Clint Eastwood and Issues of American Masculinity
Publication Year: 2009
Published by: Fordham University Press
Title Page, Copyright Page
As for so many of my generation, Clint Eastwood was simply a part of the social landscape in which I grew up. My ex-husband met him on the set of Rawhide, and my mother campaigned for him when he ran for mayor of Carmel, California. My father, like so many of his...
First I would like to thank Elrich Kline for his tireless editing and reediting of this book. It is no exaggeration to say that he went through every page with me. He also carefully watched all the movies that are analyzed in the pages that follow....
Introduction: Shooting Eastwood
Clint Eastwood has been acknowledged as one of this country’s most original and provocative directors, but this classification fails to recognize the real depth of Eastwood’s complex trajectory as a director. He grapples with all of the most significant ethical issues of our time: war,...
1 Writing the Showdown: What’s Left Behind When the Sun Goes Down
High Plains Drifter,1 Eastwood’s first Western, clearly reflects the influence of Sergio Leone. The Stranger (Eastwood) rides into town as the residents gather nervously around, transfixed by the beating hooves of his horse. As Lee Clark Mitchell reminds us, the Western’s beautiful landscape...
2 Dancing with the Double: Reaching Out from the Darkness Within
In this chapter we will discuss the nature of evil and its relationship to eroticism, the issue of doubling, and the questions Eastwood poses about the relationship between retribution and mercy. Only two of the films in this chapter, Blood Work and Sudden Impact, were directed by...
3 Ties That Bind: The Legacy of a Mother’s Love
The Bridges of Madison County (1995) is Eastwood’s only mature film in the romance genre.1 Early in his directorial career he made Breezy (1973), the story of a May-December relationship.2 Breezy moves through a story line that is quite typical for Hollywood romances, and it...
4 Psychic Scars: Transformative Relationships and Moral Repair
Is it possible for one person to intervene in another’s traumatic past, to change the course of a life’s path through love or responsiveness? Trauma is often defined as an experience that falls beneath the reach of memory, belies articulation, consumes the traumatized victim in symptoms...
5 Parables of Revenge and Masculinity in Mystic River
In this essay, we read Clint Eastwood’s Mystic River1 as an insightful exploration of the seductions and dangers of revenge and the relation of vengeance to violence and masculinity. What revenge offers in response to trauma and loss is the fantasy of control. The ‘‘value of vindictiveness,’’...
6 Militarized Manhood:Shattered Images and the Trauma of War
While Eastwood has recently gained attention as the director of two profoundly antiwar masterpieces, Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima, his first true antiwar movie came much earlier in The Outlaw Josey Wales.1 The film makes a powerful statement about the lasting trauma of...
7 Shades of Recognition:Privilege, Dignity, and the Hubris of White Masculinity
As I have mentioned throughout the book, many of Eastwood’s most important meanings are captured in the dramatic details—in how he tells his story as much as what he tells. In Million Dollar Baby, for instance, the central narrative is told entirely from the perspective of a black man,...
Conclusion: The Last Take
As we have seen throughout this book, Eastwood the director addresses the most urgent and searing questions of ethics and politics today in his films—from the question of evil to the possibility of moral repair and reconciliation. He does so through familiar American genres...
Filmography: Clint Eastwood as Director
Page Count: 232
Publication Year: 2009
OCLC Number: 647876511
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