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Clint Eastwood: A Biography Paperback – October 21, 1997
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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.
Top customer reviews
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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.