Profile: Box set, book follow Clint Eastwood's long ride in film.
Here are a couple of things about Clint Eastwood that might surprise most people:
1. He’s not particularly enamored of guns.
2. One of his best friends is a major film critic.
Now, considering that he rode to fame on a horse, blowing away five bad guys at a time with a single-action Colt .45, and then drove on to superstardom in an unmarked police car, single-handedly offing whole gangs of robbers with a .44 magnum (“the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off”), bringing an avalanche of criticism down on his sandy-haired head in the early days of his career, with accusations of fascist politics and being possessed of no creative ambition beyond making lucrative, violent action flicks, you have to ask yourself: Do I know how he became one of the most respected filmmakers in the world in his later years?
Well, do ya, punk?
Film critic Richard Schickel knows. He’s followed Eastwood’s career not only as a journalist but as a close friend of 34 years.
chronicles Eastwood’s journey, from the actor’s first bit part in “Revenge of the Creature” (1955) through his latest directorial effort, the Nelson Mandela biopic “Invictus,” in a sumptuously illustrated, 288-page book, “Clint: A Retrospective,” published in March by Sterling Publishing ($35).
A 24-page excerpt from the book can be found in a new DVD box set, “Clint Eastwood: 35 Films, 35 Years at Warner Bros.,” which was released in February. Containing 34 of Eastwood’s Warner films, from “Where Eagles Dare” (1968) through “Gran Torino” (2008), plus a 22-minute, Schickel-directed documentary, “The Eastwood Factor,” it is the largest box set ever dedicated to a single artist. Suggested retail price: $179.98.
Schickel met him in 1976, the year Eastwood directed and starred in the now-classic Western “The Outlaw Josey Wales.”
“It just sort of grew like friendships do,” Schickel said in a recent phone interview from his Los Angeles home. “We hang out a certain amount of time; we talk a lot on the phone because I’m in L.A., and he’s largely in Carmel when he’s not doing postproduction or whatever. So, when he’s in town, we often have dinner or something like that.”
When asked what Eastwood is like offscreen, Schickel‘s instant response is, “Well, he’s not Dirty Harry, I’ll tell you that.
“Clint has a good, low-key sense of humor. He’s a very ironic sort of a guy. He’s always open to the oddnesses that we all encounter in life and takes a sort of amused interest in them. You know he is a hard-working man, there’s no question about that. On the other hand, it seems to me that he paces himself very well through life. He gets a lot of work out, but I would never call him a workaholic.”
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