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Author Topic: Eastwood Movie Challenge, Week Eight: High Plains Drifter, Breezy  (Read 11424 times)
Christopher
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« Reply #20 on: March 17, 2016, 10:04:38 AM »

http://wheredangerlives.blogspot.com/2014/10/the-30-greatest-alfred-hitchcock-movie.html
A bit off-topic obviously, but that's a great site with some cool posters on it! Outside of Hitchcock, I can't think of too often where the director is shown as part of the marketing. But of course Hitchcock even starred in some of the trailers!

My guess for the Breezy poster would be that they were trying to get interest in the movie, because maybe they knew it was just a little movie. I don't know how well it did, but I'm guessing the movie wasn't a huge hit.
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Matt
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« Reply #21 on: March 17, 2016, 11:57:02 AM »


Matt pointed out that there are no kids in Lago. I've never noticed that before but it's another first for the western genre, that we've known from the past.

My bad, there are kids... but they're the Indian children, and the Indians are innocent of the town's sins (which is why they got the candy and blankets).

The rest of the town seems barren.
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Matt
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« Reply #22 on: March 17, 2016, 12:03:15 PM »


I can't remember what I wrote about the rape scene a few years ago but in the context of The Stranger coming back for revenge, it's the worst thing you can do to a woman, so it fits in with the stranger's actions to make the townspeople pay. I'm sure The Stranger would say, "She had it coming". ;)


As I recall, she seemed to enjoy that very much.

I kind of avoided the subject in the other thread (the one Doug kindly provided the link to), and I was surprised I didn't weigh in, as I read through it today. I probably didn't feel I had much to add, but I do agree with Doug's posts in the thread, and a few others. It's a great thread, and worth a read to anyone who is reading this thread now.

I didn't have an issue with the rape scene, or even the scene with Sarah and the scissors. But, I do have a bit of a problem with the women enjoying it at the end. Especially Sarah, boy she was never happier. I felt that was a bit of a cop-out. I do think I would have rather seen the women fighting the whole time, and spitting on him afterward. It would have felt more honest somehow than "to give them what they really wanted".

That probably belonged in the other thread too.

Anyway, it wasn't the worst thing he could have done to those two women, apparently. But, in Callie's case, the real sin was, as Mordecai said, not going back for more. It stripped her of her pride and made her look cheap for enjoying it, and leaving her like trash in a heap.
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Doug
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« Reply #23 on: March 17, 2016, 02:50:31 PM »

I watched Breezy, and I enjoyed it quite a bit. It helps I like William Holden (who doesn't?). It's a small film. It doesn't aim too high and Clint Eastwood's direction is very unobtrusive. The script and tone is pretty evenhanded, and even Breezy's friend who could have been presented as simply typical of the air-headed counterculture is shown sympathetically, and Frank's friends are treated with the same sympathetic touch. I would have liked to hear what Breezy and Frank thought of High Plains Drifter. ( :D)

A similar theme plays out in the Woody Allen film Manhattan, to which Breezy can't even begin to compare, but it's a nice, enjoyable movie, and it doesn't feel dated or trite. This was the third time seeing it.
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« Reply #24 on: March 18, 2016, 04:06:13 AM »

Breezy isn't a bad film it's just not that memorable. It reminds me of those old midday romance movies they show on TV. I wonder what drew Clint to this project? I was thinking it might be the studio said, "We'll let you make High Plains Drifter if you direct this film too."

I was a little disappointed in the scene in the car after the movie, Frank and Breezy didn't discuss the film they just saw.  :D

Overall not bad but not great either.

Anyone else think the song being played through the film sounded very much like Maureen McGovern's, The Morning After?
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Doug
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« Reply #25 on: March 18, 2016, 04:51:35 AM »

I wonder what drew Clint to this project? I was thinking it might be the studio said, "We'll let you make High Plains Drifter if you direct this film too."

People keep asking that and I keep expecting KC to chime in with quotes from various Eastwood interviews. Maybe she still will. But here is my guess. (First of all, I'm certain the studio was not the least bit thrilled with the idea of him wasting his time with this less commercial material, and would have loved for him to make more westerns and cop thrillers.)

Since Jo Heims is the writer, and she was the writer of Play Misty for Me and an uncredited writer on Dirty Harry, I'm going to guess that gave her an in to pitch him this project. Then you have William Holden, and I'm sure Clint was thrilled with the idea of working with him--though I'm not sure at what point Holden signed on. And of course, some part of the story and the theme obviously resonated with Clint, and it was a risky project and he's always embraced a little risk in his career. That's my take on why he likely took it on.
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"Yes, well, when I see five weirdos dressed in togas stabbing a guy in the middle of a park in full view of a hundred people, I shoot the bastards, that's my policy."  Frank Drebin, Police Squad.
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« Reply #26 on: March 18, 2016, 07:08:43 AM »

It was definitely Clint's idea, not the studio's, and Holden was his "first and only" choice for the part. It's in Schickel, starting on page 293. I would post some quotes from that now, but I don't have time.

This is from Clint Eastwood: Interviews, rev. ed., pages 29-30:

Quote
Q: What attracted you to the story?

A: It was written by Jo Heims, who wrote Play Misty. She wrote the man and woman’s characters so well I thought, I don’t know if I’m going to act in it, but I’d sure like to make it. I liked the whole comment on the rejuvenation of a cynic, living around L.A., divorced, making good dough but hating it, then finding out about life through a seventeen-year-old. She teaches him more about it than he teaches her. It’s a mutual exchange, but it doesn’t go on forever and ever, and she doesn’t die of some exotic disease. It’s just deciding to exist and see what happens. What’s wrong with existing?

Breezy was a big risk at the time, in the sense that I knew I was making it at Universal, who were doing me a favor in letting me make it. It wasn’t an expensive film, so they didn’t have that much to lose; but they didn’t feel it was commercial, subject-wise. It cost $725,000 direct, then they tacked on the overhead. They’re not very adept at promoting films, especially that kind. I think here, at Warner Bros., the film might have had a chance. When we four-walled the picture, it seemed to do well; word of mouth was good, people liked it. Universal was writing it off before they even released it, as they occasionally do.

Q: How was Holden?

A: Terrific. Technically very astute as an actor, he understood the role completely, so it was easy for him to play. After he’d signed for the part—I’d just met him—he told me, “You know, I’ve been this guy.” And I said, “Yeah, I thought so.” A lot of people have been this guy at one time or another in their lives. The actress, Kay Lenz, was young, so I had to work a little more with her. Holden was very, very gentle with her, even during the screen test. I tested ten gals, and he shot all the tests; most guys would say, “Get some kid.” Holden’s a snap.

(From an interview by Richard Thompson and Tim Hunter, originally published in Film Comment, January/February 1978.)
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Hemlock
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« Reply #27 on: March 18, 2016, 03:07:42 PM »

High Plains Drifter is awesome.As a kid ,when I first saw it I did not care it as much as I do nowdays.The film is at the same time pretty brutal,odd and laugh out loud funny.Dee Barton`s score is only not so great thing in the film.

Anyways,here`s one of my favourite character (the barber) / the scene from the film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2fc36Hc2n2s

It was only my second time to watch Breezy .I really liked it.Did not remember that much of it so it felt quite new to me.I liked the atmosphere of it and cast was great.All in all I found it really pleasant film to watch...again.

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Christopher
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« Reply #28 on: March 18, 2016, 04:17:13 PM »

High Plains Drifter is a great movie, so not a whole lot more I can add to what has already been mentioned. I've mentioned it before that I find the movie to be one of Eastwood's most brutal and cold movies of his career. And as Hemlock mentioned, there's still some humor in there too.

I remember the first time I watched this as a teenager, I was surprised at how the stranger takes advantage of the whole town, going from store to store taking whatever he wants, which is all part of the deal.

Geoffrey Lewis is awesome in this too. And watching these in chronological order I've realized this was the first time he was in an Eastwood movie! And he played such a nasty character in this too.
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Matt
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« Reply #29 on: March 18, 2016, 04:54:36 PM »

It took forever for me to realize the same actor who was Orville in Every Which Way But Loose/Any Which Way You Can was the same as Stacey Bridges!  I think I was a member here before realizing, which means I would have watched each about 3 or 4 times at least.
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KC
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« Reply #30 on: March 18, 2016, 09:00:55 PM »

How can you miss those Orphan Annie eyes? ;D
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AKA23
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« Reply #31 on: March 19, 2016, 08:05:48 AM »

It's really amazing that "High Plains Drifter" is only Eastwood's second film as a director because watching it, it seems like the work of a very experienced filmmaker. Like Matt said, it is technically so much more proficient than "Play Misty for Me." It has a great story, it's perfectly paced, Eastwood's central performance is great, and the cinematography is gorgeous. The score is also haunting and is a perfect fit for the movie. I also really enjoyed the supernatural element to the story. To me, The Stranger seems to clearly be the ghost of Jim Duncan.

It's a credit to Eastwood's charisma and skills as an actor that despite all of the terrible things that he does, I as a viewer still liked him and enjoyed his character. How did everyone else feel about The Stranger? Did you like his character, or were you disturbed by his actions to seek revenge against the two for the murder of Sheriff Duncan?

Another thing that struck me is how much of a revisionist western this was, and how this movie shows how even at the beginning of his career as a director, Eastwood was always very interested in subverting genre conventions. Unlike most westerns of the time, the protagonist in this story comes not to save the town but to destroy them. Most westerns of the time were about noble men doing noble things, but this western was about flawed men who do horrible things. 

I think this movie really began Eastwood's penchant for meditating on the consequences of violence and the possibility or impossibility of mans capacity for redemption. The townspeople murdered Sheriff Duncan to solve a problem, but instead of resolving their problem, their actions brought upon them even more problems that they couldn't have anticipated. They murdered Duncan to save themselves, avoid punishment for their wrongdoing and save the town, but in the end, their actions ended up destroying them. The people they hired to kill the Sheriff took advantage of the instability they created to come back to cause havoc, and The Stranger character descended upon their town to seek revenge for the wrongs they had committed. Murdering Jim Duncan was truly unforgivable and like William Munny, the townspeople will remain "unforgiven" as a result. This theme of violence begetting more violence and perpetuating even greater problems would later become a hallmark of Eastwood's career as a director, and would be further developed in many of his films, most notably in Unforgiven," "Mystic River," "Letters from Iwo Jima," and "Gran Torino."

You could see watching this film that Eastwood was destined for greatness. Like Matt, I think this is one of Eastwood's strongest films as a director.
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KC
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« Reply #32 on: March 19, 2016, 08:32:08 AM »

Excellent review, AKA!
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Matt
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« Reply #33 on: March 19, 2016, 08:58:38 AM »

You've been missed around here lately, AKA.  I agree with every word of your post.  :)
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Matt
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« Reply #34 on: March 20, 2016, 01:19:10 AM »

I wrote above about the horse in High Plains Drifter, and the scene where Stranger rides into town to the shuffling cadence of the horse. Then I found this thread tonight, and thought I'd quote one of the posts from it here:

I recall a magazine profile of Clint in which he sat down to chat with a reporter at his Malpaso office, and a secretary interrupted them to mention that HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER had just started on TV.

Clint switched on a TV set in his office and watched the opening, commenting as he observed it, "That was a really good horse."
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KC
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« Reply #35 on: March 20, 2016, 09:45:07 AM »

By the way, there are more interesting comments on the rape scene here:

http://www.clinteastwood.org/forums/?topic=1477.0

Including Clint's comment to Richard Schickel (from Clint Eastwood, page 292):

Quote
I might do it differently if I were making it now. I might omit that.

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Christopher
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« Reply #36 on: March 20, 2016, 06:50:41 PM »

It's funny to think of the secretary coming in to say High Plains Drifter was on TV at the time. It would have been a cool experience for the writer to watch a few minutes of the movie with Clint.

I watched Breezy tonight. It was only the second time I've seen it, and I hadn't remembered much of it (it was probably in 2004 I saw it after its DVD release). I enjoyed the movie. William Holden and Kay Lenz are both terrific.
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Elizabeth77
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« Reply #37 on: March 21, 2016, 07:19:20 PM »

High Plains Drifter is one of my favorite westerns.  Some of the reasons have already been mentioned, so I'll stick to a couple of things that came to me again with this viewing.  I love how the town is brand new and raw.  One or two tents used as buildings are all that remain of the beginning of the town, but all that new lumber being put up says a great deal about the town.  I love Geoffrey Lewis as Stacey Bridges.  I think his effectiveness is assisted by that same contrast between face and behavior that works for Scorpio in Dirty Harry.  Without being too long, High Plains Drifter is never in a hurry, but never boring.  We get to take time, with the Stranger, to check on the men stationed on the rooftops of the town.

I'm falling asleep while trying to write this, so I'll finish it tomorrow.
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AKA23
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« Reply #38 on: March 22, 2016, 08:16:37 AM »

You've been missed around here lately, AKA.  I agree with every word of your post.  :)

Thanks to you and KC for your support! I'm glad you found my post to be enjoyable.
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Rawhide7
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« Reply #39 on: March 23, 2016, 04:58:51 PM »

High Plains Drifter is a great movie.  Really enjoyed watching Clint turn that town upside down.

Breezy Im not watching because I dont own it.
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