“The True Story… of Clint Eastwood”, on Paris Première: from the impassive cowboy to the Hollywood myth


Telling the career of Clint Eastwood through his private life, constantly linking one to the other, such is the bias of this documentary from the series “The True Story…” as part of an evening devoted to the actor and director (the film Hang ’em high and short airs at 9 p.m.).

Did Clint Eastwood’s love life directly influence his work, and vice versa? A people approach not devoid of relevance, but unfinished in this intriguing portrait of the man with four Oscars, not always up to his subject.

The “experts” follow one another, not really identifiable or identified, making their “confidences” quite impersonal. As for the anecdotes, the most interesting are overflown, including his falling out with Sergio Leone – who revealed the actor in his “dollar trilogy” – where Eastwood will earn his nickname “man with no name”.

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Similarly, with the exception of his marriage to Maggie Johnson and his extramarital relationship with Sondra Locke, it is difficult to feel the intensity of his love stories, which are, for the most part, only listed.

As if stuck between two audiences, on the one hand the unconditional moviegoers of Clint Eastwood, on the other the aficionados of the world people, the author of the documentary, Sue Ying Ng, seems to struggle to define his subject.

Clean scenarios

The report is captivating when it addresses the freedom of the actor, both in his romantic relationships and in his relationship to cinema; of his public image, that of the macho but not vulgar man, both virile and classy. “He embodies everything that white American men in particular would dream of being”says Bidisha Mamata, an American journalist.

An independence that will take on its full meaning after his meeting with Sergio Leone, who gives the actor a certain artistic vision, pushing him to go behind the camera. It was after filming the famous “spaghetti westerns” that Clint Eastwood launched his production company (Malpaso Productions). He directed his first film (A chill in the night) in 1971, and this began the beginning of a slow deconstruction of his image as an impassive cowboy.

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The report hits the mark when it emphasizes Clint Eastwood’s liberated character in an industry steeped in codes and traditions. He refuses to shoot in the studio, generally only does one and only one take, likes to work with refined scenarios and does not hesitate to stand up to the studios.

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“The True Story… of Clint Eastwood”, on Paris Première: from the impassive cowboy to the Hollywood myth