One of the main reasons that I wanted to offshoot from Three Nerds and a Movie was a desire on my part to be fair to the other writers involved in that endeavor. I’ve enjoyed writing about movies and have had a bit of a fire lit under me to continue writing about them regularly. But I share that space with two other people and I am conscious of “overrunning” a shared site with my own material. I never want Karen and Greg to appear to be just guests on my site when we share the domain, and that’s difficult to maintain if they’re posting once a month amid my own frequent attempts to spark discussion. Between the three of us, I have the most idle time for random posting, and I can’t ask them to post more often to keep up with me. Not everyone has the same number of hours in the day.
Thusly, Cinematic Rabbit Hole was born.
I gave my site the conceit of the “rabbit hole” concept because I enjoyed the notion that films could be so randomly linked together. It gave my site an interesting (I hope) cohesive theme, which, let’s face it, helped me decide from week to week what movies I wanted to talk about. I could, honestly, always be writing about any given number of films. This site’s general theme helps me narrow the selections down.
With that said, there are a lot of movies that I would like to talk about, so staying within the boundaries that I have created in keeping with my theme is also restrictive. If I’m gonna start talking about any old movie that crosses my mind, then I might as well just start talking about any old movie that crosses my mind. The site’s theme becomes superfluous.
I wanted to give myself the opportunity to talk about those movies that don’t quite fit into the labyrinth (not, at least, without cheating), so I have decided to begin adding supplementary material. Entries that exist outside of the labyrinth, but are still collected on the site. However, I still feel the need to keep supplementary material under one themed umbrella. Mostly, to prevent myself from running amok. To this end, I narrowed down the theme of additional material down to an idea that I was passionate about. This entry, if only in explanation, marks the first entry of said material. The introduction, if you will.
For this series, I have selected a director whose work I have greatly admired for decades. A director whose works I have painstakingly collected over the years. I plan to watch every single movie in their filmography and write a full review of every single one. This allows discussion on the progression of their work. It prompts a cross-referencing of consistent hallmarks. It also allows me to refrain from continually returning to this director’s work in the labyrinth, which will help keep the material there as vibrant as I can.
There are three directors for me that most consistently pop up as “my favorites”. The first, Charles Chaplin, presents a few problems in exploring the canon. Not only are the vast majority of his films silent, but he has hundreds of short films to catalog before we even get to the features for which he is most well-known. In addition, there is still, to this day, some academic arguments over which of those films he directed and which films he did not. Further, I would venture that most readers are not nearly as interested in silent film as I am, so focusing on him presents issues in maintaining audience interest in my words over time. The second director, Jim Jarmusch, has a large body of work that crosses multiple genres. He’s done comedies, dramas, anthologies, samurai epics, documentaries, horror films, westerns. His films, however, are fairly obscure, and I, again, question my ability to maintain reader interest over films they have not heard of and would be unlikely to seek out. I’ll save Jim and Charlie for the labyrinth, if I am able to manage linking to them.
I decided, ultimately, on the third director that tops my list. Not only do his films cross multiple genres, but they are wildly popular, meaning that a reader may read an entry on a particular film whether or not they actually care about the director’s entire body of work. Just because they know the movie and enjoy it. There is something, I think, for every one within this iconic director’s lengthy filmography.
I decided to focus this series on Clint Eastwood.
But his filmography comes equipped with its own set of problems, too.
Before his big break in 1959 as a series regular on Rfawhide, Clint Eastwood struggled to get his foot in the door as an actor. Before being cast as Rowdy Yates on this classic television western, Clint had roles in seven different films. He was never listed in the credits for any of these movies. These movies are Tarantula (1955), Revenge of the Creature (1955), Lady Godiva of Coventry (1955), Star In The Dust (1956), Never Say Goodbye (1956), Away All Boats (1956), and Escapade in Japan (1957). During this era, he received credit for his appearances in two different films. One of them was in the role of Jonesy in Francis in the Navy (1955), which was the sixth installment in a popular series of Universal-International comedies featuring a talking mule named Francis. The other was for an appearance in a comedy western called The First Traveling Saleslady (1956). From 1959 until his big break in Sergio Leone’s A Fistful of Dollars in 1964, Clint Eastwood stayed busy with Rawhide, a handful of guest apearances on network television shows, and two credited roles in 1958 films (Lafayette Escadrille and Ambush at Cimarron Pass).
As of this writing, I have been unable to locate any of the movies mentioned in the preceding paragraph on DVD or on any streaming services. The lone exception to this is Francis in the Navy, but I believe that the availability of that particular movie has more to do with the popularity of the film series than with it being a film that features Clint. I have not seen any of these movies and will not be covering them on this site. Given Clint Eastwood’s enduring popularity, I would imagine that if his role in any of those films was of any merit whatsoever, that they would be readily available.
I will be starting with A Fistful of Dollars, but from there, things get tricky. The intention of these entries is to highlight the career of one of my favorite directors, right? But he didn’t direct A Fistful of Dollars. Nor did he direct For A Few Dollars More or The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. Or any of the Dirty Harry movies. It’s kind of unfair to do a series on Clint Eastwood and not include any of those films. Those movies, for all practical purposes are Clint Eastwood, and, often, the first movies people think of whenever his name is mentioned. I feel it’s only fair to Clint that I cover the movies that he acted in but did not direct as well.
What this means is that I have my work cut out for me, so be patient. Right now, Clint Eastwood, combining movies that he 1) starred in 2) only directed and 3) directed and starred in, has a grand total of 62 movies to his credit. That’s a lot of movie watching. And a lot of writing.
It’s also going, for you, to be a lot of reading.
But don’t worry. If you’re not interested in the work of Clint Eastwood, there will still be plenty on this site to enjoy. Pick and choose from the Eastwood films you already know you love. Check in periodically for the next installments of the labyrinth, which will continue weekly as they have been. Rest assured that the Clint Eastwood entries will not replace the normal site material. They will be posted in conjunction with the labyrinth, in addition to the labyrinth.
In the meantime, there will be new material on the next film in the ongoing labyrinth on Monday. Later in the month, there will be a full review of A Fistful of Dollars posted, with subsequent entries in this series happening on one Friday per month.
With that said, I better go watch A Fistful of Dollars again. It’s been a while.