Monday, 17 January 2011
Top Ten Western Actors No 2 - Clint Eastwood
Of course Eastwood's first western work of note was in the TV series Rawhide but apart from saying that this was an excellent series that still holds up today, I will brush over this and instead concentrate on the movies. And what more can be said about the three Italian westerns Eastwood made with Sergio Leone? These films made Eastwood a superstar and it is a position that he still holds today. Indeed could anyone argue that Eastwood is not Hollywood's greatest living film icon?
His first American western was Hang Em High which was directed by Ted Post and although the film has a good reputation I don't rate it as highly as the rest of Eastwood's westerns. Indeed alongside Joe Kidd I would say that it was Eastwood's weakest western. That's not to say it's a bad movie because it isn't and Eastwood is always watchable in a western.
Josey Wales was Eastwood's best western since the Italian trilogy and even today I can't decide if this is the best western he ever directed. There are times when I prefer it to Unforgiven which is generally considered Eastwood's best self directed western. It's a tough call - since both movies are amazing.
Then just when everyone though the western was dead as a film medium Eastwood returned with the Oscar winning, The Unforgiven.
Unforgiven is another masterpiece that can be placed alongside the best the genre has to offer.
These days Clint Eastwood is the western and it is hoped that he will return to the genre as a director. He stated Unforgiven would be his goodbye to the genre as if that does prove to be so then it is indeed a fitting farewell. Unforgiven is a revision of the revisionist western and for many it represents Eastwood's finest moment, but I still think of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly whenever I think of Eastwood westerns.