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Clint Eastwood: A Biography

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"Authoritative . . . highly nuanced . . . gives the reader a palpable sense of Mr. Eastwood's career." --The New York Times From the moment The Man With No Name first fixed the screen with his murderous squint, from the first time audiences heard Dirty Harry Callahan growl "Make my day," Clint Eastwood has been an icon of American manhood in all its coolness and ferocity. Bu "Authoritative . . . highly nuanced . . . gives the reader a palpable sense of Mr. Eastwood's career." --The New York Times From the moment The Man With No Name first fixed the screen with his murderous squint, from the first time audiences heard Dirty Harry Callahan growl "Make my day," Clint Eastwood has been an icon of American manhood in all its coolness and ferocity. But that icon is also an actor of surprising subtlety, a filmmaker of vast intelligence and originality--and an intensely private man who eludes the stereotypes with which his fans and critics try to label him. In this in-depth biography, the distinguished film critic Richard Schickel talks with Eastwood's family, friends, and colleagues--and, above all, with his notoriously reticent subject--to produce a portrait more astute and revealing than any we have ever had. Following Eastwood from his unstable childhood through his turbulent love affairs, assessing films from A Fistful of Dollars to the Oscar-winning The Unforgiven, and locating the subversive streak of rage and solitude that runs through all his work, Clint Eastwood is candid and endlessly fascinating, an unerring closeup of one of our brightest stars. "Exhilarating . . . substantial, insightful, and right." --Newsday


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"Authoritative . . . highly nuanced . . . gives the reader a palpable sense of Mr. Eastwood's career." --The New York Times From the moment The Man With No Name first fixed the screen with his murderous squint, from the first time audiences heard Dirty Harry Callahan growl "Make my day," Clint Eastwood has been an icon of American manhood in all its coolness and ferocity. Bu "Authoritative . . . highly nuanced . . . gives the reader a palpable sense of Mr. Eastwood's career." --The New York Times From the moment The Man With No Name first fixed the screen with his murderous squint, from the first time audiences heard Dirty Harry Callahan growl "Make my day," Clint Eastwood has been an icon of American manhood in all its coolness and ferocity. But that icon is also an actor of surprising subtlety, a filmmaker of vast intelligence and originality--and an intensely private man who eludes the stereotypes with which his fans and critics try to label him. In this in-depth biography, the distinguished film critic Richard Schickel talks with Eastwood's family, friends, and colleagues--and, above all, with his notoriously reticent subject--to produce a portrait more astute and revealing than any we have ever had. Following Eastwood from his unstable childhood through his turbulent love affairs, assessing films from A Fistful of Dollars to the Oscar-winning The Unforgiven, and locating the subversive streak of rage and solitude that runs through all his work, Clint Eastwood is candid and endlessly fascinating, an unerring closeup of one of our brightest stars. "Exhilarating . . . substantial, insightful, and right." --Newsday

30 review for Clint Eastwood: A Biography

  1. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    This book demonstrates there is something to admire about Eastwood (namely his work ethic and relative frugality) but also something to abhor (his womanizing). He is most noted for making non-traditional westerns as opposed to the mythical westerns of John Wayne. Perhaps if he had loosened up the reigns earlier in his career as a director the way he did in "Unforgiven", and every movie thereafter, he might have created more enduring films. Unquestionably an enigmatic figure - rare for a film sta This book demonstrates there is something to admire about Eastwood (namely his work ethic and relative frugality) but also something to abhor (his womanizing). He is most noted for making non-traditional westerns as opposed to the mythical westerns of John Wayne. Perhaps if he had loosened up the reigns earlier in his career as a director the way he did in "Unforgiven", and every movie thereafter, he might have created more enduring films. Unquestionably an enigmatic figure - rare for a film star of his calibre. My favorite portion was this paragraph early in the book discussing traditional (i.e. mythical) versus non-traditional westerns of television in the 1950's. "'There is something consensual here, some need for nightly reassurance that the family (which was also, metaphorically a small corporation), properly managed and controlled, could be an institution for all seasons, that its leader and father figure, was capable of mastering all situations. Daddy always knew best, even in the wide-open spaces. The old general in the fifties White House, the older doctors and lawyers on the medical and legal shows, the younger but no less controlling fathers of the sitcoms - all eventually rounded up their charges and headed 'em out on a righteous path. When today's right-wing social critics call for the media to celebrate 'family values' it is something like this they are nostalgically attempting to summon up. They forget - as people refused to acknowledge at the time - that there was always something abnormal about fifties normalcy. At best, the word refers us in any period to a consensus about what the culturally dominant middle class believes to constitute the good- or, anyway, respectable - life for its members and aspirants. Yet everyone knows that millions are excluded - or exclude themselves from these consensuses. The Era of Good Feelings that we thought we shared in the fifties was in the largest sense a fraud or, at best, a kind of metafiction. On most important matters - the relationship between races, sexes, classes, and generations, for example - it grotesquely, even tragically, misrepresented reality, with the mass media amplifying (and in the processs further distorting) this misrepresentation." Eastwood and Wayne differed in their viewpoint and objective for telling the story of the West but they respected each other nonetheless - a model of tolerance we should all attain.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jeppe Larsen

    Very detailed and wordy biography. Well written by Schickel, who seems to be a friend of Eastwood so there is not much criticism of Eastwood himself, but Schickel does still voice his opinion on Eastwood movies and especially its reviewers. You might not agree with all of Schickel comments, but it makes the reading less dry. The first part of the book deals with Eastwoods early life before his movie career, and this is where the book shines and is the most interesting. When his careers starts, th Very detailed and wordy biography. Well written by Schickel, who seems to be a friend of Eastwood so there is not much criticism of Eastwood himself, but Schickel does still voice his opinion on Eastwood movies and especially its reviewers. You might not agree with all of Schickel comments, but it makes the reading less dry. The first part of the book deals with Eastwoods early life before his movie career, and this is where the book shines and is the most interesting. When his careers starts, the Schickel basically goes from movie to movie which usually is in the form of Eastwood receives some script that he likes and sets off to make the movie. This can seem repetive, but what would you expect in a biography about a director and actor... While the first part can be enjoyed by everyone interested in the life of Eastwood, I would recommend to watch his movies first to get the most out of the chapters dealing with the making of these movies.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jaime

    I like Richard Schickel's biographical books because they are intimate yet respectful. In this biography, Schickel shines the spotlight on Clint Eastwood, one of my favorite actors and directors. The author paints a picture of a boy born in poverty grow to a teenager whose restless nature leads him to venture out. Eastwood's passion with jazz, cars and acting come through. His relationships are laid out and seen for hat they were - impetuous decisions. I love how we learn of his 'big break' in l I like Richard Schickel's biographical books because they are intimate yet respectful. In this biography, Schickel shines the spotlight on Clint Eastwood, one of my favorite actors and directors. The author paints a picture of a boy born in poverty grow to a teenager whose restless nature leads him to venture out. Eastwood's passion with jazz, cars and acting come through. His relationships are laid out and seen for hat they were - impetuous decisions. I love how we learn of his 'big break' in low-budget Italian westerns. We learn of the man's obsession for his level of acceptable performance and work product. Although he was shy, Schickel paints a man who is thrust into fame and still retreats from reporters. Finally, his great love for his industry, his family and this country come forth in many tales. This is an in-depth and wonderful biography and a 'must read' for film fans.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Grant

    Probably my best choice for anyone wanting to know how Clint Eastwood became the man he is today ranging from his upbringing to his recent past. In my opinion his range of films in both acting and directing is without peer and sometimes not given enough credit. Can you think of an actor/director with the cross section of films like The Good the Bad and the Ugly, Any Which Way But Loose, The Bridges of Madison County, Bird and In The Line of Fire...........and hes still going.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Larry Sampson

    Not the best biography. But there is a lot of detail about the making of Clint's movies. So for this fan it was a fun read. Now to find that actual biography about Clint. Not the best biography. But there is a lot of detail about the making of Clint's movies. So for this fan it was a fun read. Now to find that actual biography about Clint.

  6. 5 out of 5

    David

    Author Richard Schickel must've made Clint Eastwood's day. This positive biography avoid saying anything negative about the star and that is its most glaring weakness. Schickel does a great job of describing Eastwood's career and commitment to his art. The author emphasizes Eastwoods "kid gloves" approach towards actors as a director and leaves the reader convinced his is a kind and gentle man who is even-tempered MOST of the time. The star's impatience towards directors who tend to waste time a Author Richard Schickel must've made Clint Eastwood's day. This positive biography avoid saying anything negative about the star and that is its most glaring weakness. Schickel does a great job of describing Eastwood's career and commitment to his art. The author emphasizes Eastwoods "kid gloves" approach towards actors as a director and leaves the reader convinced his is a kind and gentle man who is even-tempered MOST of the time. The star's impatience towards directors who tend to waste time and money is there, even if it is a little downplayed. The reader is given a few inside anecdotes regarding the making of some films. However, in an effort to not say anything negative about the star he has Clint loving just about everybody. It is almost as if the effort is being made to keep his reputation strong for possible future Oscar nominations. Almost every story is shared in a diplomatic fashion. The closest he gets to animosity is when he describes the end of the affair with actress, Sandra Locke. Even then, there is an effort to soft-pedal the anger and enmity between the two. Eastwood's constant womanizing is front and center in the book, though often the names are left undisclosed. While Hollywood morals seem to be different from the rest of the mainstream world, the reader is led to believe that there is nothing abnormal about a man having multiple sexual liaisons despite being married. The real omission comes in the discussion of the making of the film "The Rookie" with Charlie Sheen. Very little is discussed of their relationship during the makings of this film. It is almost as if this section was edited to protect Sheen, though he may have been living a calmer life in the mid 90's. The author feels it necessary to summarize the story behind every Eastwood film. This is unnecessary, for he reveals far too much about these films. Okay, they've been out and available on home video, DVD, or Blueray for AGES, and many of his fans have seen them all. However, there are a few that this book made me want to add to my netflix DVD queue and I wasn't appreciative of the spoilers. Overall, this is obviously an "authorized" biography that refuses to show Eastwood's warts, conflicts, or even character flaws. Either Eastwood paid this author very well or the author had nothing but stars in his eyes as he wrote it. Enjoyable, but far from complete.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Antoni Savander

    Todella kattava historiikki yhden kautta aikojen ihailluimman ja menestyksekkäimmän näyttelijän ja ohjaajan elämästä. Napakkaa tekstiä, jossa lapsuus ja nuoruus kerrataan suht nopeasti, koska urasta on niin paljon kerrottavaa. Kirja on kirjoitettu ja julkaistu jo noin 25 vuotta sitten ja kuten tiedämme, Eastwoodin ura on jatkunut noiden vuosien ajan varsin tuotteliaana ja menestyksekkäänä. Paljon siis puuttuu, vaikka tässäkin oli jo yli 600 sivua luettavaa. Kirjan kirjoittanut Schickel onnistui Todella kattava historiikki yhden kautta aikojen ihailluimman ja menestyksekkäimmän näyttelijän ja ohjaajan elämästä. Napakkaa tekstiä, jossa lapsuus ja nuoruus kerrataan suht nopeasti, koska urasta on niin paljon kerrottavaa. Kirja on kirjoitettu ja julkaistu jo noin 25 vuotta sitten ja kuten tiedämme, Eastwoodin ura on jatkunut noiden vuosien ajan varsin tuotteliaana ja menestyksekkäänä. Paljon siis puuttuu, vaikka tässäkin oli jo yli 600 sivua luettavaa. Kirjan kirjoittanut Schickel onnistui työssään hyvin, ja niin onnistui myös suomentajakin. Kirja on mahtavaa vanhaa suomea, vaikka käännöstyö on melkein 2000-luvulta. Mahtavaa kun elokuvan tekovaihtetta kutsutaan kirjassa valmistamiseksi. Myöskään motiiveista ei tässä puhuta, ne ovat tietenkin vaikuttimia. Clint Eastwood on aina vaikuttanut mukavalta ja ystävälliseltä mieheltä, joka haluaa tehdä työnsä mahdollisimman hyvin. Hänestä ei ole myöskään koskaan kerrottu tarinoita ylimielisyydestä ja epäkohteliaisuudesta. Niitä ei tässäkään opuksessa tule esiin, ilmeisesti siitä syystä, että häneen eivät nuo huonoudet sovi. Toki "Itäpuu" on virheitäkin tehnyt ja ne kuitataan kirjassa enempiä repostelematta. Schickel käy läpi Eastwoodin elokuvauran tarkasti ja saa ajattelemaan nähtyjä elokuvia hieman eri vinkkelistä ja taitaa olla aika katsoa leffat jälleen pienen tauon jälkeen uudelleen. Kun tiedonvälitys oli lähes nollaluokkaa aikoinaan ennen sosiaalista mediaa, ei näistä elokuvien tekemisissä tapahtuneista jutuista tiennyt ennen kirjan lukemista mitään. Ainoa, mistä en kirjassa pitänyt, oli Clintille menestyselokuvan tarjonneen Hiljaiset sillat -kirjan totaalinen lyttääminen. Schickel olisi voinut ilmaista inhonsa kirjaa ja sen kirjailijaa kohtaan huomattavasti hellemmin, olihan siinä sentään sen verran hyvää, että sekä Eastwood että Steven Spielberg olivat siitä niin kiinnostuneita ja saivat vielä Meryl Streepinkin mukaan. Ja miksi Lännen tie -sarjan tunnari Rawhide piti sekin haukkua? Höh.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Stephen Chase

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. The best part of this book is his movie history!!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    I Really Loved This Autobiography on Mr. Eastwood. And I Also Love That He And I Back Our President. Fantastic Book About The movie Icons Life.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Shonda

    Awesome Book. Highly Recommend It. 😇

  11. 4 out of 5

    Loreleilouise

    Horrible. Agonizingly slow. Word for word conversations between directors and Clint. Scene by scene. I started skipping sections to be done with it.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Roland Kermarec

    D'une biographie, on attend en premier lieu qu'elle nous renseigne dans un style agréable sur la personnalté que l'on souhaite découvrir davantage. Ce fut totalement le cas ici : j'adore, comme chacun sait, Clint (à la fois l'acteur et l'homme public dans ses prises de position et dans l'image qu'il présente), et ma passion a été nourrie par le texte de Richard Schikel, par la "reconsitution" du parcours de sa carrière ou de sa vie personnelle, par les petites anecdotes sur tel ou tel tournage. D'une biographie, on attend en premier lieu qu'elle nous renseigne dans un style agréable sur la personnalté que l'on souhaite découvrir davantage. Ce fut totalement le cas ici : j'adore, comme chacun sait, Clint (à la fois l'acteur et l'homme public dans ses prises de position et dans l'image qu'il présente), et ma passion a été nourrie par le texte de Richard Schikel, par la "reconsitution" du parcours de sa carrière ou de sa vie personnelle, par les petites anecdotes sur tel ou tel tournage. On peut parfois regretter certains passages qui tournent trop au panégyrique ou surtout une certaine obsession de l'auteur pour une critique cinématographique américaine, Pauline Kael, à laquelle il fait malgré lui beaucoup trop honneur en ne cessant d'évoquer ses articles plus absurdes les uns que les autres, mais ce joli pavé remplit parfaitement son objectif.Vive Clint !

  13. 5 out of 5

    Joe

    I started reading this because I know somebody who is a personal friend of Clint. But - jeez - 500 pages is more information than I need about the man, especially when some of it is Richard Schickel, a movie critic, arguing with or refuting other critics such as Pauline Kael. Just tell me about Clint Eastwood, please. The analysis of TV westerns is fascinating as is the making of the first spaghetti western in which an entire genre was invented in a collaboration/clash between Eastwood and Sergi I started reading this because I know somebody who is a personal friend of Clint. But - jeez - 500 pages is more information than I need about the man, especially when some of it is Richard Schickel, a movie critic, arguing with or refuting other critics such as Pauline Kael. Just tell me about Clint Eastwood, please. The analysis of TV westerns is fascinating as is the making of the first spaghetti western in which an entire genre was invented in a collaboration/clash between Eastwood and Sergio Leone. Eastwood comes across as driven, shy, working-class, with great instincts and not much theory or abstraction. I like him better after reading the book, though oddly after 500 pages I still don't feel that I know the man. He's as unknowable as the characters he plays - which, of course, is probably the root of his strength as an actor.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Rafaey Ali

    Lots of insight into Clint's long and strange life/career, and the book's best when it concentrates on recollections by Clint and those around him. But...it gets bogged down by the excessively wordy film reviews. The author (Richard Schickel) feels the need to recap the ENTIRE spoiler-filled plot of every movie, sometimes scene-by-scene, sometimes psychoanalyzing each detail. You might consider just skipping over those parts and getting to the biography, especially for movies you haven't seen an Lots of insight into Clint's long and strange life/career, and the book's best when it concentrates on recollections by Clint and those around him. But...it gets bogged down by the excessively wordy film reviews. The author (Richard Schickel) feels the need to recap the ENTIRE spoiler-filled plot of every movie, sometimes scene-by-scene, sometimes psychoanalyzing each detail. You might consider just skipping over those parts and getting to the biography, especially for movies you haven't seen and don't want spoiled.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Margot

    Good stories of before he became an actor. The movie topics are a bit ponderous and I felt I needed to skim parts that went too indepth. Hard to tell where author and subject- Clint- opinions and stories blended. The author seems to inject negative opinions throughout. Hard to get through but Clint has lead an interesting life so I tried to read on.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Roxanne

    This book is pretty comprehensive. It is really more than I need to know. I admire the movies he has been in and I admire his talent. I do not admire how he treats the ladies in his life, he more or less kicks them to the curb when he done with them and this does not bother him. Good actor, not a very good person.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Elton Gsell

    This is an excellent read about an icon of cinema. If you are interested in cinema or interested in Clint Eastwood, this is a must read. Very comprehensive and a joy to read.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Randolph Breschini

    Good Ol'e Clint:) Good Ol'e Clint:)

  19. 4 out of 5

    Suzanne Kelly

    Finally finished this book. Interesting although I believe somewhat biased in Clint's favor. Can't have been much fun being one of the women in his life. Finally finished this book. Interesting although I believe somewhat biased in Clint's favor. Can't have been much fun being one of the women in his life.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    well written, in-depth, very interesting. i am really not a non-fiction person though - i will confess that i skimmed much of it. thorough skimming though.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Carl Laamanen

    Fantastic biography of Eastwood's life. Fantastic biography of Eastwood's life.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Scott McGovern

  23. 4 out of 5

    Fiona Grabowskyj

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jason

  25. 5 out of 5

    D'Artagnan

  26. 5 out of 5

    Dino Demiraca

  27. 5 out of 5

    Robert Burson

  28. 4 out of 5

    Sam

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

  30. 4 out of 5

    Tony Tower

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