The Man With No Name has certainly carved a niche for himself in Hollywood history. Clint Eastwood, actor, director and musician has achieved cult status in cinema all over the world.
Starting with the cowboy TV series Rawhide, Eastwood starred in Sergio Leone’s Spaghetti Western Dollar trilogy which shot him to fame. The cool cowboy with a cigar and drawl captured the audiences all over the world.
But there was more to Eastwood than the cowboy image. His portrayal of a sardonic cop in the Dirty Harry series and subsequently a gentle old-time cowboy who takes the gun again in The Unforgiven has left lasting memories. He also became one of the top Hollywood directors with many hits to his credit. He celebrates his 87th birthday on May 31.
Here are five early Eastwood films which reaffirm his cult status:
Where Eagles Dare (1968)
Cast: Richard Burton, Clint Eastwood, Mary Ure
Director: Brain G Hutton
A fortress in the Alps during the Second World War becomes the centre of action after the Germans kidnap a top British Armyman and keep him there. A team led by Major John Smith (Burton) and US Ranger Lieutenant Morris Schaffer (Eastwood) infiltrate the fortress disguised as Germans.
The fortress is only accessible by cable car or helicopter. The team manage to locate the British Armyman but their identities are revealed. However, they escape after a dramatic finale ending in a cable car.
Hang ‘Em High (1968)
Cast: Clint Eastwood, Inger Stevens, Ed Begley, Pat Hingle, Ben Johnson, Bruce Dern, Charles McGraw
Director: Ted Post
Jed Cooper (Eastwood) is driving his cattle in Oklahoma when a posse catches him and accuses him of rustling the herd. They hang him for his crime and leave him for dead. But Cooper is rescued and brought into a town where he is pronounced innocent of his crime.
The judge warns him not to become a vigilante and instead offers him a job as a deputy US marshal. But Cooper is determined to use the law to bring them to book for their crime. Will he succeed?
Kelly’s Heroes (1970)
Cast: Clint Eastwood, Telly Savalas, Donald Sutherland, Don Rickles, Carroll O’Connor, Harry Dean Stanton
Director: Brain G Hutton
A disgruntled American army division decides to go for gold and decide to rob a bank while stationed in France during the Second World War. They are tempted to do so by Private Kelly (Eastwood) who is made a scapegoat for a failed assault and made to face the German fire.
The resourceful private cobbles together a crew to rob the bank which is 30km behind enemy lines. Then an American pilot mistakes Kelly’s group for the enemy and fires on them and they are left to continue their journey by foot.
Play Misty For Me (1971)
Cast: Clint Eastwood, Jessica Walter, Donna Mills, John Larch
Director: Clint Eastwood
Disc jockey Dave Garver (Eastwood) meets a fan Evelyn (Walter) who often asks him to pay the jazz number Misty. She confesses that the meeting in the bar was pre-planned and she liked him. Garver has a brief fling with her but it becomes excessively obsessive on her part.
She begins to stalk Garver after he rejects her. He tries to break his house but is caught and put in a mental hospital. Meanwhile, Garver rekindles his affair with an ex-girlfriend but a jealous Evelyn tries to get Graver back with grave consequences. This was Eastwood’s debut as a director and the film was a major success.
Every Which Way But Loose (1978)
Cast: Clint Eastwood, Sondra Locke, Geoffrey Lewis, Ruth Gordon, Beverley D’Angelo
Director: James Fargo
Trucker and bare knuckle fighter Philo Beddoe (Eastwood) goes in search of lost love Lynn (Locke) along with his friend Orville Briggs (Lewis) and his pet orang-utan Clyde. But the path is not easy.
He is followed by a motorcycle gang who pick up a fight with him. But he retaliates. He makes money by taking up fights on the way. He finally finds his lady love but she turns out to be totally different.