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Films of Sergio Leone => Once Upon A Time In The West => Topic started by: Rudra on May 23, 2009, 07:48:34 PM

Title: Clint Eastwood as Frank
Post by: Rudra on May 23, 2009, 07:48:34 PM
Hi all,

I have been thinking about it for a while and I was wondering how about Clint Eastwood in the role of Frank in O.U.A.T.I.T.W.? Imagine, after the shooting the McBains at the ranch and while little Timmy stands shell-shocked in amidst the massacre of his family, the camera pans around and reveals Clint Eastwood's face, i.e. Clint as Frank.

Do you think Clint Eastwood could have done the same justice, if not better, than Henry Fonda as Frank?

Thanks,
R
Title: Re: Clint Eastwood as Frank
Post by: cigar joe on May 23, 2009, 08:23:57 PM
It would now have the same impact as Fonda did then probably.
Title: Re: Clint Eastwood as Frank
Post by: Colonel GŁnther Ruiz on May 23, 2009, 08:25:39 PM
Sorry but no.  Eastwood's Man with No Name was already a semi-villain ("The Good" my ass).  Remember what he did to Tuco?  Making him an outright baddie would actually be less interesting.  Leone had invented a new genre with FoD, improved on it with FAFDM, and perfected it with GBU.  All that was left was to merge his western (Spanish locales, cynical attitude about America, stylish and cool) with the traditional Hollywood western that he grew up with.  Only a small group of actors would have been iconic and heroic enough to make their casting as the black-hearted villain of OUATITW really sting the audience.  (A brilliant idea for late 60s America--if we can't trust (blank), then who can we trust?)  And for the record, Fonda was great as Frank.       :)
Title: Re: Clint Eastwood as Frank
Post by: Groggy on May 24, 2009, 01:53:21 PM
I'm with the Colonel. The Man With No Name was already an "anti-hero" at best, and Clint didn't have decades of playing heroic, iconic heroes behind him. Granted, he had played Rowdy Yates on Rawhide, but through the Dollars films he had quickly shed that persona. Fonda had played Tom Joad and Wyatt Earp and Juror #8 in his career, to name just a few - what did Clint have in his resume to compare? The fighter pilot in Tarantula?
Title: Re: Clint Eastwood as Frank
Post by: cigar joe on May 24, 2009, 02:34:26 PM
It would NOW have the same impact as Fonda did then probably,  get it NOW, not back then NOW.
Title: Re: Clint Eastwood as Frank
Post by: Groggy on May 24, 2009, 02:42:48 PM
I would disagree even more fervently with that NOW, given that Eastwood has now made a forty year career of playing morally ambiguous anti-heroes.
Title: Re: Clint Eastwood as Frank
Post by: cigar joe on May 24, 2009, 03:13:38 PM
Moraly ambiguous yes, but relatively what passes for a GOOD GUY nowadays, so it would have the same impact now.
Title: Re: Clint Eastwood as Frank
Post by: T.H. on May 24, 2009, 05:14:55 PM
Moraly ambiguous yes, but relatively what passes for a GOOD GUY nowadays, so it would have the same impact now.

I agree. Audiences are pretty much desenentized to the anti-hero, to the point in which they're viewed in the same light that the "good guys" were 50-60s years ago. The only actors that could have garnered a stronger reaction in 1968 would be The Duke and Jimmy Stewart (maybe you can make a few more cases but that's beside the point).
Title: Re: Clint Eastwood as Frank
Post by: Dust Devil on May 24, 2009, 05:57:33 PM
James Stewart actually tried a couple of times.

It didn't go well.
Title: Re: Clint Eastwood as Frank
Post by: Colonel GŁnther Ruiz on May 24, 2009, 07:13:47 PM
Try watching 12 Angry Men again.  There is something so relentless and self-assured about Fonda's uber-liberal that suggest he would make a great villain far more than movies like Fort Apache, where he was more flawed than bad.  Frank is Juror #8 without his conscience or ideals.
Title: Re: Clint Eastwood as Frank
Post by: Cusser on May 25, 2009, 08:36:34 AM
View the "surprise" seeing Fonda as Frank in appearance (after his gang shot Mcbain freckles from here to eternity) in 1969 eyes.  That's what made it great casting and performance.
Title: Re: Clint Eastwood as Frank
Post by: cigar joe on May 25, 2009, 09:38:54 AM
Of course, that is what I'm saying for Clint now he would have a similar effect upon audiences if he played a cold blooded killer of women & children.
Title: Re: Clint Eastwood as Frank
Post by: titoli on May 25, 2009, 01:26:24 PM
No, CJ, it wouldn't be the same. I jumped on my seat when I first saw Fonda in that scene. It wouldn't be the same with Eastwood: they have different careers and, most of all, different Hollywoods behind them.
Thinking about it, I think only Terence Hill could make the same impact nowadays, at least on italian audiences, as Frank.

 


Title: Re: Clint Eastwood as Frank
Post by: Groggy on May 25, 2009, 03:04:32 PM
Tom Hanks would probably be a better modern-day equivalent. I don't think he's ever played a bad guy, and only a few morally questionable characters.
Title: Re: Clint Eastwood as Frank
Post by: Whalestoe on May 25, 2009, 08:18:16 PM
Tom Hanks would probably be a better modern-day equivalent. I don't think he's ever played a bad guy, and only a few morally questionable characters.

Picturing Hanks as Frank is hilarious. Thank you, Groggs! ;D
Title: Re: Clint Eastwood as Frank
Post by: Dust Devil on May 26, 2009, 01:50:08 AM
Fonda was one of a kind, a great actor and a symbol of his time (whatever you think of that doesn't really matter). Now it's different. Audiences have changed, mentality has changed and expectations have changed, which is why his role of Frank in OUATITW can hardly be repeated or bested. The stinking puritanism of Hollywood was at the time already challenged, but today one can only imagine what the audience must have felt seeing Henry Fonda as psychopathic murderer, especially in America (release and other fuck ups besides) back in the late 60s.

I've heard people say only John Wayne in the role of Frank would have been a bigger surprise, but I don't really buy that. It was mostly because of his political views they couldn't imagine JW as Frank, not because of his acting skills or on-screen appearance. JW was a tall, heroic and masculine figure, the audience would bit his Frank at some point of the movie. But Henry Fonda, on the other hand, was something completely else. He wasn't the JW-ian macho ''Son I'll slap ya if ya don't tell me where did the robbers and killers go!'' hero type. He was a scrag, humble and pious, a man from the crowd, always fighting against injustice, for common people. A saint, Henry Fonda was as close as an actor could be to a saint till that moment, and Sergio Leone made the Devil out of him.
Title: Re: Clint Eastwood as Frank
Post by: noodles_leone on May 26, 2009, 03:19:41 AM
Nowadays, most big hollywoodian good guys, even Tom Cruise, have played at least one character that was the bad guy, either at the middle or the end of their career. When it is rightly done, it creates a little buzz around the movie, and sometimes it helps the actor to find more interesting parts afterwards. But you never ever think "OH MY GOD THIS IS MEL GIBSON!".
So may be Dust Devil has a point here.

Another reason he didn't mention is that we know now a lot about movies one year before we see them. If Orlando Bloom is going to play the bad guy, it is used to advertize the movie during the production phase. That's also why you never think "OH MY GOD THIS IS ORLANDO". You knew he was going to be the bad, and in a modern film, when you see a big bloodbath during the first 20 minutes, you know that this is going to be the introduction scene of the bad guy.
Title: Re: Clint Eastwood as Frank
Post by: Dust Devil on May 26, 2009, 04:31:15 AM
Good point.
Title: Re: Clint Eastwood as Frank
Post by: noodles_leone on May 26, 2009, 05:24:54 AM
Good point.

We're both very good.

... today.
Title: Re: Clint Eastwood as Frank
Post by: Groggy on May 26, 2009, 06:15:18 AM
I believe the trailers/ads for OUATITW made Fonda out to be the bad guy. It wasn't like Leone was trying to keep it a secret; the fact that he was shooting children was what, I imagine, caused such a reaction as Titoli describes.

I think Later Tuco has a good point though.
Title: Re: Clint Eastwood as Frank
Post by: noodles_leone on May 26, 2009, 06:46:34 AM
I believe the trailers/ads for OUATITW made Fonda out to be the bad guy. It wasn't like Leone was trying to keep it a secret; the fact that he was shooting children was what, I imagine, caused such a reaction as Titoli describes.

I think Later Tuco has a good point though.

But the trailer wasn't available on the net at the time :) It could even be the reason why these trailers are always terrible: who cares? nobody's gonna see it.
Morever, I stay on my case about the "every famous good guy plays baddies on a regular basis nowadays".
Title: Re: Clint Eastwood as Frank
Post by: Groggy on May 26, 2009, 06:51:54 AM
I can't say as I disagree with your latter point, blinky. :)
Title: Re: Clint Eastwood as Frank
Post by: noodles_leone on May 26, 2009, 06:57:15 AM
Well... I still agree about my latter point anyway  :D
Title: Re: Clint Eastwood as Frank
Post by: Jill on May 26, 2009, 01:27:53 PM
Clint never played Lawful Goods. But Fonda as Frank was Absolute Good turned into Evil. The only similar effect I can think is when in Boys of Brazil Mengele appears and GAWD it's Gregory Peck.
Title: Re: Clint Eastwood as Frank
Post by: Jordan Krug on May 26, 2009, 01:33:51 PM
I don't know if you guys have seen the movie Warlock (one of Leone's favorites) but Fonda is a bit of a bad-ass/bad guy there (at least by 50's standards)...certainly he's not the white knight of the movie....probably had some influence on his casting for west...
Title: Re: Clint Eastwood as Frank
Post by: cigar joe on May 26, 2009, 01:47:45 PM
Firecreek also
Title: Re: Clint Eastwood as Frank
Post by: Groggy on May 26, 2009, 03:08:35 PM
There were exceptions to the general rule in Fonda's career - I'd also add the obvious Fort Apache, and maybe The Tin Star, to that list - but they were definitely exceptions.
Title: Re: Clint Eastwood as Frank
Post by: T.H. on May 26, 2009, 06:12:00 PM
noodles and tuco, you're missing the point on what Joe said (or am I lol): had Eastwood played Frank, his impact would be just as strong, if not stronger than Fonda's presently because of the anti-hero status he built in the last forty years. Let's face it, Henry Fonda is a god of an actor, possibly the greatest, but many young people don't even know who he is.

or did I just miss the point on this?

Title: Re: Clint Eastwood as Frank
Post by: noodles_leone on May 27, 2009, 02:48:44 AM
noodles and tuco, you're missing the point on what Joe said (or am I lol): had Eastwood played Frank, his impact would be just as strong, if not stronger than Fonda's presently because of the anti-hero status he built in the last forty years. Let's face it, Henry Fonda is a god of an actor, possibly the greatest, but many young people don't even know who he is.

or did I just miss the point on this?



Now i'm a bit confused... What are we talking about?

the experience of a modern viewer seing Clint now in a remake VS the 1968 audience seing fonda at the time

OR

a modern viewer seing OUATITW now VS a modern viewer seing a remake with Clint?
Title: Re: Clint Eastwood as Frank
Post by: cigar joe on May 27, 2009, 07:20:36 AM
What I meant was in a modern film (not a remake of OUTITW) just having Eastwood play a despicable child killer or something similar would possibly have the same impact that Fonda did then.
Title: Re: Clint Eastwood as Frank
Post by: noodles_leone on May 27, 2009, 08:12:42 AM
What I meant was in a modern film (not a remake of OUTITW) just having Eastwood play a despicable child killer or something similar would possibly have the same impact that Fonda did then.

Ok... so i still agree with myself :)
Title: Re: Clint Eastwood as Frank
Post by: titoli on May 27, 2009, 08:28:40 AM
No, I insist. It couldn't have the same impact because Eastwood's screen persona given to him by Leone is that of a sob: what has this got to do with the one Fonda had until 1968?
Title: Re: Clint Eastwood as Frank
Post by: cigar joe on May 27, 2009, 12:39:13 PM
He's still a "good" SOB though, practically all heroes are some form of good SOB nowadays.
Title: Re: Clint Eastwood as Frank
Post by: T.H. on May 27, 2009, 02:10:30 PM
ok, so I missed the point. I have to give the edge to Fonda but Eastwood would invoke a pretty strong reaction.
Title: Re: Clint Eastwood as Frank
Post by: Rudra on May 27, 2009, 07:12:43 PM
Now i'm a bit confused... What are we talking about?

the experience of a modern viewer seing Clint now in a remake VS the 1968 audience seing fonda at the time

OR

a modern viewer seing OUATITW now VS a modern viewer seing a remake with Clint?


First of all, I would to thank the members of the board for their valuable contributions to the thread. What I meant through this thread was, how Clint would have fared had he been given the chance to play Frank's character in O.U.A.T.I.T.W. back in 1968. I know Clint Eastwood is ten years younger to Charles Bronson and with a little make-up he would have been made to appear older than he really was at that time (38?) Of course, it is difficult to imagine that Clint would have surpassed Henry Fonda, but I am sure he too would have come up with as strong performance as Fonda's, had he been offered the role then.
Title: Re: Clint Eastwood as Frank
Post by: Groggy on May 28, 2009, 05:18:45 AM
He's still a "good" SOB though, practically all heroes are some form of good SOB nowadays.

CJ, in so positing you're completely dodging the OP's original question.
Title: Re: Clint Eastwood as Frank
Post by: cigar joe on May 28, 2009, 10:36:30 AM
Grogs, I obviously didn't understand his original question, now that he's clarified it I say definitely and emphatically say NO.
Title: Re: Clint Eastwood as Frank
Post by: Groggy on May 28, 2009, 01:03:42 PM
Fair enough. O0
Title: Re: Clint Eastwood as Frank
Post by: JFM on July 13, 2009, 04:28:06 PM
Morgan Freeman?
Title: Re: Clint Eastwood as Frank
Post by: Colonel GŁnther Ruiz on July 14, 2009, 12:11:45 PM
Morgan Freeman?

Now that might be interesting.   :)
Title: Re: Clint Eastwood as Frank
Post by: Huey on January 24, 2010, 10:43:42 AM
I saw an interview Henry Fonda gave and he said himself that he was well aware of people reacting to his role in terms of "My God! It's Henry Fonda".  If Eastwood had played Frank, it would have been the same transition from Blondie to Frank as Lee Van Cleef had already undergone when changing from Mortimer to Setenza.  It would simply have been a near-baddie taking the plunge and being the baddie.

A few people have said John Wayne would have caused a stir in a role like Frank but even he was an anti-hero at times, especially in The Searchers and to a degree in Liberty Valance.  It is no stretch of the imagination to see Wayne playing Frank having seen him as Ethan Edwards.

One "good guy" who could have played Frank superbly would have been William Holden: see The Wild Bunch for proof.
Title: Re: Clint Eastwood as Frank
Post by: The Firecracker on January 27, 2010, 08:58:58 PM
One "good guy" who could have played Frank superbly would have been William Holden: see The Wild Bunch for proof.

Warren Oates could've played Cheyenne.
No?
I wouldn't want it that way but I could see it.
Title: Re: Clint Eastwood as Frank
Post by: cigar joe on January 28, 2010, 04:06:28 AM
Jimmy Stewart could probably have pulled of Frank also with the same shock value.
Title: Re: Clint Eastwood as Frank
Post by: Groggy on January 28, 2010, 07:25:57 AM
Jimmy Stewart could probably have pulled of Frank also with the same shock value.

Yeah but I don't see him doing it convincingly.
Title: Re: Clint Eastwood as Frank
Post by: moviesceleton on January 28, 2010, 12:36:18 PM
Yeah but I don't see him doing it convincingly.
;D That would be totally hilarious. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ja90EpsZ7Zs
Title: Re: Clint Eastwood as Frank
Post by: Jill on January 29, 2010, 06:41:37 AM
How about Gregory Peck? He was the perfect gentleman, always a nice guy (well, if we don't count Moby Dick what was a total miscast, and Duel In The Sun where he might be the bad guy but the goodie is boring, so one must end up rooting for Greg.)

Although he did the "Frank effect" in The Boys Of Brazil where he played Mengele, of all people. And he was terrific.


And also, Max von Sydow as Frank? Has those cold eyes, but he's also a wise-and-good type.
Title: Re: Clint Eastwood as Frank
Post by: Groggy on January 29, 2010, 10:30:31 AM
Peck was awful in Boys From Brazil. One of the all-time hammiest performances, with a truly terrible German accent. I got a big laugh out of "Shut up, you ugly BITCH!" though.
Title: Re: Clint Eastwood as Frank
Post by: Jill on January 30, 2010, 08:15:43 AM
Peck was awful in Boys From Brazil. One of the all-time hammiest performances, with a truly terrible German accent. I got a big laugh out of "Shut up, you ugly BITCH!" though.

Don't know about his accent, but our dub actor (same as Frank's Hungarian voice, and a late stage legend) did a perfect job.
Title: Re: Clint Eastwood as Frank
Post by: Groggy on January 30, 2010, 09:36:53 AM
*I*... am a DOCTOR, IDIOT!

Or...

No, he's in the KITCHEN, mixing us some COCKTAILS!

 ;D ;D ;D
Title: Re: Clint Eastwood as Frank
Post by: The Firecracker on February 03, 2010, 10:55:23 PM
How about Gregory Peck? He was the perfect gentleman, always a nice guy

I haven't seen The Bravados yet (shame on me) but isn't he a bit ruthless in that?
Title: Re: Clint Eastwood as Frank
Post by: cigar joe on February 04, 2010, 04:10:23 AM
I haven't seen The Bravados yet (shame on me) but isn't he a bit ruthless in that?

OH Man, you have to see this one, can't believe you haven't yet..... O0
Title: Re: Clint Eastwood as Frank
Post by: O'Cangaceiro on February 04, 2010, 11:00:10 PM
I don't think that Clint Eastwood would have played the role of Frank with the same impact as Henry Fonda. However, I think that Charlton Heston would have been as good (if not better) as Henry Fonda playing that role.
Title: Re: Clint Eastwood as Frank
Post by: Groggy on February 05, 2010, 10:48:51 AM
Heston might have been an interesting Frank, but he played a great many characters who were, shall we say, less than admirable.
Title: Re: Clint Eastwood as Frank
Post by: dave jenkins on February 05, 2010, 05:39:24 PM
Heston might have been an interesting Frank, but he played a great many characters who were, shall we say, less than admirable.
Yeah, like Zaius in Burton's Planet of the Apes: "Damn them! Damn them all to hell!"
Title: Re: Clint Eastwood as Frank
Post by: Groggy on February 05, 2010, 11:11:07 PM
Taylor you mean?

But yeah, he was a jackass in that movie, which was probably the point.

Of course I was largely thinking about Major Dundee.
Title: Re: Clint Eastwood as Frank
Post by: titoli on February 13, 2010, 04:00:54 PM
Sorry, but Heston or Peck weren't as HUGE as Fonda or Wayne, expecially as westerners. Only Eastwood has reached that status and for reasons already discussed he couldn't have played the part. So, in my opinion, Wayne was the only credible alternative to Fonda. I wonder if he ever saw the movie at all. I believe he did.
Title: Re: Clint Eastwood as Frank
Post by: dave jenkins on February 13, 2010, 04:42:30 PM
Taylor you mean?
I meant Zaius. Get yer Ape movies straight, fanboy.
Title: Re: Clint Eastwood as Frank
Post by: Groggy on February 16, 2010, 12:30:10 PM
Why would I waste my time watching a fucking Tim Burton remake?
Title: Re: Clint Eastwood as Frank
Post by: Groggy on February 16, 2010, 12:30:59 PM
Sorry, but Heston or Peck weren't as HUGE as Fonda or Wayne, expecially as westerners. Only Eastwood has reached that status and for reasons already discussed he couldn't have played the part. So, in my opinion, Wayne was the only credible alternative to Fonda. I wonder if he ever saw the movie at all. I believe he did.

He saw and commented on the Dollars trilogy. I don't know if he would have bothered with OUATITW.
Title: Re: Clint Eastwood as Frank
Post by: titoli on February 16, 2010, 03:34:00 PM
He not bothering to watch a western with Fonda? I don't believe it.
Title: Re: Clint Eastwood as Frank
Post by: Groggy on March 03, 2010, 01:31:18 PM
True, they were pretty close friends.
Title: Re: Clint Eastwood as Frank
Post by: franksgrandson on June 12, 2011, 04:07:23 PM
Eastwood as Frank Eh
Yes that would work these days
Eastwood is the only director who could give us
a sequal.
Well thats if he kicks the buget aside and gets a few of the italian
old boys in on the job.
I just would really like one huge mother of a leone tribute western made
lets face it any movie that has a undercurrent of Leone in it always does well
I wonder why?
And for me back then it has to be Wayne he would have made a fine Frank.
Leone/Wayne movie is a fantasy of mine, only Leone could have totally
dragged Waynes image through hell and make him cooler than iconic
Title: Re: Clint Eastwood as Frank
Post by: cigar joe on June 12, 2011, 06:06:16 PM
Somebody on IMDB mentioned someone I hadn't thought about playing Frank, who also may have had the same audience reaction,  Randolph Scott.
Title: Re: Clint Eastwood as Frank
Post by: El Gorila on June 12, 2011, 06:41:35 PM
James Arness would have been heart attack inspiring as an evil son of a bitch like Frank.