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Clint Eastwood in The Beguiled

Updated on February 16, 2017
LiliMarlene profile image

As a German-English screenwriter, filmmaker/director, photographer and illustrator I simply love everything creative.

An Update

I just read that Sophia Coppola will be filming or already finished a re-make of The Beguiled. I don't know why Hollywood likes to reproduce stories and repeat things. The version of The Beguiled of 1971 is already great. Nevertheless I actually can't wait to see Sophia's version and compare the two. The trailer is great and promising (see below).

I like that by Sophia's work my article becomes very up do date and I will write a review of the new version and additionally compare them here. Isn't it cool that Hollywood itself offers me new opportunities for HubPages? I love it. It's great - and nice. But judge yourself...

Trailer for The Beguiled (2017) by Sophia Coppola

Film Scene

Source

The Beguiled - a Summary

The story is adapted from the Southern Gothic novel "A Painted Devil", written by Thomas P. Cullinan and released in 1966. The film was directed by Don Siegel.

The story happens close to the end of the American Civil War somewhere in Louisiana. The Yankee soldier John McBurney is wounded and close to death when a 12 year old girl from an all girl school nearby finds and rescues him. With the help of all girls and the school´s staff they bring him into the school to care for him. John McBurney seems to be the first man they ever have had that close with them. Hence, all girls - no matter what age - are curious and scared at the same time. They care for him secretly without any supporting outside help.

A single man will never get more attention by women than in such a situation. The little girls and teenagers come to see this strange being called a man. The young women come to help him, but are curious like the teenagers. The older women come to check him out as they see the danger in him. He could not only disturb their peaceful community, but also go back out into the world and tell about their school which will lead to others who will follow him.

All these girls and women fall for his charms. Completely. Some with doubts, some with hope - but more or less they all fall in love with him. John gets better soon and stays. So, it looks as if he also fell in love with one or the other girl or woman, but he soon obviously has a favourite. Will he stay for ever and marry her? He seems willing, but is he? No, I will not anticipate the end as I want you to watch and enjoy the film to the end. Hence, I don´t tell you more about the story.

Don Siegel, the director, said: The Beguiled 'deals with the themes of sex, violence and vengeance and was based around, the basic desire of women to castrate men.' This is only partly true as, seen from my female point of view, the film also deals with different female characters and how they deal and behave within a group of women. You can never guess what one of them will do next. Do they all really love and admire him, will one of them be The Beguiled or will he, and what about his decision to escape from the army? Will they betray him in the end?

Thomas Cullinan´s Novel Adapted to a Film with Clint Eastwood

Thomas C. Cullinan and "A Painted Devil"

Thomas C. Cullinan was born on November 4, 1919 in Cleveland and died on June 11, 1995 during a playwriting festival. Writing was his life mission. He wrote novels and plays and always supported those who were interested in the theatre. He started his career as a writer with plays, but later also wrote many radio commercials, industrial films, documentaries, and scripts for television. His play 'Mrs. Lincoln' was his greatest commercial success because it was shown in Cleveland's Playhouse for 6 months in 1968.

Cullinan won several awards like the Cleveland Arts Prize in 1971 and some Ford Foundation grants which allowed him to travel to Berlin/Germany to participate in the 'Literarisches Colloquium' (literature colloquium) and he was a play writer in residence at the University of Utah in 1966. This made me laugh, because I recently wrote an article about a job offer as a writer in residence which I got offered, but in the end they got over 700 applications and I didn´t get the job. As I told you, we writers sometimes get strange job offers sometimes.

Anyway, he also wrote a play named 'The Sentinel' which is a one act play. Unfortunately, I could´t figure out what this play is about and if it inspired Gerald Petievich to write his novel (mixed up with his own experiences as a Special Agent) - which then was adapted for the movie and later for a TV show as well.

Thomas C. Cullinan died on a playwriting festival - so in a moment when he did what he really loved and lived for. His novel 'A Painted Devil' later was renamed into the film title 'The Beguiled', because by this the original story became more public attention through the appearance of Clint Eastwood.

Donald Siegel (1912-1991)

Source

Director Don Siegel

Donald (Don) Siegel was an American film director. He was born October 26, 1912 in Chicago and died April 20, aged 78, in Nipoma, CA. He was married for three times and father to three sons and two daughters. His oldest son he got with his first wife, all others he later adopted with his second wife. His roots were Jewish. In New York he attended some schools and later graduated on Jesus College in Cambridge, England. He even studied Beaux Arts in Paris, France for a while, but quit at the age of 20. it is unrecorded what brought him to film and how he made his way to Los Angeles.

However, when he reached L.A., which happened obviously after 1932, he found his first job with a little help from Warner producer Hal Wallis in the Warner Bros. film library. There, he made it up to the Montage Department and directed many Montages of films, even the opening of 'Casablanca'. It is said that he directed two short films in 1945, but not if he ever directed before - maybe just for fun.

His way to success was the best way any advisor could show you: he simply directed every screenplay he could get. Learning by doing is still the best way to get things made soon. Don Siegel found his own style by risking something: his film budgets and scripts were often stretched to the limits and sometimes even beyond.

The List of actors Donald Siegel worked with is impressive: Elvis Presley, Steve McQueen, Clint Eastwood, Shirley McLaine, Walther Matthau to name but a few.

His best known films? I guess all those he made with Clint Eastwood, like Dirty Harry, Two Mules for Sister Sara, Escape from Alcatraz and of course The Beguiled - but I am still exploring them and will report.

It is reported that Clint Eastwood read the script to The Beguiled in only one night and that this film was the first he agreed to play a character being in the center of several women. Here is what Mr. Eastwood later said about his character in The Beguiled (source: Wikipedia):

"Dustin Hoffman and Al Pacino play losers very well. But my audience like to be in there vicariously with a winner. That isn't always popular with critics. My characters have sensitivity and vulnerabilities, but they're still winners. I don't pretend to understand losers. When I read a script about a loser I think of people in life who are losers and they seem to want it that way. It's a compulsive philosophy with them. Winners tell themselves, I'm as bright as the next person. I can do it. Nothing can stop me."

The Cast (main women characters)

Director: Don Siegel

John McBurney : Clint Eastwood

Martha: Geraldine Page

Edwina: Elizabeth Hartman

Carol: Jo Ann Harris

Doris: Darleen Carr

Hallie: Mae Mercer

Amy: Pamela Ferdin

Abigail: Melody Thomas Scott

Lizzie: Peggy Drier

Janie: Patricia Mattick



Why YOU Should Watch 'The Beguiled'

There are very good reasons to watch this film

  • It is a sexy, exciting, suspenseful, thrilling and fascitating story.
  • Clint Eastwood alone is worth watching it.
  • Clint Eastwood in the mid of women of all ages who all seem to fall in love with him.
  • Women fighting for and against a man who suddenly entered their world.
  • The women´s conflict between their emotions, sexual needs, desires and dreams and the will to keep their community safe and sheltered.
  • The twisted and surprising end.

The Beguiled - Official Trailer (1971)

Donald Siegel and Clint Eastwood on film set for Dirty Harry

Source

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    • LiliMarlene profile image
      Author

      Elisabeth Meier 13 months ago

      True. I love when they are diversified like a Meryl Streep or Dustin Hoffman and Robert de Niro - and our wonderful friend Robin Williams. Those are real actors. When I see a Julia Roberts I only see her, not the character she's playing. I like her, she seems to be funny, but her acting in my eyes always looks the same.

    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 13 months ago

      It is interesting seeing well known actors in different roles. It can be anything from, that actor is very versatile to what were they thinking.

    • LiliMarlene profile image
      Author

      Elisabeth Meier 13 months ago

      Robert, thank you very much for your feedback. In fact, I chose for this film as it is barely or at least less known than the others and in contrast to the Dirty Harry films which were produced at the same time. It shows a different Clint Eastwood, but that's clear as his character actually is more supporting than a lead. The women are much more interesting here. Nice, that you like this hub. It's a little underestimated here because the movie wasn't a Blockbuster.

    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 13 months ago

      Good Hub. I like you also included a bio of Don Siegel and Clint Eastwood's commens about the character he play in the movie. It is a different kind of role for Clint Eastwood.