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Clint Eastwood: A glorious tribute to the star-actor-filmmaker who is one of the towering, yet underrated, giants of modern cinema.

books Updated: May 01, 2010 00:06 IST

Clint: A Retrospective
Richard Schickel
Sterling
Rs 1,499 pp 288

It wouldn’t be too much of an exaggeration to call Clint Eastwood Hollywood’s Albert Camus. Pin-up, icon, contrarian and explorer of landscapes lazily marked on the map as ‘good’ and ‘bad’, Eastwood is that rare creative force who makes ‘being popular’ not the enemy of ‘being great’.

If the stylised spaghetti westerns of Sergio Leonne — starting with the 1964 A Fistful of Dollars — first made him a star, it was Don Siegel’s 1971 Dirty Harry that made him the iconic ‘modern Bogart’ superstar. The cigar-chomping, poncho-wearing, little-talking amoral gunslinger of the 60s seamlessly segued into the clean-shaven, cynical, smart-assed, anti-establishment Detective Harry Callahan of the 70s.

But these tags of ‘star’ and ‘superstar’ don’t tell the whole story. Underrated as a director partly because of his pop star-like success, and partly because of his love and tremendous ability to use and subvert cinema genres (especially the Western), Eastwood is a serious figure in the history of cinema.

In this glorious tribute of a book, lovingly and intelligently collated by critic and film historian Richard Schickel, we get the whole picture of a great auteur. With an introduction by the man himself, who will turn 80 on May 31, and a 20-minute DVD profile with this book teeming with photos, at Rs 1,499, Clint: A Retrospective is a steal. Make that a great-looking robbery.