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White Hunter, Black Heart 1990 PG CC

Clint Eastwood stars and directs this drama about a film director with a powerful obsession that brushes everyone and everything else aside--an obsession that becomes ever more deadly.

Starring:
Clint Eastwood, Jeff Fahey
Runtime:
1 hour, 52 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Drama, Adventure
Director Clint Eastwood
Starring Clint Eastwood, Jeff Fahey
Supporting actors Charlotte Cornwell, Norman Lumsden, George Dzundza, Edward Tudor-Pole, Roddy Maude-Roxby, Richard Warwick, John Rapley, Catherine Neilson, Marisa Berenson, Richard Vanstone, Jamie Koss, Anne Dunkley, David Danns, Myles Freeman, Geoffrey Hutchings, Christopher Fairbank, Alun Armstrong, Clive Mantle
Studio Warner Bros.
MPAA rating PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video and digital download)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Doug Anderson VINE VOICE on January 18, 2002
Format: VHS Tape
Clint Eastwood captures the machismo and bravado and the wit of John Huston perfectly and he gets some of the elegance and the grace which he also had in abundance and which made him one of the most interesting of characters. A more complex actor may have given a more layered performance but its pretty hard not to admire what he does with the role. Eastwood is also a legend but of a different type and from a different era and his own legend status may have interfered with the filmgoing publics ability to accept him in this role playing not himself(as we always assumed he was doing)but a different legend. I think it works very well though. You can tell Eastwood is examining his own mythic stature as he examines Hustons.
The last scene of the movie has Eastwood/Huston sitting in his directors chair ready to shoot the first scene of African Queen. The movie documents Hustons conflicting desires to be both a man who lives life fully and to be an artist. The two urges come into conflict when Huston must cater to the studio executives who want to control what he does. His endless battles with studio representatives is great comedy. He enlists the young screenwriter "Pete" as an ally, or attempts to. (Pete is the one who eventually writes the book this movie is based on.) Huston wants Pete to be as fearless as he is and Pete is taken in by the charm of the great director but not all the way in. Pete is his own man, and Huston encourages that but also comes up against it when they disagree. Sometimes Hustons willfullness is heroic as when he acts out of principle. In one of the best scenes of the movie a blonde socialite makes some antisemitic remarks unaware that Pete is Jewish.
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Format: VHS Tape
It's fitting that in this film Eastwood plays a director who travels into the harsh conditions of Africa to shoot a film that satisfies his artistic expression but makes the studio-heads nervous because the movie is not "commercial" enough. This is certainly a reflection of what Eastwood, known for his bankability as a tough-talking action star, has done in "White Hunter, Black Heart". This was probably Eastwood's riskiest actor/director project since "Honkeytonk Man" in the early eighties. This makes Eastwood's leap-of-faith all the more admirable considering this is probably his best film as a director; even better than "Unforgiven". The film is also Eastwood's best work as an actor; anyone who still thinks that Eastwood is a one-note actor should see the way he re-invents himself in this film, playing a character unlikle anything you have ever seen before. The picture is based on the true-story of John Huston while he was shooting "The African Queen", but the film has more similarities to the works of Joseph Conrad - A man journeying into the heart of Africa to test his true manhood and to battle his personal demons. This is one of Eastwood's most unique and intelligent films.
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Format: DVD
Peter Viertel went to Africa with filmmaker John Huston to work on the script of THE AFRICAN QUEEN; from his experinces there he wrote the novel WHITE HUNTER, BLACK HEART. Here Clint Eastwood plays Houston, an egocentric man of action who becomes obsessed with killing a big-husked elephant - almost to the detriment of making THE AFRICAN QUEEN. Eastwood is uncanny (and at times forced and pretentious) as he tries to act and talk like the famous director, but in a way it's the perfect role for him: Huston as the bigger-than-life, Hemingway-like bully who believes in taking risks and being nonconformist mirrors Eastwood's Hollywood persona (think HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER, JOSIE WALES, even DIRTY HARRY) as actor and director.

The movie is a multi-leveled look at Huston (named John Wilson), and we see he's a fighting man for what's right and decent (he gets in a fist fight over the mistreatment of a black servant), but at the same time he can be cruel to his friends and bosses and exploitive of others. And to his credit, Eastwood is faithful to this good/mostly bad portrayal, and there's no sugar-coating at the end.
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Format: DVD
WHITE HUNTER BLACK HEART is perhaps Clint Eastwood's most underrated and overlooked film - made in 1990 and shadowed by Clint's Academy Award winning (and ultimate Western) Unforgiven.

Still, those who have enough sensibility will easily put this film as one of Clint's best, as he tells the story of maverick film maker John Wilson's obsession of hunting a big elephant while starting production of his big extravaganza to be shot in Africa during the 30's. As everybody knows, John Wilson is, in fact, a fictional version of John Huston during the shotting of The African Queen.

Everything here is a fictionalization of real people and real events... from Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall traveling together and Katherine Hepburn's manerisms to John Huston's erratic, suicidal and enigmatic behavior.

But there's more than meets the eye as Clint gives us an unique look into the unknown reasons that drive a man... and the consequences of those impulses.

The film is superbly acted, photographed, edited... and one might wonder why it was so overlooked during its release. Trully a film to be discovered. A journey like no other by a master film maker.
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