It's a career that dates back to a rather inauspicious screen debut in "Revenge of the Creature."
Happily, in the 55 years since, Clint Eastwood has kept himself a major factor in Hollywood in a number of ways: redefining several screen genres through his distinctive style of acting; establishing himself as a famously economical director with a keen sense of casting and topics; taking bold chances with his image where many of his peers might have chosen not to; and continuing an active work pace at an age when retirement is a definite option for others.
Eastwood gets a big salute from Turner Classic Movies on Monday, May 31, with a full day of his films capped by the premiere of "The Eastwood Factor," a documentary written and directed by film critic and historian Richard Schickel.
Here's a look at some prime Eastwood, with the films included in the Memorial Day festival indicated by (TCM).
"A Fistful of Dollars" (TCM, 1964): Eastwood and Westerns weren't strangers -- thanks to his years as Rowdy Yates on television's "Rawhide" -- but he couldn't have foreseen the industry-rocking impact of his using a hiatus from the series to go to Spain and Italy and become the poncho-wearing Man With No Name for director Sergio Leone in the classic credited with introducing the so-called "spaghetti Western." TCM also will show the other two films in the trilogy, "For a Few Dollars More" and "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly."
"Dirty Harry" (TCM, 1971): In the same way he galvanized the Western, Eastwood heightened the relevance of the police drama by working with friend and director Don Siegel on this controversial tale of a San Francisco police detective trying to work within a system he has contempt for. Eastwood's success generated four sequels (including "Magnum Force," also on TCM), but there's nothing like the original.
"The Outlaw Josey Wales" (1976): At several points, Eastwood has revisited Westerns in game-changing ways, as with this portrait of a peaceful man driven to violence -- offering proof of just how much Eastwood had to give as a director. After his family and home are ravaged in the immediate wake of the Civil War, Wales seeks revenge, but his outlook is tempered by his subsequent experiences.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times