Eastwood @ 80

David Hudson

Clint Eastwood was born on May 31, 1930. "Being underestimated is, for some people, a misfortune. For Eastwood, it became a weapon." David Denby in a New Yorker profile in March:

Eastwood has "starred in a hit TV show, Rawhide; appeared in more than fifty movies and directed thirty-one, often acting, directing, and producing at the same time; added several menacingly ironic locutions to the language, such as 'Make my day,' which Ronald Reagan quoted in the face of a congressional movement to raise taxes; become a kind of mythic-heroic-redemptive figure, interacting with public desire in a way that no actor has done since John Wayne; served as the mayor of Carmel; won four Oscars and received many other awards, including a hug from Nicolas Sarkozy while becoming commander of the Légion d'Honneur, last November. Those who were skeptical of Eastwood forty years ago (I'm one of them) have long since capitulated, retired, or died. He has outlasted everyone."

"Because he started out as an actor, and very quickly became an actor that a large segment of the population positively adored, in the same way that they adored Jimmy Cagney and Cary Grant and both Hepburns, Eastwood has long benefited from a personal relationship with the American people that no other living director can even dream of," writes Joe Queenan in the Guardian. "Eastwood's close relationship with his countrymen is the sort of thing that Michael Jordan, Joe DiMaggio, Marilyn Monroe and Babe Ruth all experienced. At a certain point, he, like Elvis Presley, crossed over into a land beyond reproach, where no blemish would ever go on his personal record, no matter how many Sondra Locke movies he made. It was OK to dislike this or that Eastwood movie — Pink Cadillac, Tightrope, The Gauntlet — as long as you did not dislike the man himself."

All month long, Joe Valdez has been writing about Eastwood at the rate of an entry a day: "31 Days of Eastwood" at This Distracted Globe.

It's Eastwood day on TCM and Michael Guillén's got a preview of the schedule, which includes The Eastwood Factor, a portrait by Richard Schickel, who's also got a book out, Clint: A Retrospective. "With the book," writes Jamie Portman for Canwest, "it's Schickel's task to assess Eastwood's unique place in Hollywood history and his evolution from bankable action star into the iconic filmmaker who, at the age of 62, started delivering a succession of remarkable achievements — Unforgiven, Mystic River, Letters From Iwo Jima, Million Dollar Baby. Schickel provides valuable context in showing how the blood-spattered, bullet-spitting imagery of Eastwood's Italian spaghetti westerns, and such early Hollywood hits as Dirty Harry, yielded to a more questioning approach to his craft of filmmaker."

A list from Pavan Amara and Charlotte Sundberg in the Independent: "Eighty things you might not know about the octogenarian and Hollywood legend Clint Eastwood." The Guardian's got "80 glorious pictures."

Congrats in the German-language press: Christina Höfferer and Andreas Kloner (Presse), Jens Jessen (Zeit), Felicitas Kleiner (Film-Dienst), Thomas Klingenmaier (Stuttgarter Zeitung), Daniel Kothenschulte (Frankfurter Rundschau), Verena Lueken (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung), Hanns-Georg Rodek (Welt), Christian Schröder (Tagesspiegel), Kira Tazman (Neues Deutschland), Anke Westphal (Berliner Zeitung) and Rudolf Worschech (epd Film).

Viewing. Filmkunst pulls together video essays by Kevin B Lee and Matt Zoller Seitz.

Updates: For TCM, suzidoll interviews Laurence Knapp, author of Directed by Clint Eastwood, who's also "developed and taught a course on Eastwood at Chicago's Columbia College."

At MovieFanFare, Jason Marcewicz lists a few "Underrated Films by Clint Eastwood." With trailers.

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