even subverted, the usual cliches of masculine film performance. No mere celebrity bio, this is a beautifully written, comprehensive and astonishingly insightful study of a man who, seemingly against all odds, has achieved world renown as both a pop culture icon and an accomplished film artist. Photos, not seen by PW. 100,000 first printing.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

An interesting look at the last great icon of American cinema.
Jamie Cooper
In his 14th book, Schickel isn't exactly obsequious toward Eastwood, but he comes close, frequently crossing the line to hagiography.
Matthew Budman
The long book is made longer by merciless padding, including detailed and completely unnecessary plot summaries of the films.
Rory Coker

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 17, 2002
Format: Paperback
There's plenty of opportunity to gripe about this biography: The writing style is ponderous and sometimes downright clumsy, there's not enough details about Clint's private life, there's too much trivia about incidental movie roles (i.e. Witches.) But that aside it is nice to see a serious examination of Clint the Film Maker, which I might add does offer good critical examination of his movies, pointing out many of the movies' weaknesses as well as their strengths, and offering solid reasons for why the theme or story appealed to Clint. Pigeonholed early by narrowminded critics for his supposedly anti-establishment, brutal movies, he had to wait another twenty years for the critical tide to turn and for there to be a re-evaluation of his contribution to cinema (at least here in the U.S. -- in other parts of the world he'd long been recognized as a great director and actor.) And still some of the best movies he's done (whether he directed them or not) are not given the credit they deserve by self-important critics: Beguiled, Play Misty for Me, Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, The Outlaw Josey Wales, White Hunter Black Heart, Bird all come to mind as well as many others. In forty years of making movies beginning with A Fistful of Dollars, most of the time coming out with a movie a year, he's been involved in less than a handful of mediocre movies, none of them ranking as truly bad. The Rookie and City Heat come to mind as truly mediocre movies, certainly bordering on bad, and there's a couple of others that had good potential but turned out to be bad decisions on his part, but I consider that a fantastic track record.Read more ›
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By J.L. Populist on July 19, 2008
Format: Paperback
Richard Schickel is a friend of Clint Eastwood. That itself shouldn't disqualify him from writing this book.
The problem with the book is that it is very biased, he spends an absurd portion of the book defending Eastwood from an assortment of negative movie critiques, predominantly those of Pauline Kael.
I am a fan of most of Clint Eastwood's films and movie critics have never been a factor in formulating my opinion of any particular movie. And I don't see why Clint Eastwood's work needs defending!

"Clint Eastwood-a Biography" is otherwise loaded with some fascinating facts about Eastwood's life and career.

Schickel describes how Eastwood obtained various scripts for movies that he was involved in as an actor, director, and sometimes both.
The details include his relationship with other stars, directors, and producers.

Who proposed the forming of Malpaso and how monumental that company became is another topic in the book.

I found it interesting that Clint turned down the part of "Harmonica" in "Once Upon a Time in the West". That's the role that Charles Bronson accepted in a movie that eventually came to be regarded as one of the best westerns of all time and a personal favorite of mine.

The book details Eastwood's inherited musical talent and how deeply jazz has influenced the actor both musically and in film.

Clint solves the mystery of the identity of his character in "High Plains Drifter".

Another aspect of Eastwood as a director is the location of shoots for the "Eiger Sanction" and "Unforgiven". His sense of realism can be extreme, but admirable.

Overall "Clint Eastwood-a Biography" has a lot of trivia-type information and can be entertaining. What downgrades the book considerably is the seemingly endless ranting about the negative reviews from movie critics.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 11, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is an excellent book about the life and work of a legend. Richard Schickel gives us a close look at the free spirited man that's living inside of the veteran actor. Very detail work about Mr. Eastwood's movie making process and his no bulls**t attitude toward the studio execs and anyone who stands on his way. Ms. Pauline Kael should just say it out loud that she's begging for the legend's attention or just shut the hell up. Any Eastwood fan will really appreciate the author's work.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By W. Hilton on June 28, 2008
Format: Paperback
Several folks here have given this book a bad review simply because the author and subject are friends. So what? Clint will not write an autobiography so this is the next best thing. He simply chose to focus on the film making process that Clint uses and stay on the positive side of his personal life. He admits in the book that he cheated on his wife numerous times but doesn't go into great detail about it. We all know this anyway, why should we hear the details? Reading this book gave me great insight on Clint's life growing up, his family, his Army days, behind the scenes of "Rawhide" and all his greatest movies. I know Clint was not a saint in his personal life but that's not what I want to read about anyways. I want to read about his work which is why I'm a fan to begin with. If you want to read the gossip which may or may not be true, read the enquirer or Pat McGilligan's book which paints Clint as just a step above Hitler!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Franklin the Mouse on July 1, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It is obvious that Mr. Schickel is a movie critic, a good friend of Mr. Eastwood and an apologist of practically everything the film icon has done that is questionable. The book is a sympathetic portrayal and does a fine job explaining the movie star's rise in the entertainment field. Thankfully, this is not a slimy celebrity biography in the likes of Kitty Kelly's works. Instead, Mr. Schickel spends a great deal of time explaining many of Mr. Eastwood's films and how his choices are related to his growth as an individual. A fascinating subject matter who has endured in an industry that usually makes cannon fodder of most celebrities' having long-term careers. Elements of luck, intelligence and perseverance enabled Mr. Eastwood to remain an entertainment force for over four decades. Well-written and informative. If you've ever had a keen interest in how this man became an American movie icon, you'll probably enjoy the book.
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