Tuesday , February 27 2024
This should make the day of most Eastwood fans.

DVD Review: ‘Clint Eastwood 40 Film Collection’

In joint commemoration of Warner Brothers’ 90th anniversary and the 38th anniversary between the studio and Clint Eastwood’s Malpaso Productions, a business relationship that has resulted in more than 40 films, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has created the Clint Eastwood 20-Film Collection on Blu-ray and the Clint Eastwood 40-Film Collection on DVD. This review focuses on the latter.

The 40-Film Collection, an update of the 2010 Clint Eastwood: 35 Films 35 Years at Warner Bros., features Eastwood starring in, directing, or the focus of a documentary and extends beyond the Malpaso deal with four films released prior, going as far back as Where Eagles Dare (1968). Thirty-two of the films are presented on 16 double-sided discs. The eight that appear on their own disc are Unforgiven (1992), which earned Eastwood his first Oscar as a director and producer; five recent films: Gran Torino (2008), Invictus (2009), Hereafter (2010), J. Edgar (2011), and Trouble with the Curve (2013); and two Richard Schickel documentaries, the extended version of The Eastwood Factor (2010) and the new Eastwood Directs: The Untold Story (2013). The latter is a star-studded affair where cast and crew members, such as Tim Robbins and Meryl Strep, and fellow directors Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese talk about Eastwood’s career and work practices. Also included is a gift-sized, abridged version of Clint Eastwood: Master Filmmaker at Work by Michael Goldman and Lisa Fitzpatrick.

The collection is shaped like an oversized hardcover book, and the discs are paired and presented by theme then chronology, showing the many genres Eastwood covered over his legendary career. Dirty Harry (1971) / Magnum Force (1973) is the first disc and then the remaining Dirty Harry films are matched with other films where Eastwood played a cop, such as Sudden Impact (1983) with Tightrope (1984). There are also military films, like Firefox (1982) / Heartbreak Ridge (1986); crime dramas set in distinct locations: Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1997) / Mystic River (2003); comedies, including the hysterical Every Which Way But Loose (1978) and its sequel, Any Which Way You Can (1980); and of course, westerns (The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976) / Pale Rider (1985).  I was surprised by the omission of Flags of Our Fathers. Even though WB only had the international rights, it is a companion to Letters from Iwo Jima, and they previously released them together in a DVD set.

Over the course of 38 films, people’s opinions will understandably vary over which ones they like and which ones they don’t. But a large set like this allows a viewer to see how Clint the actor and director, as well as the industry, changed over the decades. At a retail price of just under $180, it breaks down to $4.50 a film, which is a good value, and at the time of publication, Amazon is offering the set just under $98, which breaks down to $2.45 a film. That’s a great deal and the DVDs come with whatever special features were offered when they were previously released.

Unfortunately, very little to no thought appears to have been given to usability of the packaging. Double-sided discs are always troublesome because such care has to be taken in handling them. Even worse, the pages have been cut to create a half sleeve to holds the discs. They sit very snugly in place with no easy way to grab and remove them. I anticipate great disappointment because there will surely be many rips and tears in these sleeves, especially for people who don’t have small fingers or children around.

The Clint Eastwood 40-Film Collection is a great set for fans who don’t own any or many of his WB movies on DVD and aren’t overly concerned about packaging. Those with a touch of OCD should think twice. All the available are listed below alphabetically. Those that also appear in the 20-Film Collection Blu-ray set are identified by an asterisk (*).

  • A Perfect World *
  • Absolute Power
  • Any Which Way You Can
  • Bird
  • Blood Work
  • Bronco Billy
  • City Heat
  • Dirty Harry *
  • Every Which Way But Loose *
  • Firefox *
  • Gran Torino *
  • Heartbreak Ridge *
  • Hereafter *
  • Honkytonk Man
  • Invictus *
  • J. Edgar *
  • Kelly’s Heroes
  • Letters from Iwo Jima *
  • Magnum Force *
  • Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
  • Million Dollar Baby *
  • Mystic River *
  • Pale Rider *
  • Pink Cadillac
  • Space Cowboys *
  • Sudden Impact *
  • The Bridges of Madison County
  • The Dead Pool
  • The Enforcer
  • The Gauntlet *
  • The Outlaw Josey Wales *
  • The Rookie
  • Tightrope
  • Trouble with the Curve *
  • True Crime
  • Unforgiven *
  • Where Eagles Dare
  • White Hunter Black Heart
  • Eastwood Factor Documentary *
  • Eastwood Directs: The Untold Story

About Gordon S. Miller

Gordon S. Miller is the artist formerly known as El Bicho, the nom de plume he used when he first began reviewing movies online for The Masked Movie Snobs in 2003. Before the year was out, he became that site's publisher. Over the years, he has also contributed to a number of other sites as a writer and editor, such as FilmRadar, Film School Rejects, High Def Digest, and Blogcritics. He is the Founder and Publisher of Cinema Sentries. Some of his random thoughts can be found at twitter.com/GordonMiller_CS

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