Tomorrow, February 16, Warner Brothers will release perhaps the largest collector’s set of all time; it is definitely the largest ever dedicated to the work of just one celebrity. As the title implies this set is dedicated to the iconic Clint Eastwood and his career. But not his entire career, just that at Warners. And it is a good career but some of his most popular titles are not here, namely the three Italian “Man with No Name” productions which made him a star and his recent Flags of Our Fathers, the sister to the included Letters from Iwo Jima. There are other omissions too but these are the most obvious; and of course they are excluded because they are not Warners’ productions.
So one is left with thirty five films (34 features) spread over nineteen standard DVDs. Some of the features will include commentary and special features, but it looks like in terms of new material the fan isn’t left with much. From all appearances these are not new transfers either but repackaging of previous releases. The set does come with some swag in terms of a 24 page excerpt from the new Richard Schickel Clint: A Retrospective along with letters and photos.
The only new title (of sorts) is the short docufilm The Eastwood Factor which is advertised as an up close and intimate portrait of Clint as he revisits old filming locations, costume departments, and the like. This unfortunately is a large disappointment. Clint’s commentary on some of his early costumes, “Yeah, that was a long time ago. Ok, enough of that.” What could have been really valuable comes off as palp with little in terms of real content. Below Clint discusses the writing process for Unforgiven (1992), which actually is interesting.
If you are a die hard Eastwood fan, you will already have most, if not all of these titles and will already own Schickel’s book, making the $179.99 MSRP a bit pricey ($129.99 on Amazon as of this writing) for duplicitous material. Those who are not die hard fans, but just like some of his work (like me) definitely won’t spend- nor should they – this amount just to get the Dirty Harry films, for example.
So it is really a bit of a conundrum for me as to who exactly will purchase this set. The lack of new content seems to deter just those it should be courting. What would have really been powerful would have been either this set on blu-ray or the complete Eastwood catalog across all studios. Unlikely yes, but definitely compelling.
Hard to recommend. There are some great films here and many lesser but good ones, but the cons are simply too high. The price point and quasi-completeness are big challenges.