So, here is the latest U.S. One sheet poster design released by Warner Bros for Clint's upcoming film The 15:17 to Paris. I have had an early look at the U.K. Quad equivalent and can confirm it is based on the same design. I'm wondering if the overall design will vary that much from country to country? The industry and their approach in general towards poster art seems to have reached a rather stagnant and uninspired level. Looking back at Sully, there was just the two varying designs - worldwide. It appears that those great days of poster collecting, and the beautiful range of designs that came with it, are well and truly over. It's a sad fact, but it appears that the promotion range, and the importance placed upon it, will never quite be the same...
Saturday, 13 January 2018
Friday, 12 January 2018
I received some news earlier this evening regarding the sad passing of Dave Toschi and felt that it should be mentioned here. I have of course used the story from The San Francisco Chronicle, as only I could…
Dave Toschi, a dapper cop who became the lead San Francisco police investigator for the Zodiac serial-killer case in the late 1960s and ’70s, has died at the age of 86.
Toschi died at his home in San Francisco on Saturday after a lengthy illness, relatives said.
The Zodiac terrorized the Bay Area in 1968 and 1969 when he stabbed or shot at least five people to death, writing taunting notes and cryptograms to police and newspapers including The Chronicle after his kills. Toschi was drawn into the case when he was assigned to investigate the killing of the Zodiac’s only San Francisco victim — Paul Stine, a cabbie shot to death in his taxi on Oct. 11, 1969.
It was the Zodiac’s final confirmed slaying. Like every other inspector looking into the saga, from federal agents to police in Vallejo and Napa County, Toschi was unable to solve the case. But he never lost zeal for the mystery, friends said.
“He was a super guy and a great cop,” said Duffy Jennings, who covered the Zodiac case as a Chronicle reporter in the 1970s and maintained a lifelong friendship with Toschi afterward. “And he told me that he still went every year on Oct. 11 to the Paul Stine murder scene to look around and try to figure out why they couldn’t catch the guy.
“The Zodiac case gnawed at him,” Jennings said. “He said it gave him an ulcer.”
Toschi was born in San Francisco and, after graduating from Galileo High School, he pulled combat duty in the Korean War with the Army. Upon his return to San Francisco in 1953, he was hired at the Police Department and stayed there until retiring in 1985. In addition to his work on the Zodiac killings, Toschi was part of the team that solved the racially motivated Zebra murders in the early 1970s, in which four black men were convicted of the random slayings of 14 white people. In 1985 he received a meritorious conduct award from the department for arresting a man who raped senior citizens and burglarized their homes.
His penchant for bow ties, snappy trench coats and the quick-draw holster for his .38-caliber pistol drew the attention of Steve McQueen, who patterned his character in the 1968 movie “Bullitt” after Toschi. Clint Eastwood’s “Dirty Harry” character was also partially inspired by him.
But it was the Zodiac case for which Toschi was best known. He worked the clues until 1978, when he was taken off the case after admitting he sent fan notes with fictitious names to then-Chronicle writer Armistead Maupin praising himself. Toschi told the San Francisco Examiner that the notes were an “ill-advised indulgence.”
In the brouhaha that resulted, there were suspicions that he might have also written a letter to The Chronicle that purported to be from the Zodiac. However, nothing was proved, Toschi denied it and he remained with the department as a homicide inspector until his retirement. He was portrayed by Mark Ruffalo in the 2007 movie “Zodiac.”
“I always looked up to him because he was this Italian guy who got this crazy case,” said Gianrico Pierucci, who retired in November after being the latest in a long line of homicide inspectors to head up the still-alive Zodiac investigation. “He was a good cop. He said he was always happy to get up and do his job.”
Of the Zodiac case, Pierucci said: “Dave did the best he could. He was always very pleasant and charming, and dapper, and Zodiac is a tough case.”
After leaving law enforcement, Toschi worked in the security business, including several years as vice president of Northstar Security Services.
“He loved books, music and could sing with the best of them,” said his daughter, Linda Toschi-Chambers of San Francisco. “His greatest pleasure was his loving family, and we will miss his keen sense of humor, his gentle guidance and his unconditional love.”
Toschi is survived by his wife, Carol Toschi of San Francisco; two daughters, Toschi-Chambers and Karen Leight of San Mateo County; and two granddaughters, Sarah Leight of Pacifica and Emma Leight of Los Angeles.
Private services were held Wednesday. Donations may be made in his name to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in San Francisco, or to a charity of choice.
Posted by Clint's archive at 22:31
Born in Chester in the UK, Paul Rowlands is a much respected friend of the Archive. Today, Paul lives in Japan. As a lifelong fan of movies, Paul also enjoys writing about them. In 2011 he created his own site Money into Light, a wonderful place where you will find interviews with actors and actresses, directors, screenwriters, producers, and many people connected to film and have fascinating stories to tell. Do try and take the time to explore Money into Light HERE, I think you’ll find it’s well worth the visit.
Some time ago, Paul wrote a rather nice piece on Michael Cimino’s much loved masterpiece which he has kindly permitted us to share as a part of our January celebration of Thunderbolt and Lightfoot. Our kindest thanks Paul. I should also point out that Paul’s essay does contain some spoilers; in the event that anyone has still yet to see this remarkable film. Did I really just say that?
THUNDERBOLT AND LIGHTFOOT (1974) is one of the most interesting films Clint Eastwood made in the 1970’s; during a period when he was at the peak of his stardom (he was the decade's top box-office draw). It wasn't one of his biggest hits, and although it is in many ways a typical Clint vehicle, in other ways it really broke new ground for him and anticipated the critical respect his career has enjoyed since his Oscar-winning UNFORGIVEN (1992).
The film is a 'buddy' picture, a road movie and a heist thriller, a welding of three genres particularly popular during that era. Eastwood stars as 'The Thunderbolt', a bank robber whose specialty is blowing open safes with a 20mm cannon. When we first meet him, it's clear that this picture is going to at least be a little different: Clint is wearing the dog collar of a clergyman and addressing his clergy! The first shots of the movie, the beautiful scenery of Montana, inform us that this isn't going to be an urban thriller like COOGAN'S BLUFF (1968) or DIRTY HARRY (1971). When two thugs suddenly burst into the church, shooting up the place in an attempt to kill Clint, it's clear within five minutes that Thunderbolt and Lightfoot is going to be an Eastwood action thriller like we are accustomed to, but also a little more offbeat, humorous and panoramic.
Thunderbolt and Lightfoot is the directorial debut of Michael Cimino, who went on to win an Oscar for directing the controversial THE DEER HUNTER (1978). He would later be blamed for bankrupting United Artists with the flop HEAVEN'S GATE (1980).
The original idea for the picture came from Cimino's agent Stan Kamen at the William Morris Agency. Kamen suggested he write a script on spec with Eastwood in mind. Upon reading the script, Eastwood was sufficiently impressed to consider directing it himself, having been happy with Cimino's work on MAGNUM FORCE (1973) and very interested in making a road movie (EASY RIDER had been a huge success in 1969). Eventually, Eastwood decided to give Cimino the director's chairs. It is clear Eastwood believed in Cimino's talent, but it's also highly probable that one factor was that he would be able to control him. Cimino later became famous for the number of takes he filmed, but according to Jeff Bridges, Cimino had to ask Eastwood for permission if he went over a few takes (but would allow it if Bridges wanted to try something different), and according to first assistant director Charles Okun, Eastwood would refuse to go over four takes and wouldn't stand for long set-up times. (The year before, Ted Post and Eastwood had clashed over Eastwood calling the shots too much.) Warner Brothers considered the film too offbeat for Eastwood, and declined to finance the film. Eastwood (whose Malpaso Company would produce the film) took the film to United Artists instead.
In the film, Eastwood flees his pursuers by accepting a lift from a happy go lucky, con-man drifter named Lightfoot (Jeff Bridges). The story now becomes a 'buddy' movie, in which the pair strike up an unlikely friendship. 'Thunderbolt' is an ex-Korean War veteran, about ten years older (in actuality nearly twenty!), a professional and a loner. Lightfoot is charmingly cocky, carefree and energetic. 'Thunderbolt' is touched and amused by his insistence on them becoming friends, and eventually brings him along on his next caper, alongside two ex-colleagues (an angry George Kennedy and an hilarious Geoffrey Lewis) who mistakenly believe Eastwood betrayed him on a previous 'job' and stole the loot. Meanwhile, Thunderbolt and Lightfoot secretly plan to locate and grab the missing loot for themselves.
Thunderbolt and Lightfoot is an interesting film because it delivers the entertainment we expect from an Eastwood vehicle, but there's something off-kilter going on both in and under the text. In his first film, Cimino exhibits mastery of tone. The picture's humour alternates between light and breezy (particularly hilarious are Kennedy and Lewis's adventures in suburbia as they get 'real jobs') and oddball. The scene involving the leads getting a lift from a deranged hillbilly (Bill McKinney in his first of seven Eastwood appearances - he's the guy who raped Ned Beatty in 1972's DELIVERANCE) comes out of nowhere and is both hilarious and a little disturbing. The hillbilly has an impressive car that attracts the hitch-hiking leads, but it becomes quickly clear that all is not right with their driver: he keeps a caged raccoon on the passenger seat and is going mad from the leaking carbon monoxide fumes coming off the broken exhaust pipe (which he has broken on purpose). Eastwood and Bridges are trapped in the back seat. Once they manage to get out of the car, the guy opens his trunk to reveal numerous white rabbits. As they proceed to escape, he starts shooting at them, before being overpowered by the mighty fists of Eastwood. The scene is an important scene in the film not only because it's an entertaining highlight, but also because it's a brilliant example of how the film works on two levels. It works as a funny detour that could simply exhibit Cimino's odd sense of humour, but it also works subtextually. It's ambiguous enough to have many possible readings (certainly the dangers of 'the road' or America itself that lurk below the surface is a persuasive one), but it arguably is meant to foreshadow, and subliminally prepare us for, the devastating ending where Jeff Bridges is kicked to death by George Kennedy and has a slow death that Eastwood fails to notice until he slumps on the car seat.
Thunderbolt and Lightfoot is predominantly a 'male' film. Women don't get too much of a look in the film, and the characters don't seem too interested in the personalities of the women they meet, only their bodies (note the woman who flashes her naked body to Bridges from the living room window).
This may just be a convention of the 'buddy' movie, which some commentators have decided is an anti-feminist genre anyway, but Cimino uses the genre to go a little deeper. Eastwood's sex scene in the film has him appear disinterested and embarrassed. Peter Biskind (the author of 'Easy Riders, Raging Bulls', 1998) wrote a very interesting review upon the film's release, believing the film to have 'frank and undisguised contempt for heterosexuality' and 'occupy(ing) and exploit(ing) an area where homosexual and working class attitudes towards women overlap'.
He goes on to say that 'the action becomes a thinly disguised metaphor for the sexual tensions between the two principle characters.' (Certainly there are not many things more phallic than a 20mm cannon or a cigar, objects prominent on the many different posters used to promote the film worldwide.)
One reading of the film is that Bridges' character is the catalyst for change in the film. His relationships with Eastwood and George Kennedy are very different but they share one quality: they are both attracted to him. Eastwood and Kennedy's characters are both war veterans who have been damaged or disillusioned by their experiences. In one shot we see that Eastwood has been physically damaged by war: he is wearing a leg brace. In another scene Eastwood pops his shoulder out, making the film one of the first examples where he is allowed to appear vulnerable. Interestingly, Eastwood also had a damaged leg in THE BEGUILED (1971). By the end of the film, Eastwood's notions of the limits of male friendship have been proved wrong.
He has achieved a close relationship with Bridges. Kennedy is a repressed man who cannot abide his sexual attraction to Bridges, and when Bridges jokingly kisses him on the mouth (literally giving him what he wants), Bridges fate is sealed. He will die for bringing out into the open what Kennedy (and society?) wants to be sealed forever. One could also see Bridges' death as representing the death of '60's idealism. The energy and positivity of Bridges has real worth, but at the end of the day, 'traditional' and 'straight' values will always prevail. Eastwood returns to the familiar world he lives in at the end of the film, but he has been forever been changed and his victory (reclaiming the loot he had stashed away from a previous robbery) now seems hollow. America was changed forever by the idealism of the '60's, but it couldn't and wouldn't be allowed to exist forever.
Up until the aftermath of the heist (in which Bridges is required to dress in drag), the film has maintained a balance of humour and action, crossed with 'buddy' movie elements and the mountainous landscape of Montana being almost a character in the film, courtesy of Frank Stanley's fine widescreen camerawork. With the 'aftermath', the film unexpectedly (although we have had the subliminal foreshadowing) shifts gears to become a tragedy. George Kennedy kicks Bridges to death, and as the pair approach their victory and find the stashed loot in a one-room schoolhouse, we the audience (and not Eastwood) see that something is very wrong with Bridges' condition. It's unexpectedly heart-breaking, being twinned with the moment of victory. Bridges' performance here is almost certainly what won him the Best Supporting Actor nomination (the second of six nominations). It's brilliant. First you see him get bothered, next worried, then unnerved, and finally overcome by the paralysis creeping through his face and body. It's one of the most memorable and moving bits of acting in cinema. The scene also marks Cimino as a major director. We now realise that he has subverted our expectations of what an Eastwood picture, a buddy movie or a heist thriller should be. It doesn't feel like a trick or a betrayal because subliminally we have been prepared, and we now realise that Cimino was playing for keeps all along. The ending doesn't make us feel angry because it feels right: life is light and breezy, sometimes oddball, sometimes exciting, is defined by how close we get to people...but the spectre of death, of a reversal of fortune, of fate, of the consequences of our actions, of being 'free' in a 'straight' society is always present even if we are too preoccupied to pay notice to it.
Eastwood was unhappy with the $9m domestic gross of the film (although it eventually recouped the $4m budget over six times in the US alone) and blamed UA for weak promotion. He vowed he would 'never work for UA' again, and cancelled a two-film deal he had signed with the studio. Some have proffered that his anger was really due to the fact that he felt upstaged by Bridges and/ or he felt he should have been pushed for an Oscar nomination as well. Regardless of whether or not he should have been nominated (he should have been), his performance is both subtle (one can see a flicker of sorrow on his face when he drives off at the end with a dead Bridges beside him) and generous one (he allows Bridges to shine and never tries to upstage him, and with Kennedy and Lewis allowed their own space in the film, it's almost an ensemble piece anyway). He and Bridges have good chemistry), which makes the film work. They're a great match, the still, taciturn Eastwood and the ball of energy Bridges. One is really convinced that the actors really liked each other (which reading between the lines in interviews they almost certainly did). In fact, Eastwood has rarely been as relaxed, as self-deprecating and as human as in his scenes opposite Bridges. It's a shame they never collaborated again, and a double shame because the great majority of Eastwood's future co-stars never rose up to the challenge or had the chops to share the screen with him.
Bridges is simply a great actor who until recently, I’ve considered to be the most underrated actor alive. He's one of the most likeable actors ever too, and despite having the showier role, he is quite a subtle actor himself. Lightfoot is a character who could easily become tiresome (he's always 'on'), but he makes the character so 'alive' and in tune with himself that he becomes the pulse and heart of the picture, making his death all the more powerful. For once, we actually wonder whether Eastwood will be able to cope with the loss of a loved one and maintain his loner mind-set.
Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, despite its cult status, deserves even more recognition. It's deceptively light and breezy tone and status as an Eastwood vehicle disguise the fact that there are more interesting things going on underneath if you're willing to look. It's also the most consistent, balanced and well-paced film Cimino has ever directed, and deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as THE DEER HUNTER and HEAVEN'S GATE. It's so much more than just a minor work from a director who went on to bigger and better things.
NB. It's interesting that Cimino was the only director given a break by Eastwood who ever had a successful film afterwards. Even Cimino's success is limited to THE DEER HUNTER. That said, HEAVEN'S GATE and YEAR OF THE DRAGON (1985) now have their admirers (including me). James Fargo, Buddy Van Horn and Richard Tuggle have all failed to capitalise on their time with Eastwood.
'Clint: The Life and Legend' by Patrick McGilligan (Harper Collins, 1999)
'Clint Eastwood in the 1970s': Wikipedia entry
'Sexual Politics in 'Thunderbolt and Lightfoot' by Peter Biskind, Jump Up no.4, 1974
'Thunderbolt and Lightfoot' : Wikipedia entry
Posted by Clint's archive at 21:33
Thursday, 11 January 2018
As we are celebrating Thunderbolt and Lightfoot this January on the Archive, I thought it would be nice to share this very rarely seen summer Trade Ad from United Artists. As the film was released in America on May 24th 1974, this Ad was probably published within a trade paper such as Variety around the June or July period and probably for one day only.
Below that, from the U.S. to the U.K. - it took some 6 months for Thunderbolt and Lightfoot to cross the pond, eventually being released in London and surrounding regions during the November of 1974.
Posted by Clint's archive at 20:40
Wednesday, 10 January 2018
I recently discovered this wonderful little story which originally appeared in the Great Falls Tribune – June 18th 2017. It also led me to track down a couple of ‘then and now’ photos which illustrate just how little this beautiful part of Montana has changed over the decades.
Thunderbolt and Lightfoot was produced largely in Great Falls and the surrounding area. It’s a classic, starring Clint Eastwood and Jeff Bridges, and for many it’s memorable. For one man who lives across the world, the film has formed the fabric of his life.
Klaus Erik Okstad 57, is a TV journalist from Norway who first saw the film in 1974. He’s been obsessed with it ever since. Five years ago, he made his first trip to Big Sky Country.
“Having had Montana in and my mind since 1974 I was finally ‘coming home,’” Klaus says in an email. “Driving in evening light towards Choteau I felt instantly I was in the movie and that with very few exceptions the Great Falls area buildings and landscapes look pretty much like they did in 1973.”
The crime film, which also starred George Kennedy and was directed by Michael Cimino, who later made the brilliant “Deer Hunter,” was shot in the summer of 1973 on location in Hobson, Wolf Creek, Fort Benton and Great Falls.
“The real star of this picture is the Montana landscape,” Klaus says. “It was love at first sight. From the fabulous opening shot of the church in Hobson to the final images on I-15 the film gives you a sense ‘Place and America’ that really moved me. I think it is one of the best ‘location movies’ Hollywood has made.”
Klaus has made two additional trips to the Great Falls area, always with the intent of visiting the locations used in the filming. “The three trips,” he says, “have resulted in a large-format, three-volume book. One for every location in the film with comparison shots location today.” He has 300 pages worth, and has even given a copy to Jeff Bridges. Klaus was in California in December of 2015 and Bridges was giving a musical concert at the Fremont Theatre in San Luis Obispo.
(left) Klaus showed up five hours before the event and bingo, Bridges was there to rehearse. “He had long hair and an avalanche of a beard,” Klaus says, “but he was instantly recognisable.” So Klaus told the actor he had a gift for him and handed over the 300 pages on the Great Falls movie made decades before. “He was all smiles,” Klaus says. “And as I was about to show him the book he looked at my very loud shirt with a Navajo pattern and said: ‘Cool shirt, man.’ His laid-back California presence is something to behold.” Bridges, of course, has had a fabulous career on the silver screen, with films like “True Grit, The Big Lebowski, Crazy Heart” and “The Last Picture Show.” “He remains,” says Klaus, “a favourite actor of mine.”
Clint Eastwood has been a favourite for millions of movie-goers for decades. It was true in 1973 as well. But Clint wasn’t really treated like a celebrity when he spent time in the Minneapolis Bar, the late, great lower Southside watering hole that for more than 100 years offered boozing and schmoozing for Great Falls folks. Paul Horning and his family owned the place. Back in 1973 Paul was an 18-year-old bartender and, he says, “sure enough Eastwood was hanging out at the Minnie House.” Paulie says he saw the famed actor more than once. “He was there probably a dozen or 15 times,” Paul says. “And the last time he was in, he came up to my father (Phil) and I and said ‘Thanks guys, for making for feel so welcome here and for not letting other people bother me.’”
So the Hornings looked out for Clint and kept the regulars away?
“We didn’t have to,” Paul says. “What was amazing about the whole thing was people would come in and go, ‘Oh look, is that Clint Eastwood over there shooting pool? Hey it is, isn’t that cool. OK, give me a Bud.’ “The whole time he was in here I think one person asked him for an autograph,” Paul laughs. Clint usually had a few folks with him in the bar. But one time he was alone. “He was looking for somebody to play pool against,” Paul says. “And I said I would. He goes, ‘Do you want to play for a beer, kid?’ And I was like sure.” It was Paulie’s bar. And guess who won the game? “So he had to buy me a beer,” Paul laughs. “I should have saved that beer.”
Klaus has never met Clint Eastwood. But he has met his son, Kyle. “Kyle had a bit part in Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, ” Klaus says. “He buys an ice cream outside Meadowlark school.” Klaus met Kyle at a jazz concert in Oslo four years ago. “Kyle was five at the time (of the Great Falls movie shoot),” Klaus says. “He called it his first paid gig, since he got the $25 that all the extras got.” Klaus says the Great Falls Tribune covered the filming at Meadowlark and had photos of Clint and Kyle between takes.
Below: Meadowlark Elementary School, 2204 Fox Farm Road, Great Falls, Montana -Then and Now
What captured Klaus about the film then and now?
“The film turns on the Eastwood-Bridges relationship,” Klaus says. “Eastwood confidently draws on his tender, vulnerable side. And Bridges, after his adult debut in ‘The Last Picture Show’ (1971), continues to refine and define his role as the optimistic, small-town all-American boy, retaining a cheerful, bewildered innocence even as he grows older.” If Klaus sounds like he’s carried away by the 44-year-old film, it’s because he is. And really, what’s wrong with that? “I will definitely visit Great Falls and the surrounding areas again,” he says. “And have breakfast at Tracy's on Central Avenue. I am from mountainous Norway but simply love the Rocky Mountain Front and the plains below it.
“Prairie,” he adds, “we ain't got in Norway.” Klaus has a message he wants to spread, too. “If any of you good Great Falls citizens have pictures or stories from the shooting of the film 44 years ago,” he says, “please let me hear from you.”
Below: The house on River view Drive East, Great Falls, Montana, that lawn is still looking good
Posted by Clint's archive at 01:22
Saturday, 6 January 2018
It’s no secret; Eastwood has always had a love of cars, meaty cars! I thought it would be interesting to put some great pictures to good use and produce a short piece tracing some of Clint’s cars through the decades. The classic car had become a symbol of success, James Dean, Steve McQueen and Paul Newman are just a few names that immediately spring to mind and to a certain extent, will always be linked to fast cars. So it’s perhaps no surprise that Eastwood would eventually join that elite club. Very early pictures of a teenage Eastwood place him behind the wheel, a petrol head that liked to cruise as much as any other kid on the block. The earliest existing photo I have of Clint in a car is believed to be a very old 1927 Ford T bucket (above). However, by the time he reached his twenties, the long running success of Rawhide provided him with a regular salary and with it, some welcome disposable income – a home with Maggie and a few ‘boys’ toys’ suddenly became accessible.
The Jaguar XK150 was a sports car produced by Jaguar between 1957 and 1961. The XK150 roadster was radically revised from previous models. The open two-seater broke with tradition and was fitted with high wind-up windows in its new taller doors but retained the very simple folding roof of its predecessors. A one-piece windscreen replaced the split screen, and the wing line no longer dropped so deeply at the doors. The widened bonnet opened down to the wings, and on the open two-seater the windscreen frame was moved back 4 inches (102 mm) to make the bonnet longer. The car was available at various times in Red, Pearl Grey, White (which appears to be Clint’s colour of choice), Indigo Blue, Claret, Cotswold Blue, Black, Mist Grey, Sherwood Green, Carmen Red, British Racing Green, Cornish Grey, and Imperial Maroon. A 250 bhp 3.4 litre XK150S fixed-head coupé with limited slip differential was tested by The Motor in 1959. It had a top speed of 132 mph (212 km/h) and could accelerate from 0–60 mph (97 km/h) in 7.8 seconds. Fuel consumption of 22.0 miles per imperial gallon (12.8 L/100 km; 18.3 mpg‑US) was recorded. The test car cost £2110 including taxes of £623. It was at the time the fastest closed car the magazine had ever subjected to a full road test. There have been several photos available for a number of years that picture both Clint and Maggie proudly cleaning or working on the car outside or on the drive of their home.
The Cadillac Eldorado was a personal luxury car that was manufactured and marketed by Cadillac from 1952 to 2002 over ten generations. The Eldorado was at or near the top of the Cadillac line during early model years. The original 1953 Eldorado convertible and the Eldorado Brougham models of 1957–1960 were the most expensive models that Cadillac offered. Whilst this rare picture of Clint and Maggie is dated as 1960, the car appears to be a 1955 Cadillac Eldorado sport convertible. For 1955, the Eldorado's body gained its own rear end styling with high, slender, pointed tailfins. These contrasted with the rather thick, bulbous fins which were common at the time and were an example of the Eldorado once again pointing the way forward. The Eldorado sport convertible featured extras such as wide chrome body belt mouldings and twin round taillights halfway up the fenders. Due to a lack of photos, I can’t confirm if Clint ever owned the Cadillac pictured, it may be possible that the car was a rental that the couple used for a vacation or a trip.
The Austin-Healey 100 was a sports car built from 1953 until 1956. It was developed by Donald Healey to be produced in-house by his small Healey car company in Warwick and based on Austin A90 Atlantic mechanicals. Healey built a single Healey Hundred for the 1952 London Motor Show, and the design impressed Leonard Lord, managing director of Austin, who was looking for a replacement to the unsuccessful A90. Body styling was by Gerry Coker, the chassis was designed by Barry Bilbie with longitudinal members and cross bracing producing a comparatively stiff structure upon which to mount the body. In order to keep the overall vehicle height low the rear axle was underslung, the chassis frame passing under the rear axle assembly.
Lord struck a deal with Healey to build it in quantity, bodies made by Jensen Motors were given Austin mechanical components at Austin's Longbridge factory. The car was renamed the Austin-Healey 100. The "100" was named by Healey for the car's ability to reach 100 mph (160 km/h); its successor, the better known Austin-Healey 3000, was named for the 3000 cc displacement of its engine.
Production Austin-Healey 100s were finished at Austin's Longbridge plant alongside the A90 and based on fully trimmed and painted body/chassis units produced by Jensen in West Bromwich - in an arrangement the two companies previously had explored with the Austin A40 Sports. 14,634 Austin-Healey 100s were produced.
The Austin Healey was a bit of an unusual choice for a Hollywood star, in the 50’s and 60’s E-Types were exceedingly popular amongst the celluloid elite, as were Ferraris, Astons and of course, the drop-top Mercedes. Nevertheless, it is obvious from the photos, Clint took a great deal of pride in owning one – and liked keeping it clean. The photos are credited as circa 1958.
After the success of the first two ‘Dollar’ films, Eastwood was asked to return for a third film, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966). At first, he was a little reluctant, however – a higher salary, a percentage of the profits and a sweetener in the shape of a new Ferrari 275 GTB was enough for him to return to Spain. It was in these pictures (from 1967) that Clint was seen with the car. The Ferrari 275 was a series of two-seat front-engine V12-powered automobiles produced in GT, roadster, and spyder form by Ferrari between 1964 and 1968. It was the first Ferrari to be equipped with a transaxle, the 275 is powered by a 3.3 L (3286 cc) Colombo 60° V12 engine that produced 280-300 hp. Motor Trend Classic named the 275 GTB gran turismo/GTS roadster as number three in their list of the ten "Greatest Ferraris of all time". The car was purchased in 1966 by Dino de Laurentiis' Polar Films of Rome with Clint becoming the registered owner later that same year. It is hard to distinguish the original colour of Clint’s Ferrari due to the first two pictures being in b/w. However, the colour picture of Clint leaning against the same car appears to be from the early seventies and appears to be a silvery steel colour; this is the only colour picture I have of the car. On occasions, I believe it was also affectionately referred to as the ‘silver bullet’. However, what we do know is that some 10 years after the purchase the car was repainted.
George Barris (November 20, 1925 – November 5, 2015) was an American designer and builder of many famous Hollywood custom cars, most notably the Munster Koach and 1966 Batmobile. His 1974 book, Cars of the Stars is a highly recommended read if you are lucky enough to still find a copy. Barris was the ‘go to’ man in Hollywood, and was responsible for modernising Clint’s Ferrari 275.
‘I met Clint over at the studios working on a project. He wanted his Ferrari repainted, so he dropped it off. The Ferrari was about 10 years old and showing a little wear and tear because Clint liked driving it. We stripped and repainted it in a rich, light metallic green. It was kind of a classic colour for the car. It was one of the cool looking V-12 275 GTB coupes. In its day it was the cutting edge, with a Pininfarina- designed body and 300 horsepower to play with! Clint’s had Borrani knock-off chrome wire wheels and as I recall, most other 275s had Ferrari’s new cast-alloy wheels. We also did a Mini Cooper for him in white and blue. We added power windows, something no other Mini had. He was a very gracious guy, and he came to help me out with the voice-over for the soundtrack on a film we were making on the assembly of one of my Barris AMF custom bikes. We hung out and talked cars, and I used to see him around the studios often. He loved to stop in for a chat and to catch up on the car news.’
Below: Clint with George Barris, the 275 GTB before the repaint, and after.
Clint would eventually part company with the 275 GTB. In December 1985 it was offered by Motorcar Gallery Inc., Ft. Lauderdale, FL, USA for $65,000. In August, 1999 it was offered by Paul Baber of London where the plate was registered as JKE 92D. In 2004 it appeared at Bonham’s Ferrari Auction in Gstaad and confirmed within the auction report:
A number of things can add value to a particular chassis; one of the most important of these is its previous ownership. Such is the case with the green 275 GTB present, which was driven around Rome in 1966 by movie star Clint Eastwood. It was offered to him as a present by the famous Polar Films Company, for whom Eastwood starred in the legendary Sergio Leone 'Spaghetti Westerns'.
Not a bad piece of provenance…
The Ferrari also showed up in 2007 at the Ferrari 60th Anniversary, Concours d'Elegance.
Whilst Clint parted company with the 275 GTB he certainly upheld his relationship with Ferrari, namely in the shape of the slick Black 365 GT4 BB (Berlinetta Boxer). By 1972, Ferrari was actually a little bit behind the times, and for a company whose reputation was staked on performance and technological prowess, that just wouldn’t do. Although a mid-engine layout had all but become a requirement for Grand Prix and sports-GT prototype racers in the early 1960s, Ferrari still lacked a mid-engine road car. This absence was made more glaring by the success of the Lamborghini Miura and then the Countach, which became an instant icon when it first hit the streets in 1971 in spite of a lack of racing pedigree.
The challenge could not go unanswered, and Ferrari’s return shot was the 365 GT4 BB. Ferrari’s first mid-engine flat twelve-cylinder road car made its debut in 1971 and hit the streets two years later. The car was based on the Pininfarina P6 concept car that appeared in 1968, and replaced the wildly successful front-engine Daytona. The new chassis was combined with a new flat-twelve engine, and this pairing would set the tone for Ferrari’s twelve-cylinder road cars for years to come.
There was a good reason for this: the 365 GT4 BB delivered on all of its promises, with interest. Capable of over 175 mph, it was easily among the world’s fastest road cars. Racing success wasn’t quite as forthcoming, and the racing 365 GT4 BB fielded by Luigi Chinetti’s North American Racing Team (NART) was not particularly competitive. That didn’t stop the 365 GT4 BB from becoming one of Ferrari’s most iconic cars, however. There are very few pictures of Clint with the Black Ferrari. However, one picture in particular does indicate that he was still driving it in 1977.
Whist the picture (right) showing Clint sitting in the car (with Heidi Frazetta, daughter of Frank) is only in b/w, the curvature of the side window indicates it is the Black 365 GT4. The photo was taken when Clint and Sondra Locke were collecting the original poster artwork for The Gauntlet painted by legendary artist Frank Frazetta. The Gauntlet was released in the December of 1977.
1978 also saw Clint with yet another Ferrari, this time a Red 308 GTB. The 308's body was designed by Pininfarina's Leonardo Fioravanti, who had been responsible for some of Ferrari's most celebrated shapes to date such as Clint’s 365 GT4. The Pininfarina-styled Ferrari 308 GTB was introduced at the Paris Motor Show in 1975 as a supplement to the Bertone-shaped 2+2 Dino 308 GT4 and a direct replacement for the 2-seater Dino 246.
Its F106 AB V8 engine was equipped with four twin-choke Weber 40DCNF carburettors and single coil ignition. European versions produced 255 PS (188 kW; 252 bhp) at 6600 rpm (7700 rpm redline), but American versions were down to 240 PS (177 kW; 237 bhp) at 6,600 rpm due to emissions control devices. European specification cars used dry sump lubrication. Cars destined to the Australian, Japanese and U.S. market and were fitted with a conventional wet sump engine from the GT4.
A notable aspect of the early 308 GTB was that, although still built by Carrozzeria Scaglietti, its bodywork was entirely made of glass-reinforced plastic (or GRP), allowing a very light weight of 1,050 kg (2,315 lb). This lasted until June 1977, when the 308 was switched to steel bodies, resulting in an overall weight increase of approximately 150 kg (331 lb).
Five-spoke 14-inch alloy wheels were standard, while 16-inch wheels were made available later as an option, together with sports exhaust system, high compression pistons, and high lift camshaft.
The advertising campaigns of the time certainly hinted (perhaps with somewhat sexist overtones) that the Ferrari was a ‘man’s’ car.
‘There’s a certain mystique which surrounds the Ferrari owner. He’s behind the wheel of a Ferrari simply because he wants to be’.
The ‘mystique’ element certainly captures a degree of Clint’s screen persona – and I suppose the advertisement was a typical product of its time – where the macho qualities of a man’s man were far more defined and accepted - and in general part of the whole 70s cultural scene.
Again, there are not too many pictures of Clint with the Red 308 GTB. There is this beautiful Japanese cutting which was spread over a double page and showing Clint standing next to the car. However, I do have 3 original 35mm transparencies in my collection showing Clint inside the car and driving it. Also note that there’s also the suggestion of another Ferrari, as one of the transparencies clearly shows a different cream coloured interior…
Leaping forward now to Clint’s acclaimed film Gran Torino (2008). It was on the Blu-ray extras that Clint revealed that he ‘held on to the car’ and purchased it from the owner. The Torino was produced by Ford for the North American market between 1968 and 1976. It was also a competitor in the intermediate market segment. The car was named after the city of Turin (Torino, in Italian), considered "the Italian Detroit". The Torino was initially an upscale variation of the intermediate sized Ford Fairlane, which Ford produced between 1962 and 1970. Whilst the Torino had already enjoyed a certain degree of recognition via the popular TV show Starsky and Hutch, the car featured in Clint’s movie was a 1972 Gran Torino Sport.
The Gran Torino Sport was offered in two body styles: A 2-door formal hardtop and a 2-door Sports roof, also a hardtop. All Sport models featured an integrated hood scoop, which was only functional with the optional and rare Ram Air Induction system. Also included with this model was the twin colour-keyed racing mirrors, moulded door panels unique to the Sport model, body-side and wheel lip moldings, and F70-14 tires (E70-14 on hardtop models). A revised full body length laser stripe remained an option. It replaced the chrome side molding, and was available in four colours to match the exterior paint. For the driving enthusiast, the "Rallye Equipment Group" included the Instrumentation Group, Competition Suspension, G70-14 tires with raised white letters, and a Hurst shifter for those equipped with the 4-speed. The Rallye Equipment Group was available the 351CJ-4V or the 429-4V exclusively. The Competition Suspension was highly regarded by Tom McCahill of Mechanix illustrated, as well as Motor Trend and Car and Driver as being less harsh than past Torino performance suspensions, while still offering excellent handling. Motor Trend described the suspension as "Unlike the super heavy-duty springs of years past, the folks at Ford have managed to produce superior ride control without harshness. It takes a ride in one [Torino] to truly appreciate it." Torino's new and improved chassis and suspension design can be attributed to this improvement.
Finally – While discussing Gran Torino in 2008 with Anthony Breznican of USA TODAY the subject moved on to cars in general, and saw Clint open up about some of his own cars.
Eastwood has a passion for cars; though he jokes he's no Jay Leno: “Jay has a huge collection. I'm not that much of a collector, but I have a couple of old cars.”
“I still have that old Lincoln convertible limousine we used in Honkytonk Man," he says.
In the 1982 film, Eastwood co-starred with his son Kyle Eastwood, who was then about 14. Eastwood played an ailing country musician in the Great Depression, headed to the Grand Ole Opry and in need of the young boy to drive him.
The Lincoln K-Series (also called the Model K, reflecting the earlier Ford Model K) was a line of luxury vehicle produced by Lincoln from 1930 to 1940. While the original K-Series featured a 385 in³ (6.3 L) V8, a V12 became standard in 1933. Customers also had the choice of ordering a fully custom coachwork. By 1940 sales declined rapidly with the modern Zephyr and new flagship Continental being more appealing to buyers. Production was evidently completed during the 1939 model year. The last Lincoln K-Series was delivered in January 1940. The "Sunshine Special" convertible limousine built for President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1939 was modified in 1942 with current Lincoln front sheet metal.
Sentimentality plays into another of Eastwood's prized cars. "I have a '32 Ford Roadster that I always wanted when I was a kid and never could afford."
He values another quality, too: uniqueness. "I've got a Morris Mini Countryman. That's kind of an interesting little car. It came from England and has all the Mini Cooper S racing gear but in a mini station wagon. It's a cool car, because there aren't many like it."
Well, I've always said - diversity is a wonderful thing!
Posted by Clint's archive at 16:06