In a 2002 interview Patrick McGilligan said of Clint Eastwood, “I think he’s a lazy actor and a lazy director. He’s a great image. This book is about how the image and the reality complement each other. There’s a false morality about Clint, the false morality of his life, which becomes the false morality of his films. It’s a disgusting reality, it’s all right to get revenge and kill people in nasty ways. It’s OK to triumph in comic book fashion over people as long as they’re evil. The message of his films in human and moral terms is that Clint wins, Clint survives, and good triumphs over evil because he’s always defined as good despite how many people he shoots…” For “Mixed Nuts” we talk with McGilligan about Clint Eastwood’s life and look specifically at a few representative films: Dirty Harry, Unforgiven, and American Sniper.
Patrick McGilligan is a film historian and writer. His biography on Alfred Hitchcock, Alfred Hitchcock: A Life in Darkness and Light, was a finalist for the Edgar Award. He is the author of two New York Times Notable Books, and he lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He is also noted for his biography on Clint Eastwood, Clint: The Life and Legend (updated and reissued by O/R Books), which reveals much about Eastwood which his official biography by Richard Schickel left out. In addition to Hitchcock and Eastwood, he has written biographies on Robert Altman, James Cagney, George Cukor, Fritz Lang, Oscar Micheaux, Jack Nicholson, and Nicholas Ray. He is also an editor of Backstory, which features interviews of Hollywood screenwriters and is published by the University of California Press.
Clint: The Life and Legend
From the publisher’s website:
With just one syllable, the man is identified: there can only be one Clint, the American lone wolf personified. And now, in the last few years, Clint Eastwood has become the point man for the American conservative movement, known for a certain lecture to an empty chair and his runaway hit “American Sniper.”
When this biography first appeared, it was met with critical praise for its research, and anger on the part of its subject to the point where he sued the author for $10 million: that suit, which resulted in the effective suppression of the book in the United States, was eventually settled without penalty or threat of future reprisal. Now updated and drawing on extensive interviews with intimates, legal documents and behind-the-scenes reportage on the making of his most famous (and obscure) films, Clint: The Life and Legend is, for fans as well as non-fans, the ultimate life story of this corroded pillar of Hollywood.
This update from the original edition encompasses Clint’s personal life since then — divorce, reality television, and Clint’s appearance before the 2012 Republican National Convention — and all his recent films, through to the success and controversy of “American Sniper.”
Intro: “Gran Torino” (theme) mixed with “Tumbling Tumbleweeds,” performed by Clint Eastwood
First Break: “Don’t Fence Me In,” performed by Clint Eastwood
Second Break: “Barroom Buddies,” performed by Merle Haggard and Clint Eastwood
Outro: “No Sweater Cheater Than You,” performed by Clint Eastwood
Producer & Host: Doug Storm
Board and Music Engineer: Jonathan Richardson
Executive Producer: Joe Crawford