Follow up one Western director for another. It makes sense!
I decided to look through Clint Eastwood’s body of work as a director for a specific reason. When the Discovery/WB merger completed, one of the earliest stories about the takeover was David Zaslav being really angry that WB had greenlit Eastwood’s most recent film, Cry Macho. It was reported that WB knew that the film wouldn’t make its money back, but they greenlit it anyway out of a sense of loyalty to Eastwood. I doubt it would have made much money in a normal time, but the pandemic response nuked that potentiality completely. It did get released to theaters, but it made just this side of nothing (helped not at all by the lukewarm critical reception).
I read that story, and I knew one thing for sure: Clint Eastwood was never going to direct a film again. Granted, the man is ninety-two years old, but he did star in and direct a film just last year. He obviously thought it was in him, but with the management shakeup at WB, the studio he’s been at since the 70s, he’s not going to be able to just make a call and get thirty million dollars to make another film. His ability to make films for so long is obviously built on not just his name but his personal relationships with WB executives, and that’s over. I suppose he could get someone like Spielberg or Netflix to forward him the cash, but that would require the kind of hob-knobbing that a cantankerous nonagenarian probably isn’t up to. There are even reports floating around that he had a meeting with WB executives to pitch another film, and they rejected him, specifically because of the Cry Macho failure.
I think he’s done.
It’s not like he’s going out too early, though. He’s been directing films since 1971 and has made almost forty feature films in a wide variety of genres from Westerns to biopics to war movies to thrillers to dramas.
My preconception of his work is that he’s a talented craftsman without much in the way to say across his body of work, but I’m ready to be proven wrong.
Also, just a couple of notes. Firstly, I’m going to do the entire Dirty Harry series because Eastwood directed the fourth entry (Sudden Impact) and only doing that one would be weird. Also, I think I’m going to do Tightrope, which Eastwood is heavily rumored to have shadow-directed when he felt like the credited director Richard Tuggle didn’t work fast enough.
So, with that being said, let’s dig in!