Saturday, January 22, 2005
Clint Eastwood's "Million Dollar Baby"
Tall, lean and craggily handsome, Eastwood has aged well. He was born in San Francisco on May 31, 1930. Some of you reading this might remember him as the young cowpoke Rawdy Yates in “Rawhide”, the TV Series. It was Italian director Sergio Leone and his “spaghetti westerns” in the sixties that put Clint Eastwood on the map. Actor, director, producer, he has come a long way since then and rightfully earned his niche in the annals of American films.
Eastwood won the Best Director award (Oscar) in 1992 for “Unforgiven”. “Mystic River” (2003) earned nominations for Best Picture as well as Best Director. Would he win another ? He deserves it.
Million Dollar Baby
Clint Eastwood and Hilary Swank
Maggie Fitzgerald: Hilary Swank
Frankie Dunn: Clint Eastwood
Eddie “Scrap-Iron” Dupris: Morgan Freeman
Director: Clint Eastwood
Cinematographer: Tom Stern
Production Designer: Henry Bumstead
Screenplay: Paul Haggis, F.X. O'Toole
A movie about a female boxer, yes, but that is only a part of it. It is about forces that drive one to take on tasks that seem formidable; dysfunctional families; and about the agonies of a father because of something that went wrong in the past.
Cannot think of anyone who could have performed better than Hilary Swank as Maggie. Great acting.
Morgan Freeman’s role as “Scrap” fully complimented Eastwood, and his deep voice was perfect for the background narration.
The hard, gritty look of the boxing club was brought to life by Tom Stern and Henry Bumstead. One could almost smell the sweat---and the piss (from the dingy john in the back). Even the wardrobe looked as if picked from discount bin of a Goodwill store. The screenplay, taut and without frills.
Not all viewers would like the decision made by Maggie and Frankie at the end. Eastwood did it right. Anything else would have trivialized it.
Foggy Saturday morning. I am listening to the late pianist Thelonious Monk play "(I Don't Stand) A Ghost Of A Chance With You". It is the 1957 recording produced by Orrin Keepnews,Riverside Records.
No one in that theater had a dry eye when they left.
Freeman, Swank, Clint, were simply wonderful. So was the flick. Thx Musafir. Oh, if not too late, do not see White Noise, it's more than anyone should suffer through.