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Documentary Review - The Eastwood Factor - The Career of Clint Eastwood (2010)

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This documentary is narrated by Morgan Freeman, who played in many of Eastwood’s films, but actually Clint Eastwood has the most to say about his 35 years at Warner Brothers Studios where he directed more than 35 films and starred in over 60.  Clint Eastwood is a very private man and says nothing about his personal life.  The film is all about his professional life.


Clint Eastwood

                                                                          Clint Eastwood                                                                                                                                                      Wikimedia

The Early Years

Eastwood started out playing bit parts in movies after he left the service where he was stationed in Fort Ord, California.  His big break came when he was given the part of Rowdy Yates in the television western called “Rawhide,” which ran for eight seasons, starting in 1959.  Following this gig, he worked in Italy for three years for Sergio Leone, starring in three successful “spaghetti westerns,” which made the Eastwood name internationally known.

“Dirty Harry”

The “Dirty Harry” series, consisting of five films, began in 1971.  He played an inspector with the San Francisco Police Department, named Harry Callahan.  Most people remember his famous line from the series “Go ahead, make my day.”  The immensely popular series lasted until 1988, when Eastwood said that he had gotten tired of the character.  “Dirty Harry” made him a permanent superstar.

Warner Brothers Studio

The documentary shows the courthouse which has stood on the Warner Studio lot since 1930.  The building houses all of the wardrobes that were used in Clint Eastwood’s films.  Deborah Hopper is the wardrobe mistress who accompanied Eastwood through the rooms which hold 20,000 pieces of clothing.  They are still used when they are appropriate.  One room holds all of Clint’s clothes from every film he played in.

He has always had a nice relationship with Warner Brothers. He likes the Studio grounds.  It is small and homey, compared to other studios.  He grew up watching Warner Brothers’ movies.


Morgan Freeman

                                                                        Morgan Freeman                                                                                                                                                   Wikimedia

His First Film as Director

Clint directed his first film, the thriller “Play Misty For Me,” in 1971.  He is multi-talented, and even demonstrated his talent on the piano.

Clint Eastwood’s Successful Career

In the 1976 film “The Outlaw Josey Wales,” he played the title role, a self-reliant man driven to revenge for the murder of his family members.  Clint directed this film also.  In all of Eastwood’s films, which contain a lot of violence, the guns are always empty.   He pointed out that Chief Dan George, who was not a professional actor, did not play by the script, and ad-libbed many of his lines, which worked out fine.  Narrator Morgan Freeman noted that the restoration of shattered families was an unnoticed theme in Clint Eastwood’s films. 

In the 1978 film, “Every Which Way But Loose,” Clint was warned that he would probably be upstaged by an orangutan.  The offbeat comedy turned out to be the biggest hit to date.

This was followed by a series of successes, such as “Tightrope,” about a serial killer, and “Pale Rider,” where he played a man of the cloth.  Clint Eastwood admired the legendary movie director John Huston, and directed and starred in a fictionalized version of the man entitled “White Hunter, Black Heart,” an adaptation of a book by Peter Viertel.  In “Honky Tonk Man, Eastwood demonstrated his ability at singing and playing the guitar.  His talent is unlimited.

In Clint Eastwood’s films, he does not necessarily have to go on location.  The Warner Brothers Studio provides sets which simulate the scene that is being filmed.  A New York street looks real in a film which he produced and directed, entitled “Bird,” which is a 1988 biographical screenplay about jazz saxophonist Charlie “Bird” Parker, whom Clint Eastwood admired greatly. Bird’s addiction to drugs ravaged his body so badly that when he died at the age of 34, the doctor thought he was 65 years old.


Meryl Streep

                                                                Meryl Streep - Wikimedia

His Masterpiece “Unforgiven”

The film “Unforgiven” was released in 1992, but Clint Eastwood had hung onto it for an entire decade.  He finally produced, directed and starred in the film, which tells the story of William Munny, a reformed outlaw who comes out of retirement to take care of one more task.  The film won the Academy Award for Best Picture, for Best Director (Clint Eastwood), and Best Supporting Actor (Gene Hackman).  The film was lauded by audiences and film critics alike.

Other Genres

Moving away again from his usual genre, in 1993 Clint directed “A Perfect World,” starring Kevin Costner, a tale about an escaped convict who bonded with a young boy before being recaptured.  It is a heart-rending story with a sad ending.

In 1995, Eastwood again moved out of his usual genre to direct and star in “The Bridges of Madison County,” a romantic film with Meryl Streep.  Meryl Streep paid him the compliment that, unlike other directors who acted in films, Clint was able to separate the two tasks.  He did not remain a director when he was acting out a scene.

The viewer was shown the newly created Eastwood Scoring State, which is a source of pride to Clint.  It is a sound stage, and most of his films have been scored here.  He has written music for some of them, notably “Mystic River,” several scenes of which were shown in the documentary.

“Million Dollar Baby”

One of Clint Eastwood’s finest films was made in 2004.  He directed and starred in “Million Dollar Baby” which featured Hilary Swank as a female boxer whose poverty-stricken upbringing was partly assuaged when she was able to form a father-daughter relationship with her trainer, played by Clint.  Hilary Swank won an Oscar for her role; Clint Eastwood won his second Oscar for Best Director; and Morgan Freeman won an Oscar for Best Actor in a Supporting Role.


Hilary Swank

                                                                Hilary Swank - Wikimedia


Clinton Eastwood directed Morgan Freeman in the 2009 film “Invictus,” which relates the tale of Nelson Mandela’s efforts to unite his country with the help of the white man’s sport of rugby, by encouraging his black citizens to get behind the game to win the Rugby World Cup in 1995.  Matt Damon plays the captain of the Rugby team.  The film was Eastwood’s most inspirational effort.


Clint Eastwood lives in Carmel, California which he discovered when he served in the army at Fort Ord, California, and knew he wanted to live there.  When he obtained the “Rawhide” series, he was able to buy a small house in Carmel and kept it for years.  In 1986, he was elected mayor of Carmel and served in that capacity for two years.  He owns a hotel and a restaurant there and has also built a golf course in Carmel.  In 2005, Clint Eastwood received the Life Achievement Award from the Screen Actors Guild in Los Angeles.


American Rebel: The Life of Clint Eastwood
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  1. "Clint Eastwood." bio.. 18/02/2016. 18/02/2016 <Web >

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