Clint Eastwood: Out of the Shadows

January 28, 2012 5 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

Clint Eastwood, the man, the myth and the legend. While one of Hollywood’s top superstars for quite some time now, this documentary takes a look at just how he became the man who he is today. Narrated by Morgan Freeman, his co-star in the Academy Award Winning ‘Unforgiven’, the movies of one Clint Eastwood are profiled here. We learn what a bumpy road it has been for Clint and what future lies ahead. As with most actors, Clint Eastwood didn’t grow up wanting to be an actor, he was always interested in Jazz though, a theme that is common throughout a lot of his films. He started out in small bit parts for Universal, like ‘Tarantula’, not every actor’s dream but everyone must start somewhere. The documentary then follows him through his days on the television show ‘Rawhide’ which introduced him to the Western. It wasn’t long after that (his seven year stint on ‘Rawhide’ that is) that he teamed up with an Italian director and made a little movie called ‘A Fistful of Dollars’ and it drew the comparison between this movie and the great Yojimbo. I found that very interesting. We either know Eastwood as the man with no name in these westerns or as Dirty Harry and this was the start of him making his name in Hollywood.

As he did more and more Westerns, he was typecast and was getting fed up with Hollywood. It was around 1970 that he first took the role of Harry Callahan, better known to the world as "Dirty Harry". The Dirty Harry movies changed Hollywood and though popular, Eastwood was taking a lot of grief for the glorification of violence in the movies. A trend that didn’t end, as evidenced by today’s movies! Another statistic that I was surprised to know is that Clint Eastwood was the top-grossing male movie star for 5 years in a row. He was beating out people like Burt Reynolds, Paul Newman and Ryan O’Neil. Truly this showed me how popular Clint really was (and still is). The film then moves into his later roles, roles that were more personal to him like ‘Bird’, ‘Honkeytonk Man’ and ‘Bronco Billy’. While not the most successful of his catalog, they allowed him to express himself in ways he couldn’t as just an actor. Evidently, 1990 was the low point of his career, but he came back with a little movie called ‘Unforgiven’ which won several Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director. Clint Eastwood, as they said, has been around for a long time because he’s a great actor, and very gifted. He’s also very smart and knows a lot about the business. This is a stunning look at one of our most beloved screen icons and is essential for any Eastwood fan.

Video: How does it look?

To my surprise, the entire film is presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic transfer. I was expecting a full-frame version, but when I noticed that the actors’ faces looked normal (and not that "stretched out" feeling when it’s a full-frame transfer), I looked on the box and saw that it was indeed anamorphic. All of the scenes from his films are presented in anamorphic widescreen as well (where applicable, those that are full-frame have black vertical bars on the sides to help it retain the correct ratio). Picture quality is very good, this being a new documentary, I have very few complaints. A bit of noise in some scenes, and his films vary in quality from time to time, but overall I was more than satisfied.

Audio: How does it sound?

Presented in a Dolby Surround mix, there isn’t a whole lot to talk about here. The dialogue varies with the films (as does the picture quality), but the narration by Morgan Freeman is very clear and easy to understand. Some gentle surround effects can be heard, but as with most documentaries, there’s no need for Surround sound. No complaints here.

Supplements: What are the extras?

This disc contains no bonus materials.

Disc Scores