My weekly movie reviews. You can also read these on letterboxd.

This week focuses on two collaborations between Don Siegel and Clint Eastwood.



Rating: 2.5 out of 5 Stars

I’d never seen this Siegel/Eastwood collaboration. It was their first and by my estimation their least effective.

COOGAN’S BLUFF is painfully on-the-nose from the obvious fish out of water jokes (how many damn times can you play the Texas/Arizona thing?) to characterizations which have zero subtext. Perhaps the best example of the movie’s direct but dumb approach: Eastwood walks into a club called the The Pigeon Toed Orange Peel and everyone just happens to be dancing to a song with the same name of the establishment. I’m sure they have it on loop all night long…

It’s those kind of decisions throughout COOGAN that make this a somewhat embarrassing effort from Siegel, who is normally more clever than demonstrated in this picture. On top of the dumb approach, the movie is also dull, the script focused on a boring romantic subplot when it should be all about a cowboy chasing a crook in the city. The only highlight of the whole thing is a pool hall brawl.

This is not a well-crafted film.

Watched on Criterion Channel.



Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

I haven’t seen this film for many years and I appreciate it more now than I ever did.

THE BEGUILED is not a Western by any means, as the Criterion Collection falsely claims in its description. It is however one of the best Civil War films ever made and a fascinating erotic thriller. It also captures the Southern Gothic tone that has alluded most filmmakers who chased it. Siegel crafts a sweaty, sultry picture and contradictory to what Tarantino said about it, the movie is pregnant with subtext. From the manipulation of both genders, the jealousy and competition, the foolishness of Eastwood’s “hero”, and the moral justifications, I found THE BEGUILED to be true to life in the most uncomfortable ways. It’s a messy film, one that doesn’t line up with today’s gift-wrapped political correctness, and that’s one thing I love about it.

On top of its boldness, the movie is crowded with great performances from all the women and could be the first time Eastwood showed us he was capable of something more darker and more complex. Siegel and the actor’s finest moment together? Certainly, their most daring.

Watched on Criterion Channel.