Don't tell film critic Richard Schickel "? or the majority of the voters of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, for that matter "? but I don't think Clint Eastwood's films as are as mint-worthy as everyone else seems to. Still, I respect the man as a risk-taking filmmaker "? and as "Dirty" Harry Callahan, of course "? so "The Eastwood Factor" remains a documentary worth watching.
Directed by longtime friend Schickel, "Factor" finds Eastwood reminiscing over his lengthy Hollywood career, first as an actor, then as a director, and much of it spent on the Warner Bros. lot. We see him in his early days in bit parts, trading fisticuffs on TV's "Maverick," then graduating to box-office idol in the "Dirty Harry" films, then entering vaulted auteur territory behind the camera on the likes of "Unforgiven" and "Mystic River."
But we also see him away from the limelight, tickling the ivories as a jazz man, meeting with his costume coordinator or merely taking a stroll. Schickel tells the story of the Eastwood legend through film clips, set footage and talking-head interviews with the star that are refreshingly candid.
The new retrospective comes packaged with the 19-disc "Clint Eastwood: 35 Films 35 Years at Warner Bros." megaset. If Eastwood may not appear to be having a ball looking back, he's certainly up for it, in his "aw, shucks" way. "?Rod Lott