In the starry world of Hollywood Cinema, there have been many legends and a zillion movies that have raked in the dollars. The likes of Titanic, The Sound of Music, Forrest Gump, Star Wars series, Avatar and many more have struck a chord with movie goers around the world. We’ve witnessed a starry entourage of world class actors who have done pretty much everything to make that walk on the red carpet worth audience’s time. This fine list includes the likes of Denzel Washington, the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, Brad Pitt, Harrison Ford, Kevin Spacey, Ralph Fiennes, Morgan Freeman, Tom Hanks, Anthony Hopkins and many more.
But there are only a few ‘good men’ who truly live up to the tag of being versatile. Just how many times do you see a top Hollywood cat do it all from directing, producing, writing a screenplay, acting and donning multiple hats over and over again well into an age where most conceive working a back-burner!
Now almost 86 and traversing into his 6th decade of being in Hollywood’s spotlight, there we have the iconic Clint Eastwood who’s not done yet and has much to offer from a ‘fistful of extraordinary adventures’.
The San Francisco born acting legend, known for several spaghetti westerns, most popularly, The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, Hang ’em High, A Fistful of Dollars, and the Dirty Harry series first made headlines for his gun-slinging act in Rawhide (1959-65). Charming, soft spoken with sterling light eyes that conveyed an essence of cool that was hitherto less known, Hollywood breathed a delight of light breeze with Clint entering the cinema scope.
Many make it to Hollywood out of pure luck. Some perish becoming one hit wonders. But Clint’s journey become a monumental one for he was determined to last and make it count. As the tall and lanky lad with a sorted approach to acting, Eastwood soon went from being the super cowboy sporting the unkempt look aced by his chiseled appearance to soon becoming a Hollywood top shot starring in a range of entertaining flicks such as Play Misty for Me, The Honkeytonk Man, Every which way you lose, Unforgiven and the much loved Million Dollar Baby.
It is a pleasant rarity to note that as opposed to the contemporary era where movies are largely a byproduct of engaging technological maneuvers sliding past burlesque, muscled men, Eastwood’s era was more about a verve of cool. It was about delivering subtle counter-punches on the big screen with the slightest display of nerves on screen. It was more about acting than putting a loud act together, and as many would recount, it was about living a character so well that it became an emblem of your charisma and personality.
The shy, somewhat reserved but straight talking man who ‘had no name’, Clint was the perfect amalgamation of values that we seek from cinema so as to rescue us from the mundane in life : joy, jubilation, disarray, grim and ultimately, redemption.
We look at the 5 big reasons that make Clint Eastwood such a big Hollywood legend
The triumphant star of the ultimate Sphagetti Western trilogy
Eastwood’s star rose in the true sense of the word thanks to his lethal part in 3 magnificent cowboy westerns, all directed by Sergio Leone, famous for making long, story based, structured, action-packed western mythologies.
Leading an impressive pack of actors alongside the legendary Lee Van Cleef, and Elli Wallach, Clint starred as the gunslinger wearing cool weathers on his sleeve, flickering myths and leaving an impressive personification of the cowboy out to settle scores with the baddies in the land of the outlaws.
His signature one-liners in “For a fistful of dollars”, “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” and “For a few dollars more” are stuff of legends and emblematic of Clint’s approach signaling a minimalistic style of acting, essaying the character from grit and daring and that famous grin suggesting his overcoming of his naysayers.
A superb, multi award winning director
The key to Clint Eastwood’s success lies in his ability to construct epic stories that beg to be retold. Truth be told, a number of actors such as Forest Whitaker, Leonardo Di Caprio, Kevin Costner and Hillary Swank owe some of their most memorable characters on screen to one man. That’s Eastwood.
As the director par excellence of some scintillating biopics- Bird (starring Whitaker, based on the life of Jazz legend Charlie Parker) and J. Edgar Hoover (based on notorious FBI head, starring Leonardo in an Oscar nominated role), Eastwood gave America an important string of its cultural DNA.
In his 2004 epic Million Dollar Baby, where he played the reclusive boxing coach to an apprehensive girl who ultimately became a legend (Swank), Clint directed a moving tale of emotion, drama, sorrow and jubilation.
Central to Eastwood’s craft as a director is a style of storytelling that is unhinging to the audience, without losing a grip on a tightly scripted narrative.
An icon sans any godfather
Clint Eastwood started out way back in 1955 with “The revenge of the creature”. As a young charming toughie hailing from a humble San Francisco household, Eastwood did several odd jobs including repairing swimming pool and serving a short stint in the Army before the memorable audition in the famous TV series “Rawhide” came calling.
Today, after twice winning the Academy for Unforgiven and Million Dollar Baby and winning several honorable mentions such as Directors Guild of America, Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement among other magnificent mentions, Eastwood is deeply rooted to his ordinary beginnings.
Rumor has it that he refused to give easy leeway to son, Scott who had once depended on his ace father for a Hollywood breakthrough. Eastwood was quick to say: go fend for yourself.
The most sensational star since Hollywood’s golden age
Hollywood never ceases to churn out awe inspiring talent. Back in the 1910s and 1920s, the classic era of movies, film goers were witness to a charming coterie of talent that bore the names of Gary Cooper, Gregory Peck, Robert Taylor, James Dean and Clarke Gable. These were physically intimidating men of amazing good looks and overpowering persona who ruled the golden roost with aplomb.
Eastwood, born in 1930, was Hollywood’s most sensational style icon alongside popular contemporaries, Gene, Steve McQueen and Paul Newman.
His fellow actors have admired him, his critics soon gave into his charming demeanor and Clint has long been the quintessential ladies man.
In his youth, he was elegant, charming and smooth talking. Clint was the big daddy of a verve of cool that hinged on subtlety, chivalry and attitude that floored both men and women alike.
An accomplished musician
Clint’s tenderly eyes and soft husky voice worked its charms in plenty of movies where he donned the central character.
In 1969’s Paint your Wagon, 1971’s Play Misty of Me, 1982’s Honkytonk Man, Clint took to some country singing and stirred up some emotions emoting a husky twinkle from the guitar.
Music has often been Eastwood’s films’ charm and Clint’s lesser known talent its surprising undertone.
Clint’s eyes have a soul in them. They come to life when met with a glare. His stylish gait has seen the legend walk the long mile to acting, stardom and ultimately, the road to perfection where Eastwood deployed a penchant for doing the remarkably challenging with a dexterity and style that you could expect only from a cinematic legend. For all this and more, we celebrate the cult of Clint Eastwood.