Saturday, 24 June 2017

Thunderbolt and Lightfoot at BAM Cinématek

Clint Eastwood and Jeff Bridges’s Modern Western “Thunderbolt and Lightfoot” is a proto-bromance that becomes a crime story halfway through. 
By Richard Brody, The New Yorker

In  1973, Clint Eastwood, who was already a major star, produced and acted in Michael Cimino’s first film as a director, “Thunderbolt and Lightfoot.” It offered more than a fine role for Eastwood; it was one of the great directorial débuts of the New Hollywood era. “Thunderbolt and Lightfoot” plays July 2 at BAM Cinématek in a series of heist movies co-programmed by Edgar Wright (June 27-July 23), who directed a new entry in the genre, “Baby Driver,” opening this week. Cimino’s film is a heist movie with a difference: it withholds the crime story until midway through the film. Before that, it’s a rough-and-tumble, back-road Northwest adventure that’s also a buddy comedy, even a proto-bromance.
The movie, which Cimino also wrote, is loosely based on, and named after, two infamous early-nineteenth-century Irish bandits. Eastwood plays John (Thunderbolt) Doherty, an Idaho country preacher who’s actually a bank robber in hiding. Jeff Bridges, who was twenty-four at the time, plays Lightfoot, a fast-talking, freewheeling, fun-loving drifter and grifter. The two men meet cute when Thunderbolt’s sermon is interrupted by a gunman and he dashes from his crowded church. Lightfoot, speeding on a country road in a stolen muscle car, picks up the fleeing Thunderbolt and outdrives the gunman for kicks—and experiences a sort of fraternal love at first sight for his terse, coolly confident and worldly-wise older passenger.
Ditching another stolen car, Lightfoot leads Thunderbolt into Hell’s Canyon, on the Snake River, where, the young man says, “Up here, people’s business is nobody’s but their own.” But trouble ensues when Thunderbolt’s former partners in crime turn up—the resentful and brutal Red (George Kennedy) and Goody (Geoffrey Lewis), whose benighted lumpishness contrasts dismally with Thunderbolt’s bladelike precision and Lightfoot’s carefree, sexually uninhibited insolence. After a near-deadly tangle, they put their differences aside to undertake a new robbery—of an armored-truck depot—in a small Montana town. Accumulating know-how and equipment (including an anti-tank cannon), the four men live in a simulacrum of domesticity that seethes with ambient violence and erotic tension. As Thunderbolt details to Lightfoot the obstacles they face—“microphones, electric eyes, pressure-sensitive mats, vibration detectors, tear gas, and even thermostats”—Lightfoot beams at him blissfully.
Cimino blends the split-second criminal plot with wild humor. Lightfoot gets called out on his macho posturing by a woman with a hammer (no one gets hurt), but Cimino also takes deadly seriously the sort of beat-downs that are usually played for laughs. The action, however, is inseparable from Cimino’s distinctive view of the untamed landscapes. The film’s images are filled with a pointillistic profusion of detail—wheat stalks at the roadside, a modern bridge’s metallic latticework, even the duo’s jazzily patterned shirts—that’s as alluring as it is nerve-jangling. Cimino’s wide-open West is a wonder and a snare, blending freedom and cruelty, innocence and ignorance; its expanses seem blood-soaked and death-haunted. With its mix of spectacle and intimacy, exuberance and tragedy, “Thunderbolt and Lightfoot” points ahead to the radical extremes of Cimino’s 1980 masterwork, “Heaven’s Gate.”

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Happy birthday to the great Lalo Schifrin

I feel it’s only right to celebrate Lalo’s birthday here today. Schifrin has played such an integral part in the success of Clint’s career, scoring the soundtracks to films including Coogan’s Bluff, The Beguiled, Kelly’s Heroes, Dirty Harry, Joe Kidd, Magnum Force, Sudden Impact and The Dead Pool.
I find it a little hard to believe that it was back in late 2005 that the legendary Renaissance man granted me an exclusive interview for Cinema Retro Magazine. I had built up a nice relationship with his company Aleph Records alongside his charming wife Donna, and his daughter-in-law Theresa.
It is a friendship that still endures to this day. I really didn’t know what to expect upon interviewing this extraordinary composer? On the one hand, I had to wear my ‘professional’ hat – but of course, I was (and remain) a genuine ‘fan’. Will I get 20 minutes? Perhaps I could push it to 30 minutes of good, informative chat? No, Lalo was far too charming and generous for that, he opened up about the whole Exorcist story, some great personal memories, his childhood and after some engrossing 80 minutes of conversation the interview found its own very natural conclusion… officially. Beyond that we probably chatted ‘off the record’ for a further 5-10 minutes. From my perspective, Lalo had switched from hero to friend – a certain trust seemed to emerge and I love the man dearly for that. During those final few minutes he delivered to me perhaps the ultimate compliment ‘You know more about me than I do!’  Well Lalo, I’ll settle for that any day of the week, Sir…
On behalf of all the fans, I’d like to wish you a wonderful 85th Birthday along with continued Health and Happiness.

-The Clint Eastwood Archive-

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Clint: Clapperboard Specials from 1980

I’m very happy to present these two extremely rare reports that appeared on the UK TV programme Clapperboard in 1980. The first of these reports is on Bronco Billy and catches Clint while on his trip in Deauville, France. The imdb lists this particular episode with a TX date of October 6th 1980. 

The second report is listed as ‘Clint Eastwood and Sondra Locke’ with a TX date of December 18th 1980 which was just 2 weeks before the UK release date of Any which way you can on January 1st 1981. 

My sincere thanks go to Dave Turner for providing the original VHS source tapes and to our friends David Vernall-Downes and Jonathan Downes. David has done a wonderful job and digitised these old tapes. We are entirely appreciative. His brother Jonathan has also kindly provided us with web space in order to continuously host these important videos.
Below: Clapperboard - Deauville - Bronco Billy
 Below: Clapperboard - Any which way you can

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Clint and the 1000th screen kill!

This is a story that goes way back. It’s something that has always amused me and perhaps rather stupidly, often gets my mind thinking. It was no doubt rather a clever publicity stunt, and one that has certainly endured a degree of longevity.

The story appeared in the November 1970 issue of Film Review magazine, an edition which also carried a great cover shot featuring Clint. The article was entitled ‘Bang, Bang! Clint’s 1000th Kill’. The piece recognised that since Clint shot to fame as the man with no name in A Fistful of Dollars he has pretty much brandished a firearm in every subsequent movie and ‘mowed down’ countless enemies left, right and centre. According to the article, countless isn’t quite true. According to ‘the people whose job it is to attend to such matters’ (which is about as accurate as a newspapers ‘close source’) have actually counted the characters that have stopped Eastwood bullets. The story goes on to explain that in Clint’s latest film Kelly’s Heroes, the score enters the four-figure category. It continued:

‘On learning that the gunning down of a German officer was to be his 1000th screen killing, Clint secretly pocketed a 50-calibre machine gun bullet on his way to the set. After the slaying had taken place and the director had called “cut”, the victim (English stuntman Joe Dunne) found himself being helped to his feet by his ‘assassin’ and presented with the ‘Golden Bullet Award to the 1000th Man to stand in Clint Eastwood’s Way!’’
According to whichever 'in house' writer or MGM publicist wrote this piece - explained that ‘his tally of 1000 kings seemed to be well advanced by Where Eagles Dare in which he appeared to mow down and entire German force in helping to rescue an American general from a mountain fortress'
‘I just stood around trying to figure out the espionage tricks or operating my machine gun while Burton handled the dialogue.’ says Clint.

Now, I’m not perhaps the world’s greatest living mathematician, but 1000? Of course we live in a world today which allows us instant access to a movie, home cinema and the like, allows us to scrutinise over and over. Not that I’m ever going to sit down and meticulously count every one of Clint’s screen victims between 1964 and 1970. But one can see how easy it was to perhaps ‘sell’ this one to the public, especially without any retrospective means of looking at them all back and doing the math.

It was certainly something that MGM enthusiastically promoted. The scene in question turned up as a publicity shot and was actually used as one of the film’s Lobby cards. There were also several press stills released depicting the scene with the legend on reverse actually featuring the story. Photo information states:

‘Clint Eastwood presents “The Golden Bullet” award to his Thousandth victim’ according to the information this was shot in Yugoslavia, October 1969. It’s also worth noting that at this stage in production (and on the photos) the film was still referred to as The Warriors. (Right)
However, one might arguably question the validity of this picture at all? Where is it in the film? I’ve always believed this to be a staged publicity photo – Clint going into battle, without wearing a helmet? It just doesn’t add up to me? And I do wonder if the 1000th victim scenario was conjured up around this photo shoot – perhaps by a somewhat overzealous team of guys from within the MGM publicity department? I never did see any publicity photos of Clint handing over that anniversary bullet after all? If it was such a big deal, why weren’t there any photos taken, the presenting of the bullet?
Nevertheless, it remains one of those great little stories or myths as it were, that remind us all of a much more innocent and fun time that revolved around the whole publicity and promotion of a movie and days that are sorely missed.   
Below: The colour lobby card depicting the scene and the '1000th victim' 


Tuesday, 6 June 2017

CLINT EASTWOOD Get Yourself another Fool LONDON LED247 Rare Japanese 7"

Now here’s a rather nice little rarity. Once upon a time, there was this young actor who starred in a TV series called Rawhide – which turned out to be rather successful. During this time, that same actor also cut an album, and a few singles which tied in nicely with that TV series. Thankfully, I have an original copy of that Cameo LP. Since then the album has made its way onto CD in various different formats and is quite easily affordable. These CDs are also excellent in terms of sound quality. 
However, some things are simply not that affordable, including this very nice and extremely rare 1962 7” single that was only released in Japan. I spotted this gem on eBay recently. It contains the tracks ‘Get Yourself another Fool’ and ‘For you, for me, for evermore’ and comes with a wonderful picture sleeve/insert. Japanese single inserts typically contain the lyrics on the reverse side.
So what else makes this very special? Unless this insert came printed with a personally signed dedication (which I very much doubt) it appears to be signed by Clint. The dedication looks to read – ‘Dear Brenda This is my first record in Japan I hope you like it Clint Eastwood Rowdy’. Now I’m no expert, but my initial thoughts lead me to believe that it looks pretty convincing. The signature is of the correct style for this time period. BUT, please don’t take that as gospel, I’m certainly not saying it IS genuine. I’m simply saying it looks remarkably convincing.
So, how much would this set you back? Well, it currently has a buy now price on it at $1,200 or £927.89 (if that lessens the pain to some degree). Oh and there is postage to be added to that. I just thought it was worthy of featuring here. I certainly have never seen it before, and I doubt if I will ever see many again. Should you fancy adding a little piece of 7” vinyl to your collection..? Unfortunately, I’m sad to report, it will remain absent from mine. 

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

A Very Happy Birthday Clint

Today we are celebrating the birthday of the greatest cinema icon. Born on this day in 1930, Clint turns 87 years young. Clint's consistent work rate is, in every aspect, quite astonishing. As a director he continues to deliver thought provoking, intelligent and highly impressive projects. He has that rare ability to hold his audience who, in return, offer both a regular sense of loyalty and an unflinching level of support. Clint is truly one of the few remaining greats. On behalf of all your fans from around the world, I would like to wish you continued health, happiness and our very best wishes on your day. 

Never stop being reckless, Sir. 
The Clint Eastwood Archive    

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Clint at Cannes 2017

Clint Eastwood Says ‘We’ve Lost Our Sense of Humour’ and hints at a return to acting.
It’s great to see Clint returning to the Cannes Film Festival. There have been a few stories this week, so I have gathered some together here to provide an overall perspective. Eastwood told a rapturous Cannes audience on Sunday that he will return to acting in front of the camera. Eastwood was giving a master class at the Cannes Festival and received a three-minute ovation from those able to get in to the packed auditorium, in a crowd that included Warner Bros. boss Kevin Tsujihara.
The star notably did not address the political situation in the U.S., focusing on his long career in front of and behind the camera. He did say that his first “Dirty Harry” movie was considered politically incorrect, and was the start of an ongoing era of political correctness. “We’re killing ourselves by doing that, we’ve lost our sense of humour,” he said.
Having mostly eschewed acting for directing in recent years, Eastwood’s last on-screen performance was in 2012’s “The Trouble With the Curve.” He said he missed performing “once in a while but not often,” but added he plans to return at some point, “I did a lot of it for a long time. I’ll visit it again someday.”
Eastwood, 86, spoke about growing up in Depression-era America. “At 5 or 6, you didn’t notice and didn’t know any different,” he said. “Once you got old enough to understand the time, you realize how much you appreciate [your parents] because they had to go through that.”

He added: “Everyone thinks this last recession was bad, but they don’t know what it is like.” Los Angeles Times film critic Kenneth Turan asked Eastwood about his reputation for relying on his gut as a director: “Your instincts are sometimes better than your intellect,” Eastwood said. “Intellectualizing, or pseudo-intellectualizing, can get you in a real box.”
“Film is an emotional art form, not an intellectual art form at all.”

Asked about current movies and directors he admires, the star said that between working on recent projects, “American Sniper” and “Sully,” he has not gotten to see new movies, but he did recently revisit “Sunset Boulevard.”
Stewart Clarke, Variety, MAY 21st, 2017

Clint Eastwood tells Cannes he might act again some day
CANNES, France (AP) — Clint Eastwood regaled the Cannes Film Festival on Sunday with stories from his long career, predicted a possible return to acting and decried the rise of political correctness.
Eastwood was honoured with several screenings of his films, including one marking the 25th anniversary of "Unforgiven." In a staged conversation on Sunday, the 86-year-old director said he would revisit acting "someday." The last time Eastwood appeared on screen was 2012's "Trouble With the Curve." Before that, he starred in his own 2008 film, "Gran Torino."
Eastwood didn't talk about current political events, but while discussing his then-controversial 1971 film "Dirty Harry," he waded into a topic he's touched on before: so-called political correctness.
"A lot of people thought it was politically incorrect," Eastwood said of "Dirty Harry." ''That was at the beginning of the era that we're in now, where everybody thinks everyone's politically correct. We're killing ourselves by doing that. We've lost our sense of humour."
Sofia Coppola's remake of Don Siegel's 1971 film "The Beguiled," which starred Eastwood, is to premiere this week in Cannes, but Eastwood sounded unfamiliar with Coppola's movie.
He's currently preparing to direct "The 15:17 to Paris," about the foiling of a 2015 Islamic State group attack on a train heading to the French capital from Brussels. Three Americans, two of them off-duty members of the military, contributed to the subduing of the gunman. Eastwood said the film suited today's "strange times." Festival-goers mobbed Eastwood's talk. Warner Bros. executives, including studio head Kevin Tsujihara, sat in the front row. Much of the conversation, moderated by Los Angeles Times film critic Kenneth Turan, touched on Eastwood's attitudes about moviemaking.
"If you have good luck with your instincts, you might as well trust them," Eastwood said. "It's an emotional art form. It's not an intellectual art form at all."
New York Daily News
Watch Clint Eastwood's Cinema Master Class
Clint Eastwood treated Cannes festival goers to a Cinema Master Class over the weekend. Eastwood served as President of the Jury at Cannes Film Festival in 1994.
The Oscar winning filmmaker spoke at the Debussy Theatre to present the restored copy of Unforgiven, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary at the Festival with Warner. On the 21st, he inaugurated the 70th ANNIVERSARY MASTERCLASS with a discussion in the company of American critic Kenneth Turan in the Buñuel screening room. The legendary actor and director freely spoke about his films, childhood and beginnings.
Clint Eastwood: ‘We are killing ourselves’ with political correctness
Legendary actor and film director Clint Eastwood told a crowd at the Cannes Film Festival Sunday that political correctness is killing the entertainment industry.
The Western film icon, who was visiting the festival in southern France for a 25th anniversary screening of his 1992 film “Unforgiven,” said America’s obsession with political correctness started around the time of the release of his 1971 movie “Dirty Harry,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.
“It was far-out at that time, so I brought it to [director] Don [Siegel], and he liked it,” Mr. Eastwood said. “A lot of people thought it was politically incorrect. That was at the beginning of the era that we’re in now with political correctness. We are killing ourselves, we’ve lost our sense of humor. But I thought it was interesting and it was daring.”
Mr. Eastwood made the comments during a master class conducted by Los Angeles Times film critic Kenneth Turan. Mr. Eastwood, who went to Cannes to introduce the screening of “Unforgiven,” said he initially hadn’t planned to sit through the entire movie.
“I thought I’d just sit through the first five minutes, but after a while I thought, ‘This isn’t so bad, so maybe I’ll stay for it,’” he said, THR reported. “I enjoyed it. I saw a lot of things that I’d forgotten.”
Mr. Eastwood’s current movie project is “The 15:17 to Paris,” the Warner Bros. Pictures’ retelling of the 2015 heroics of three Americans who stopped an Islamic State attack on a train from Brussels to Paris.
By Jessica Chasmar - The Washington Times - Monday, May 22, 2017

Clint Eastwood does not rule out a return to Westerns
CANNES, May 21 — Clint Eastwood does not rule out making another Western, he said yesterday as he presented a 25th anniversary restored copy of Unforgiven at the Cannes Film Festival.
“When I read the (Unforgiven) script 25 years ago, I always thought that this would be a good last Western for me to do,” said the 86-year-old actor-director.
“And it was the last Western, because I have never read one that worked as well as this one since that. “But who knows, maybe something will come up in the future,” said Eastwood, who made his name in the TV series Rawhide and the so-called spaghetti Westerns of the 1960s, now considered classics. Unforgiven won four Oscars including Best Picture and Best Director for Eastwood who also starred. — Reuters
Clint Eastwood Decries P.C. Culture in Cannes: "We've Lost Our Sense of Humour"
The director took part in a master class as he visited the fest for a 25th anniversary screening of 'Unforgiven.'
As far as Clint Eastwood is concerned, society’s current obsession with political correctness began with his 1971 movie Dirty Harry.
Coming in the wake of his three Sergio Leone Westerns that began with 1964’s A Fistful of Dollars, the violent San Francisco-set cop story consolidated Eastwood’s growing stardom, and he makes no apologies for it.
“It was far-out at that time, so I brought it to [director] Don [Siegel], and he liked it,” Eastwood recalled Sunday during a visit to the Cannes Film Festival. “A lot of people thought it was politically incorrect. That was at the beginning of the era that we’re in now with political correctness. We are killing ourselves, we’ve lost our sense of humour. But I thought it was interesting and it was daring.”
That was about as political as Eastwood got as he discussed his films in a master class, answering questions posed by Los Angeles Times film critic Kenneth Turan.
The veteran actor/director came to Cannes to introduce a screening of a restored version of his 1992 Oscar-winner Unforgiven, which unspooled as part of the Cannes Classics sidebar to mark the film’s 25th anniversary.
“I thought I’d just sit through the first five minutes, but after a while I thought, ‘This isn’t so bad, so maybe I’ll stay for it,'” Eastwood admitted. “I enjoyed it. I saw a lot of things that I’d forgotten.”
The filmmaker recounted how David Webb Peoples’ script first came to him as a writing sample around 1980, and he immediately thought, “This would be a great last Western for me.” But after optioning it, it sat in his desk for 10 years before he finally got around to making it.
During the course of the discussion, Eastwood paid tribute to his two mentors, Leone and Siegel. “Sergio had a different way of looking at the size and scope of films. I learned a lot from him,” he said. “Don Siegel was extremely efficient, he was faster than anyone I’ve ever seen, but that’s because he thought faster.”
Eastwood called his reputation for quickly shooting as few takes as possible “a lie,” but then admitted, “I like to always shoot the first take. I like to see the what the mechanism is in [the actors’] faces the first time it comes out of their mouths. If it works on the first take and you print it, everybody gets in that mood — 'Okay, we’re going somewhere.'”
Eastwood explained how he likes to keep his sets calm and drama-free. On other films on which he’d work, he noticed how an assistant director would go around yelling, “Quiet on the set!.” But after a visit with one of the many U.S. presidents he’s known — he said it was probably Gerald Ford — he was impressed by how quietly the Secret Service agents communicated with each other through their lapel mikes and ear-pieces, and so he adopted that practice on his own sets.
And, Eastwood explained, it’s always been important for him to set the tone, saying, “If the director is not positive about where he’s going, the whole crew becomes sedate and nobody moves forward.”
As for why he decided to make so many of the specific films he’s made, the laconic director said simply, “If you have good luck with your instincts, you might as well stick with it. Intellectualizing or pseudo-intellectualizing, you can get yourself in a real box.”
Eastwood is currently readying the next project he will direct, The 15:17 to Paris, which is the true story of three American friends who defeated an attempted terrorist attack on a train bound from Brussels to Paris in 2015. 
VALERY HACHE – The Hollywood Reporter 5/21/2017

Monday, 15 May 2017

Alternative High Plains Drifter artwork design by Ron Lesser

I was very happy to recently discover this alternative design of Ron Lesser’s artwork for High Plains Drifter (1973). This newly found artwork illustrates segmented movement in the arm of the stranger (Clint Eastwood) holding his pistol. The drawing also depicts the mayhem of exploding buildings and destruction of the town during the film’s memorable and exciting climax.
Ron Lesser’s talent has always been admired and loved by Eastwood fans, with High Plains Drifter always being among the most popular of Eastwood’s film poster designs. New York painter Ron Lesser used to create movie art, including award-winning posters and storyboards for some classic western films including The Way West and A Man Called Horse. He has also painted pieces for the covers of books by legendary western writers such as Louis L’Amour. These days, however, Lesser devotes much of his time to creating paintings of Native Americans, cowboys, and the Civil War. “I am trying to tell a story,” he says. “I like people to look at one of my paintings and feel like they could step into the scene.”
Lesser is known for his attention to detail and for capturing the high drama of life in the West in the 19th century. Native American figures, whether they are posed or engaged in battle, are often set against the magnificent mountains and luminously coloured skies of the frontier terrain. “I am always trying to make the work authentic, like it may have looked back then,” Lesser says. To achieve this accuracy, the artist reads, researches, and consults with experts.

Lesser says he is inspired by the works of some of the country’s top artists as well as illustrators such as Norman Rockwell and N.C. Wyeth. He is represented by B&R Art Gallery, Canyon Country, CA. 

Friday, 21 April 2017

Clint Eastwood Sets ‘The 15:17 to Paris’ As next Warner Bros Film

In the last few hours Eastwood has apparently confirmed his next project. It was first announced by Deadline Hollywood, followed by Variety.

Clint Eastwood has confirmed the next film he will direct. He’ll helm a drama based on the book The 15:17 To Paris The True Story Of A Terrorist, A Train, And Three American Heroes. The book was written by Anthony Sadler, Alek Skarlatos, Spencer Stone and Jeffrey E. Stern; the life rights of the heroes Sadler, Skarlatos and Stone are part of the package. Newcomer scribe Dorothy Blyskal wrote the script, and Eastwood will begin casting right away to start production later this year. Eastwood will produce with Tim Moore, Kristina Rivera and Jessica Meier. This keeps Eastwood on the track of building crowd-pleasing movies out of true stories about ordinary men in extraordinary situations. That included Sully, the hit film about Chesley Sullenberger (Tom Hanks), the heroic airline pilot who landed US Airways flight 1549 in the Hudson River after the engines were damages by birds right after takeoff. Before that, Eastwood directed the blockbuster American Sniper, about Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle (Bradley Cooper) and the toll his precise shooting in Iraq took on himself and his family.

Here, Eastwood makes room for a trio of heroes in Sadler, Skarlatos and Stone. In August 2015, anISIS terrorist boarded train #9364 from Brussels to Paris. Armed with an AK-47 and enough ammo to kill more than 500 people, the terrorist might have succeeded except for three American friends who refused to give in to fear. Stone was a martial arts enthusiast and airman first class in the U.S. Air Force, Skarlatos was a member of the Oregon National Guard, and all three pals proved fearless as they charged and ultimately overpowered the gunman after he emerged from a bathroom armed and ready to kill. They most certainly averted a mass tragedy.
Eastwood had been previously linked to “Impossible Odds” which followed humanitarian worker Jessica Buchanan, who was kidnapped while working in Somalia and later rescued by a group of Navy Seals.

Amazon’s synopsis on the book The 15:17 to Paris 
An ISIS terrorist planned to kill more than 500 people. He would have succeeded except for three American friends who refused to give in to fear. On August 21, 2015, Ayoub El-Khazzani boarded train #9364 in Brussels, bound for Paris. There could be no doubt about his mission: he had an AK-47, a pistol, a box cutter, and enough ammunition to obliterate every passenger on board. Slipping into the bathroom in secret, he armed his weapons. Another major ISIS attack was about to begin. Khazzani wasn't expecting Anthony Sadler, Alek Skarlatos, and Spencer Stone. Stone was a martial arts enthusiast and airman first class in the US Air Force, Skarlatos was a member of the Oregon National Guard, and all three were fearless. But their decision to charge the gunman, then overpower him even as he turned first his gun, then his knife, on Stone, depended on a lifetime of loyalty, support, and faith. Their friendship was forged as they came of age together in California: going to church, playing paintball, teaching each other to swear, and sticking together when they got in trouble at school. Years later, that friendship would give all of them the courage to stand in the path of one of the world's deadliest terrorist organizations. The 15:17 to Paris is an amazing true story of friendship and bravery, of near tragedy averted by three young men who found the heroic unity and strength inside themselves at the moment when they, and 500 other innocent travellers, needed it most.

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Deborah Hooper – The woman who dresses Eastwood

Deborah Hopper started her costume-design career in the fantasy/make-believe worlds of opera and ballet. Now, renowned for her down-and-dirty, true-to-life style, she is a perfect match for filmmaker Clint Eastwood, and her 32-year run with the director proves it. Beginning in the wardrobe department on Malpaso productions such as Tightrope and Pale Rider, Deborah progressed through films including Heartbreak Ridge, Bird and The Dead Pool. In 2000 she became Malpaso’s costume designer working on Space Cowboys, Million Dollar Baby, Letters from Iwo Jima, Mystic River, Flags of Our Fathers and Sully, all of which reflect her relentless research and her penchant for including the vision of actors in her creative process.

Clint trusts me and trusts my work,” says the designer. “I use resources like Sears & Roebuck, back issues of Life magazine, high school yearbooks that give me a snapshot of everyday life. With the work that I do with Clint, his movies are basically everyday life, so the costumes that I deal with are everyday clothes. The costumes, in a way, have to be invisible. If they show then I think it’s kind of distracting. It should be more about the story

Deborah received the Distinguished Collaborator Award during the 14th annual Costume Designers Guild Awards on February 21st 2012 at the Beverly Hilton. Clint was of course in attendance to present her with the award along with actor Ken Watanabe and actress Marcia Gay Harden.

Deborah has become a reliablle and integral part of the Malpaso family; it is a collaboration which has stood the test of time and long may it continue to do so. 

Deborah Hopper / Clint Eastwood credits
Costume and Wardrobe Department: True Crime, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, Absolute Power, The Rookie, Pink Cadillac, The Dead Pool, Bird, Heartbreak Ridge, Ratboy, Pale Rider, Tightrope

Costume Designer: Sully, American Sniper, Jersey Boys, Trouble with the Curve, J. Edgar, Hereafter, The Eastwood Factor (as herself), Invictus, Gran Torino, Changeling, Letters from Iwo Jima, Flags of Our Fathers, Million Dollar Baby, Mystic River, Blood Work, Space Cowboys 

Flashback: Clint Eastwood takes home Akira Kurosawa Award from S.F. Film Festival

Flashback: Clint Eastwood takes home Akira Kurosawa Award from S.F. Film Festival
Dateline: Friday, April 27, 2001

They played "Misty" for him as the former Man with No Name -- who became one of the biggest names in Hollywood -- strode to the stage to accept the San Francisco International Film Festival's Akira Kurosawa Award for directing. Clint Eastwood told the sold-out crowd at the Argent Hotel on Wednesday night that winning a prize named for the Japanese master has special meaning. "He was the guy I really idolized when I was young. I had always hoped to work with him."
The closest Eastwood came was to star in "A Fistful of Dollars," an Italian remake of Kurosawa's "Yojimbo." "The only problem was the Italians forgot to buy the rights. When it was sorted out, Mr. Kurosawa got all the profits from its release in Asia." That must have made his day.
When the man of the moment returned to his table, he got a big hug from his wife, Dina Ruiz Eastwood. These two really are lovebirds. "We just had our five-year anniversary, and we still hold hands all the time. We're disgusting, " she said, laughing.
Eastwood, 70, is devoted to his 36-year-old wife and their 4-year-old daughter, Morgan. "After my last movie, 'Space Cowboys,' took so much time because of the special effects, I decided I didn't want to do that anymore. I'm spending my time at home," the star told me.
Still, he approves of his wife going back to work hosting "Candid Camera" because it takes her away from their Carmel home only one weekend every few months. "Suzanne Somers used to be the co-host, but I don't think they can afford her anymore. I definitely come cheaper," Ruiz Eastwood said.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

The passing of legendary comic Don Rickles

A short time ago I received the sad news that legendary U.S. comic Don Rickles has died, he was 90. I have provided a piece from Richard Natale, Variety, April 6th 2017
Rickles died Thursday morning at his home in Los Angeles from kidney failure, his longtime publicist Paul Shefrin confirmed. He would have turned 91 on May 8. Though he appeared in films and on television, Rickles’ mainstay was always nightclub performances, appearing in Las Vegas and elsewhere into his late 80s. He also found late success as the voice of Mr. Potato Head in the “Toy Story” films, which were exceptional box office performers, and popped up frequently on late night talk shows.

Rickles’ career had its ups and downs as comedic tastes changed, and his curmudgeonly persona was sometimes out of kilter with audience tastes, but he survived long after many of his contemporaries had disappeared into retirement. And when he was hot, he was a potent club headliner, insulting his audience with his two key signature phrases “dummy” and “hockey puck.” His attempts at series TV did not succeed because of the astringency of Rickles’ personality. His serious side, however, was occasionally put to good use in guest starring roles in episodic TV and the occasional dramatic role in movies such as his first, “Run Silent, Run Deep,” and Martin Scorsese’s 1995 film “Casino.”

Donald Jay Rickles was born in Manhattan and studied acting at the Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York after serving in the Navy during WWII. He began appearing in nightclubs during the ’50s but didn’t really break through until his first appearance on “The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson” in 1965. In the meantime, he worked in movies. After his debut in WWII submarine drama “Run Silent, Run Deep” (1958), he appeared in the Tony Curtis-Debbie Reynolds romantic comedy “The Rat Race” and various AIP beach movies with Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon. After the Carson appearance, he achieved headliner status in Vegas, Reno and Lake Tahoe, and he was frequently seen in the company of Frank Sinatra’s Rat Pack. He took to the stage in the L.A. production of Neil Simon’s “The Odd Couple,” playing Felix. Later he took “The Don Rickles Show” on tour around the country. He also made more movies, including Carl Reiner’s “Enter Laughing” and WWII heist comedy “Kelly’s Heroes” playing the charismatic rouge Crapgame alongside Clint, Donald Sutherland and Telly Savalas. His first try at a TV series, CBS’ “Kibbe Hates Finch” in 1965, never got beyond a pilot. Variety series “The Don Rickles Show” lasted a single season in 1969-69, and his mid-’70s sitcom “C.P.O. Sharkey” lasted two. He co-hosted reality clip show “Foul-Ups, Bloops and Blunders” with Steve Lawrence for a single season in 1983-84 on ABC. His last attempt was Fox’s 1993 sitcom “Daddy Dearest” co-starring Richard Lewis, which quickly folded.

More successful were his guest starring appearances on TV in a variety of shows including comedies such as “Archie Bunker’s Place,” “The Lucy Show,” “F Troop” (in a recurring role as Bald Eagle), “Get Smart,” “Newhart” and, in 2011, “Hot in Cleveland.” He also acquitted himself on TV dramas like “Medical Center” and “Chrysler Theater.” He guested on “The Single Guy” and “Murphy Brown” in the late ’90s, appeared in a supporting role in 2004 telepic “The Wool Cap” and appeared as himself within a dream sequence in a 2007 episode of CBS drama “The Unit.”
In January 2005, Rickles appeared with Bob Newhart, whom he considered his best friend, on “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” the day after Johnny Carson’s death to reminisce about their many guest appearances on Carson’s show.  During the late ’70s and a good part of the ’80s, Rickles’ humor was out of fashion, and while he continued appearing at casinos, the luster of his star had faded. Then, things turned around again, and a new generation of comedians that he had influenced came into favor. Rickles was once again in vogue. Rickles’ humor, while enjoyed better in person, also landed on record with albums such as “Hello Dummy!” and “Don Rickles Speaks.”

In Scorsese’s 1995 film “Casino,” Rickles had a substantial role as a trusted cohort to Robert De Niro’s casino owner. And the “Toy Story” animated features kept Rickles busy, voicing Mr. Potato Head in the 1995 original, the 1999 sequel and the enormously successful third entry in 2010. He reprised the role in a 2011 short called “Hawaiian Vacation,” and he voiced the Frog character in the 2011 live action/animated hybrid “Zookeeper,” starring Kevin James and Rosario Dawson.

The comedian’s memoir, “Rickles’ Book,” was published in 2007. John Landis directed a documentary on Rickles, “Mr. Warmth: The Don Rickles Project,” which debuted on HBO the same year. For his performance in the documentary, Rickles won an Emmy for individual performance in a variety or music program. In May 2014 the funnyman was saluted by the likes of David Letterman, Jerry Seinfeld and Jon Stewart in the Spike TV special “One Night Only: An All-Star Comedy Tribute to Don Rickles.”

Survivors include Rickles’ wife of 52 years, Barbara; a daughter and a son; and two grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Larry Rickles Endowment Fund at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

Our sincere condolences and thoughts are of course with Don’s family RIP 

Monday, 27 March 2017

Maestro Alessandro Alessandroni dies at 92

I was saddened to receive confirmation this morning that composer Alessandro Alessandroni has died in Rome at the age of 92. Not only an established composer in his own right, Alessandroni was also hugely respected and adored among the Eastwood community as working alongside Ennio Morricone and for famously providing that signature whistling that peppered those wonderful western scores.
As a tribute, I have decided to post the English translation from the Italian news network I have also made a couple of minor adjustments to avoid confusion as a result of that translation.

"It's very simple. I [received] a phone call (from) Ennio Morricone [who] said: 'Sandra, come on down for a moment, in the room [studio], you need to make a fischiatina' (a whistle). Well, it was really a fischiatina, nothing more, but think about what it is happened next ... When we saw the film, I have to admit that no one thought that would make any money. “Instead, the 'fischiatina' really did change everything. Alessandro Alessandroni, the Master - it is right to call it - says the opening words of the most famous of his career and most iconic piece of Western movies, that for a fistful of dollars, made up of Morricone, which made the films of Sergio Leone - and practically all the best western movie - even bigger. The composer, conductor and arranger Alessandro Alessandroni died in Rome, the city that March 18th, 1925 gave birth, March 26. He had just turned 92 years. The announcement came on the official Facebook page of the composer: "It is with great sorrow that I inform you of the death yesterday maestro Alessandro Alessandroni born in Rome on March 18, 1925, composer, multi-instrumentalist, arranger and choir conductor. It will be a memorial service at home in Namibia with music and musicians directed by his son Alex Jr. Alessandroni ".

Alessandroni approached music when he was still a boy. At the time he lives in the mother country, in the province of Viterbo. He was 11 years old and listened insistently, whenever he could to classical music. He began playing the guitar with assistance from a friend. The site is one of those details. He told in an interview to the blog Planet Hexacord : "I started in the barber shop, because in small countries is a reference point: there were the instruments, the guitar, the mandolin. They worked a little, but they played a lot. .. ". While he is attending the last year of high school he formed his first ensemble, with which he toured for local and dance halls. Fast to learn in a short time become proficient in several instruments, alternating during her performances: a teenager is already able to play the guitar, the piano, the accordion, sax, flute, mandolin and sitar, one of the first Italians to try their hand in this complex stringed instrument. Obtained diploma at the Conservatory in Rome, find a job in the film production company Fonolux There he meets the great Nino Rota, his senior by 14 years, who wants him in his orchestra. Then came the whistle. It was almost by accident. Alessandroni, at some point, when volunteers Rota needs a reason booed. Whistling become its new tool to play with and one of the characterizing moments spaghetti western soundtracks. Music in effect: "My whistle parts are on the staff," explained Alessandroni, "and woe to miss the pitch, to make mistakes." The thought also Federico Fellini, author of his soprannonme: Alessandroni for him was simply "The Whistle".

In 1962 he founded the octet I Cantori Moderni, a formation of his previous group, the Caravels Quartet. With them - the band is formed by soprano Edda Dell'Orso, Augusto Giardino, Franco Cosacchi, Nino Gods, Enzo Gioieni, Gianna Spagnuolo and, not least, the wife of Alessandroni Giulia De Mutiis.

The most important co-operation and long life of Alessandroni remains today the one with Ennio Morricone: besides the famous whistle for A Fistful of Dollars will also work in For a Few Dollars More and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Alessandroni is called by all the most important Italian composers of the time, in the sixties, such as Piero Umiliani, for which sings with his wife Julia in fantastic reason Mah-mah-nà nà , extracted from the soundtrack of Sweden, hell and paradise of Luigi Scattini (1968) and with the master Armando Trovajoli. 

With the arrival of the seventies, the ARC of the RCA, the label dedicated to the 'young Italian song', between beats and 'world exotico', a disc-public collection of twelve songs in the race edition of 1969 Canzonissima. They are recorded, of course, in an instrumental version and work on the Hammond organ solo is credited to Ron Alexander, his pseudonym.

The name of Alessandroni had become of worship across the board, had crossed generations and musical styles, and especially among library music lovers. Among the last to want it in their record Baustelle, group of Montepulciano, who chose him for one of their best albums. "Alessandro Alessandroni is the oldest guest," explained Francesco Bianconi, the singer, "a wonderful eighty-four that we did play the sitar, accordion, acoustic guitar and we did blow the whistle". The song title, not surprisingly, was Spaghetti Western - The album, Amen.

RIP Maestro – our thoughts and condolences are with the Alessandroni family. 

Sunday, 19 March 2017

The Clint Eastwood / Jack Robinson photo session July 1969

Jack Robinson, Jr. (September 18, 1928 – December 15, 1997) was an American photographer and stained glass designer. Robinson was freelance photographer for Vogue and The New York Times from the 1950s to the early 1970s before he left New York to return home to the American South and pursue a career as a stained glass designer.

In July, 1969, actor Clint Eastwood met Robinson for this photo session. By 1969, Eastwood had already appeared in several popular spaghetti westerns and the television show Rawhide. His films Hang ’em High and Coogan’s Bluff had been released the previous year and soon after these photographs were taken, Paint Your Wagon would be his next film to be released.