Clint Eastwood’s ‘frustration’ led to most iconic character: ‘The less I said the better’
Tonight, Clint Eastwood stars in the 1971 crime thriller Dirty Harry, which airs from 10pm on Channel 5. It follows Eastwood’s iconic character, and San Francisco officer, Harry Callahan, who is assigned the task of working on the case of a sniper who has murdered a young girl. Furious at landing a new recruit as a partner, Callahan soon becomes embroiled in a brutal spat with his bosses over how best to handle the killer.
Dirty Harry is often considered one of Eastwood’s finest films, and the American Film Institute has included it in a number of its polls.
Among the recognition it received was the Dirty Harry character being voted the 17th greatest movie hero, and his famous quote, “You’ve got to ask yourself one question, ‘Do I feel lucky?’ Well, do ya, punk?” the 51st best of all time.
The Callahan would go on to appear in a further four films, making it one of Eastwood’s most successful franchises.
Another of his most cherished franchises is in Sergio Leone’s “Dollars Trilogy” of spaghetti western films as The Man With No Name.
Clint Eastwood’s ‘frustration’ led to most iconic character: ‘The less I said the better’ (Image: GETTY)
Clint Eastwood as The Man With No Name (Image: GETTY)
The trilogy comprised of A Fistful of Dollars, For A Few Dollars More and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, which were released between 1964 and 1966.
The character itself has earned critical acclaim, with Empire choosing it the 33rd greatest film character of all time in 2008.
Speaking about his creation, Eastwood noted how he wanted to add a sense of intrigue around the character, and particularly his backstory.
In Patrick McGilligan’s 2015 book Clint: The Life and Legend, Eastwood said: “I wanted to play it with an economy of words and create this whole feeling through attitude and movement.
The Dollar Trilogy ran between 1964 and 1966 (Image: GETTY)
“It was just the kind of character I had envisioned for a long time, keep to the mystery and allude to what happened in the past.
“It came about after the frustration of doing Rawhide for so long.”
The now 92-year-old added: “I felt the less he said, the stronger he became and the more he grew in the imagination of the audience.”
The Dollars Trilogy helped cement Eastwood’s status as one of Hollywood’s biggest stars, but that tag did not allow him to walk into roles like most would assume he would.
Clint Eastwood in his older years (Image: GETTY)
This included his turn as Callahan in the Dirty Harry franchise, between 1971 and 1988.
The star nearly missed out on the role with producers convinced celebrated crooner Frank Sinatra would be the perfect actor to be cast in the lead role.
He was reportedly originally offered the part, with Warner Bros studios only happy to give the green light for production with the My Way singer’s name attached to it.
But, in a slice of good fortune for Eastwood, Sinatra injured himself, meaning the role had to be recast.
Filming locations in UK (Image: EXPRESS)
Eastwood, who had already auditioned for the part, told MTV News about how he came to be Callahan in 2009.
The star said: “They called up and asked, ‘Are you still interested in Dirty Harry?’
“I said, ‘What happened to Frank Sinatra?’
“And they said, ‘Frank Sinatra’s got some problem with his hand and he can’t hold a gun’.
“That sounded like a pretty lame excuse, but it didn’t matter to me. I said, ‘I’ll do it’.”