LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 03: Director-producer Clint Eastwood attends the 20th Annual AFI Awards at Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills on January 03, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images for AFI)
Movies - TV
One Of Clint Eastwood's Signature Moves Flies In The Face Of John Wayne
When it comes to filmmaking, Clint Eastwood’s preferred method is a minimalist approach to avoid staginess, preferring to create scenes that feel authentic and genuine for the audience. One particular technique — that he perfected with cinematographer Bruce Surtees — is using lighting to make shadowy contrasts for a sense of realism, as well as heightened drama.
Eastwood’s stylistic choices are technically and thematically contrary to westerns of the ‘30s and ‘40s, which were primarily concerned with producing clarity for the viewers. As Eastwood pointed out, “You see people walk from the outdoors into a brightly lit room and you wonder, 'Where'd they get all that electricity back in 1850?'"
"John Wayne had this theory that you had to see the eyes all the time, the eyes tell the story. I never believed that. You see the eyes when you need to see the eyes,” said Eastwood about the style of directors like John Ford and Howard Hawks, whose films often starred Wayne. Eastwood’s characters often have much shame and regret to hide, so his approach better reflects their natures and states.