Iconic star of the cinema’s western and urban landscapes, CLINT EASTWOOD recently visited Edinburgh with his latest project as actor/director, White Hunter, Black Heart, a fictionalised portrait of larger-than-life filmmaker John Huston’s obsessive on-location behaviour. Trevor Johnston reports.
wo lank-haired figures in leather jackets and metal T-shirts of uncertain credibility dash along Lothian Road to make a breathless anouncement to the considerable crowd gathered outside the Caledonian Hotel. ‘He‘s gone out the back!’ the scruffy duo proclaim to the disappointed multitudes. ‘Aye, he‘s away on a coupla minutes ago.‘
The policeman on duty checks with his walkie talkie and gives a dour affirmative nod. Excitement over. The hundreds who’ve been waiting patiently for a glimpse of the imposing 60 year-old between hotel entrance and open limo door, begin to shufﬂe off grumbling as they go.
‘Who is this man Clint Eastwood anyway?’
‘Sure he’s shite. He’s a pensioner. My ma likes him.’
Ah, the fickleness of the Great Scottish Public. Yet the fact remains that Clinton Eastwood Jr, even at his advanced age, is still a considerable draw for punters and cineastes alike. Still in enviable shape, the lines on the face are a little more etched these days, and maybe you have to get through a little more forehead before you hit the hairline, but the fact is that the 1990 Clint looks pretty much like the model of fifteen years ago. Perhaps doing a lot of Dirty Harry movies agrees with your metabolism or something.
It keeps your box office muscle nice ‘n‘ supple, that’s for sure. Eastwood has the accomplished touch of finding a character that strikes a top-grossing bell with the audience, then developing it as far as it will feasibly go. After too many bit parts and too long a spell on pioneering w, " , . _ TVCOWpoke saga Rawhide, he whipped ’em up " ’ ' / I, 11;" and rolled ’em outto Europe andtyroauteur ’ l ’ ' " i ’ Sergio Leone to make an epochal trilogy of so-called spaghetti westerns which established his Man With No Name persona. Beginning with 1964’s A Fistful ofDollars. the pattern was set whereby he rode into some scrubby town, chomped on a slimline cheroOt, and eventually
wiped out the local Bad People with a cynical ﬂounsh of no-smt gunplay.
Having unsuccessfully tried to repeat the formula in America with Hang ’Em High, and tiring too of star sleepwalking in big budget actioners like Where Eagles Dare and Kelly '3 Heroes, it was in his fourth collaboration with gritty B-picture helmsman Don Siegel, the uncompromisineg brutal 1971 policier Dirty Harry, that the yet more iconic figure of Detective Harry Callahan was born. Toting a truly phallic .44 Magnum pistol, Eastwood’s law enforcement fantasy figure was to mete out
4The List 31 August — 13 September 1990