High Plains Drifter

High Plains Drifter

Thinking in images, like Leone. A chilling one, early on: Clint Eastwood, emerging into daylight after having just raped a woman, paralleled with the inhuman steadiness of a tracking shot, seen in profile; in the shadows, he’s a black silhouette against the bright town: an “angel of death,” in Unforgiven terms. Already, here and in Play Misty for Me, his cinema is draped in shadows, even under California climes, shadows that seem to crack through his iconic and ungiving face, or emanate from behind it, isolating it like a death’s head. We’ve seen that image and we’ve seen this film several times now, reconsidered and revised.

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