Springfield Leader and Press
By James Bacon
December 27, 1964
HOLLYWOOD (AP) – Who at the moment is Italy’s biggest boxoffice star?
It’s Clint Eastwood, the Rowdy Yates of CBS-TV’s long running “Rawhide” show.
Amazingly, the lanky Eastwood, who is reminiscent of the late Gary Cooper, has never been seen on television in Italy. Until he made an Italian-German- Spanish movie called “Fistful of Dollars,” he was completely unknown in that country.
But one Italian writer recently commented: “If Clint Eastwood came back to Italy, he could be elected president.”
The picture is an American Western shot in Spain with Eastwood as the only American in the cast. Its cost was $250,000.
Trade papers estimate its take from Italy alone may be ten times its cost.
Eastwood, back in town shooting his seventh year of “Rawhide,” confesses sadly that he hasn’t got a piece of the action.
“In fact,” says Clint, “I did it for peanuts, less than I get for “Rawhide.” I just liked the script.
“It’s so far out that I guess you could call it a James Bond Western. I’m supposed to be the hero, but there’s only a thin line between me and the heavy.
“In fact, I kill 25 people in the movie and end up by burning down the whole town. I’m no Sir Galahad like “Shane.”
“I’m on a 28-year-old horse and I look like a refugee hermit. I settle all arguments with gunfire. I think I do one good deed in the whole picture.
“When I read the script, I told the director and producers that either the picture is the greatest flop of all time -or else it’s the best Western satire yet. I played it as a satire, a little tongue in cheek. Apparently, we succeeded in Italy, at least. They’re sharp audiences.
“What makes me happy is I redeemed myself for a western I made before I went on “Rawhide,” I went to the sneak preview and it was the most horrible movie I’ve ever seen.
“I kept slipping lower and lower in my seat until I finally joined the rest of the audience stampeding for the exits.”
[submitter by Mike Hauss]