Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Clint Eastwood, Badass Car Guy

Perhaps the icon of macho movie stars, and a living legend, Clint Eastwood has become a standard in international films. Clint started trying out for bit parts in movies, and was signed as a contract player for Universal. He found work as an actor with brief appearances in such B-films as Tarantula (1955), and Revenge of the Creature (1955), but found even bigger and better things with A Fistful of Dollars (1964). He directed his first movie, the thriller Play Misty for Me in 1971. He also starred in the movie, set in the car town of Carmel and Big Sur. But when I think of Clint, I think of "Dirty Harry," a badass dude and car guy.

Not really looking like a "Badass" in 1959 at the wheel of his Turn Pike Cruiser, but still enjoying the Union 76 Ocean Highway section of Pacific Ocean Park in Santa Monica with his wife Maggie Johnson. Image via, Getty.

"I think people jumped to conclusions about Dirty Harry, 1971 without giving the character much thought, trying to attach right-wing connotations to the film that were never really intended. Both the director and I thought it was a basic kind of drama - what do you do when you believe so much in law and order and coming to the rescue of people and you just have five hours to solve a case? That kind of impossible effort was fun to portray, but I think it was interpreted as a pro-police point of view, as a kind of rightist heroism, at a time in American history when police officers were looked down on as "pigs," as very oppressive people - I'm sure there are some who are, and a lot who aren't. I've met both kinds." - Clint Eastwood

Clint working on his 1958 Jag XK 120 in 1960. Image via, Getty.

The genesis of his production company - Malpaso - had a curious origin. When an Italian director approached Eastwood about appearing in what would become the "Spaghetti Western" trilogy: A Fistful of Dollars (1964), For a Few Dollars More (1965), and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, in 1966, Eastwood was eager for a plum part but was advised against it by his agent, suggesting it would be a "bad move"..."mal paso". Against all odds, the actor went ahead and accepted the "man with no name" role and his decision turned out to be a good move. Eastwood never forgot the irony of the situation and thereafter adopted "Malpaso" as his production company name. He also owns, Clint's Ranch, a lodge/restaurant/bar hangout in the south of Carmel for car people during Monterey Car Week.

Seen here with his Ferrari 275 GTB in 1965. Image via, Getty.

"People have lost their sense of humor. In former times we constantly made jokes about different races. You can only tell them today with one hand over your mouth or you will be insulted as a racist. I find that ridiculous. We didn't think anything of it or have a racist thought. It was just normal that we guys made jokes based on our own nationality or ethnicity. That was never a problem. I don't want to be politically correct. We're all spending too much time and energy trying to be politically correct about everything." -Clint Eastwood

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