A biography of actor-director Eastwood that’s tantamount to a puffed-up press release.
Even the most ardent Eastwood fan will sense that journalist Thompson spins every detail of Eastwood’s life and work into cotton candy. Whatever befalls the actor—a divorce, a bad review, a lawsuit—Thompson turns to Eastwood’s advantage. To critics who find Eastwood’s films too violent, for example, Thompson offers Eastwood’s reply: “I tell them to fuck off.” Thompson follows two tracks. One rehashes Eastwood’s now-familiar career: bit parts in potboiler films; TV stardom, on Rawhide; films in Italy; films in Hollywood; the forming of his own production company; his ascendancy as a major American film actor and director; two marriages, many affairs and many children. Interrupting what would charitably be described as the book’s focus and pace are long, tepid interviews with Eastwood and with longtime companion Sondra Locke, who were not quite, as Thompson suggests, the Tracy and Hepburn of their time. Throughout, Thompson’s sourcing is vague and he provides no citations. No matter, since virtually everyone quoted just loves Clint—well, maybe not Locke. The blondes that Eastwood refers to as “squirts,” “shrimps” and “spinners” love Clint when they meet him at his Hog’s Breath Inn in Carmel. Donna Mills loves Clint. Bernadette Peters loves Clint. Meryl Streep loves Clint. Everyone who ever worked on one of his pictures loves Clint (perhaps they read Patrick McGilligan’s 2002 biography of Eastwood, in which the author claims Eastwood fires anyone who criticizes him). Clint’s second wife loves Clint—she gathers for parties the seven children he’s sired by five women. Do the kids enter to “The March of the Siamese Children”? Perhaps Eastwood will star in a remake of The King and I.
A fistful of goo.