Directed by Don Siegel
Starring Clint Eastwood, Patrick McGoohan, Roberts Blossom, Jack Thibeau, Fred Ward
Don Siegel and Clint Eastwood’s final collaboration, Escape From Alcatraz (1979), is tight, tough, cool and exciting — just what you’d expect from the guy who directed Riot In Cell Block 11 (1954), Baby Face Nelson (1957), Dirty Harry (1971), Charley Varrick (1973) and so many others.
Well researched and actually shot at Alcatraz (which had to be partially restored prior to filming), it’s coming to 4K from Kino Lorber later this year. I love seeing Siegel’s work get this kind of treatment. Highly, highly recommended.
Category Archives: Clint Eastwood
Directed by Don Siegel
Don Siegel’s films are scattered throughout my list of all-time favorites — if I was to ever sit down and make such a list. Here are some photos I’ve come across while researching him for various things (some of these images have appeared on this blog before, but are worth repeating).
Up top, there’s Siegel directing Clint Eastwood in Two Mules For Sister Sara (1970). The original screenplay was by Budd Boetticher, who was supposed to direct (he ended up with only a story credit). Budd not happy with the finished film, which co-starred Shirley MacLaine. The Los Angeles Herald-Examiner called the picture “a solidly entertaining film that provides Clint Eastwood with his best, most substantial role to date; in it he is far better than he has ever been. In director Don Siegel, Eastwood has found what John Wayne found in John Ford and what Gary Cooper found in Frank Capra.” They’d make five movies together.
Here he is with Ronald Reagan and Vinveca Lindfors (Mrs. Siegel at the time) shooting Night Unto Night (1949).
Neville Brand and Dabbs Greer (?) get direction from Siegel on Riot In Cell Block 11 (1954).
Nick Adams and Siegel go over the script for Hell Is For Heroes (1962).
Siegel, Angie Dickinson, Claude Akins and John Cassavettes (back of his head) on the set of The Killers (1964).
With Eastwood on the set of Coogan’s Bluff (1968), their first picture together.
Andy Robinson goes over the script with Siegel on Dirty Harry (1971).
Siegel and Walter Matthau having a laugh on Charley Varrick (1973). I think Don’s wearing the same hat he has on in the photo from The Killers.
Eastwood and Siegel on location for Escape From Alcatraz (1979).
I was trying to find a picture of Siegel working on Baby Face Nelson (1957), one of his best, but had no luck. It’s highly underrated, probably because it’s almost impossible to see.
My favorite movie opened in LA on this day in 1969 — in spectacular 70mm!
They say 70mm prints of Where Eagles Dare (1969) were in stereo, while 35mm prints were mono. Not sure if that’s true. However, one thing is certain — the stereo sound on the laserdisc (which includes the intermission) is much better than the Blu-Ray. The Blu-Ray looks wonderful, thankfully.
Lately, I’ve been wanting to watch The Good, The Bad And The Ugly (1966) again. It’s been quite a while since I’ve sat down with it, and my daughter has never seen it. So I dug out my Blu-Ray — and was instantly reminded why it’s been so long since I’ve seen it. I don’t have anything worth watching.
There’s plenty out there on the internet about what’s wrong with every single version of the film available on video. The old laserdisc from 1993, which was sourced from an actual print, came the closest to what US audiences saw back in 1967. Everything since has a list of problems a mile long, from missing stuff to badly added stuff to a botched surround mix to color that turns everything the color of urine, even the sky. Of course, that sickly yellow has become the color of choice for film transfers these days, rendering them all unwatchable. Even The Searchers isn’t immune to it.
What’s really troubling about a film like The Good, The Bad And The Ugly is that so many of us have seen it a million times, we know what it’s supposed to look, and sound, like. They can’t pull one over on us so easily. We’re onto them. Why is everything so yellow? That’s not what the guns are supposed to sound like. When the 16mm print I used to check out of the library looks and sounds better than the latest 4K “restoration,” something ain’t right.
There are old prints of Leone’s masterpiece out there. The IB Tech ones won’t fade — they’re the perfect color reference, no matter how scratched or spliced up they might be. Hell, I’d prefer a decent scan from one of those prints to what’s out there now.
This is a time when even the smallest of movies are coming to Blu-Ray with startling results. Giant From The Unknown (1958) is a good example. Doesn’t one of the biggest deserve at last as good?
Evidently so, since there’s yet another The Good, The Bad And The Ugly on the way from Kino Lorber. We’re promised the original theatrical cut, in glorious mono, with a 1967 IB Tech print used as a guide and occasional source. It’ll be both 4K and Blu-Ray, I believe. This sounds promising, but I’ll wait and see how this one shakes out before I lay down my fistful of dollars.
(April 21, 1939 – August 1, 2020)
Reni Santoni was a good actor, and it was always a pleasure to bump into him in some picture or TV show. He’s terrific in one of my favorite movies, Don Siegel’s Dirty Harry (1971), and he’s the only good thing about Cobra (1986). He has passed away at 81.
Mr. Santoni did a blue million TV shows, including a later episode of The Rockford Files, which I’ll probably dig out tonight.
Directed by Don Siegel
Starring Clint Eastwood, Shirley MacLaine
Kino Lorber has announced an October Blu-Ray release of Don Siegel’s Two Mules For Sister Sara (1970), his second picture with Clint Eastwood (from a story by Budd Boetticher).
Kino Lorber has promised 4K restorations of both the US cut and the longer international version, along with a host of extras.
(November 10. 1928 – July 6, 2020)
The great composer Ennio Morricone has passed away at 91. Among his many terrific scores was the one for Sergio Leone’s The Good, The Bad And The Ugly (1966).
Without his music, would spaghetti Westerns have been as impactful as they were?
His work that comes to mind with this news is Mario Bava’s Danger: Diabolik (1967).
(June 27, 1944 – January 9, 2019)
I just learned that one of my favorite character actors of the 70s, Paul Koslo, passed away back in January. He’s in so much great stuff: The Omega Man (1971), Joe Kidd (1972), Mr. Majestyk (1974, above), Freebie And The Bean (1974), The Drowning Pool (1975) and Rooster Cogburn (1975), to name just a few. How many actors could say they locked horns with John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, Charles Bronson, Paul Newman and James Caan?
Every movie he was in was better for his presence.