Conversations with Clint: Paul Nelson's Lost Interviews with Clint Eastwood, 1979-1983

Overview

Clint Eastwood has forged a remarkable career as a movie star, director, producer and composer. These newly discovered conversations with legendary jourbanalist Paul Nelson returban us to a point when, still acting in other people's films, Eastwood was honing his directorial craft on a series of inexpensive films that he brought in under budget and ahead of schedule. Operating largely beneath the critical radar, he made his movies swiftly and inexpensively. Few of his critics then could have predicted that ...

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Conversations with Clint: Paul Nelson's Lost Interviews with Clint Eastwood, 1979-1983

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Overview

Clint Eastwood has forged a remarkable career as a movie star, director, producer and composer. These newly discovered conversations with legendary jourbanalist Paul Nelson returban us to a point when, still acting in other people's films, Eastwood was honing his directorial craft on a series of inexpensive films that he brought in under budget and ahead of schedule. Operating largely beneath the critical radar, he made his movies swiftly and inexpensively. Few of his critics then could have predicted that Eastwood the actor and director would ever be taken as seriously as he is today. But Paul Nelson did.

The interviews were conducted from 1979 through 1983. Eastwood talks openly and without illusions about his early career as an actor, old Hollywood, and his formative years as a director, his influence and what he learned along the way as an actor—lessons that helped him become the director he is today. Conversations with Clint provides a fresh and vivid perspective on the life and work of this most American of movie icons.

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews

This collection of previously unpublished, exhaustive interviews from three decades ago has a conversational intimacy that reveals as much about the journalist as they do about an actor-director he obviously worships.

The late Paul Nelson was a prescient critic, from his 1960s advocacy of the evolving Bob Dylan through his championing a decade later of the New York Dolls as pre-punk avatars and his late-'70s assessment of Clint Eastwood: "as imaginative and as different as any American director I can name." This was well before critical acclaim and Oscars started flowing toward Eastwood, who was regarded as a spaghetti western star of limited range (a reactor rather than an actor) and reviled by the left as aDirty Harry fascist. Readers who associate the veteran Rolling Stone editor-critic so strongly with music might be surprised to learn that his first love was film, and that Eastwood matched him reference for reference as their discussion ranges from Bergman to Kurosawa to Pauline Kael (the influential New Yorker critic who was particularly anti-Eastwood). "This book is a miracle," says the introduction by Jonathan Lethem (who based an indelibly obsessive character in Chronic City on Nelson), and it's a miracle that Nelson was unable to perform.Despite 17 hours of interview tape, he never made it past page four in the manuscript for his aborted cover story.Contributing to his writer's block was his admiration for the artist. Editor Avery, who did a yeoman's job of making the transcript flow chronologically, writes that Nelson was "as much a fan as he was an objective journalist"—though, in the case of Eastwood and others, Nelson was plainly much more of a fan than objective. Paralyzed by what his subject might think of the story as well as the daunting prospect of way too much material, he wrote little from this and published nothing, leaving the tapes for posthumous discovery.

There are better books on Eastwood, from a more recent perspective, but these fan's notes reflect extraordinary access and frequent illumination.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781441165862
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic
  • Publication date: 10/6/2011
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 946,114
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Kevin Avery's writing has appeared in publications as diverse as Mississippi Review, Penthouse, Weber Studies, and Salt Lake magazine. He lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife and stepdaughter. His first book, Everything Is an Afterthought: The Life and Writings of Paul Nelson, is published by Fantagraphics Books.

Jonathan Lethem is one of the most acclaimed American novelists of his generation. His books include Motherless Brooklyn, The Fortress of Solitude, and Chronic City. His essays about James Brown and Bob Dylan have appeared in Rolling Stone. He lives in Claremont, California.

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Table of Contents

Foreword by Jonathan Lethem – I Never Sat in a Movie Theater with Paul Nelson Filmography Introduction – The Good, the Bad...
The Telephone Call – January 1983
The Conversations – October 1979 to October 1983
Flashback – December 1979
Afterword Acknowledgments Source Materials

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