2 January 2009 | bkoganbing
Clint And Clyde
In Every Which Way But Loose, Clint Eastwood not only shares the screen with lady love Sondra Locke, but with an orangutan named Clyde. He had to call on all his skills to keep the film from being stolen by an ape.
This and its sequel Every Which Way You Can will never be at the top of Clint's cinema achievements, but it's a nice rollicking comedy about a bare knuckle fighter. If it were set in today's times instead of the Seventies, Eastwood's Philo Beddoe would be on the extreme fighting channel.
Seeing Clint's living quarters reminded me of John Wayne's similar arrangements in True Grit with Chin Lee and General Sterling Price the cat. Clyde's quite a bit more the handful than a cat. He lives with Geoffrey Lewis who is his second and corner man in the bare knuckle fighting business and handles all the wagers and Lewis's mother a 'helpless' little old lady with a shotgun, deliciously played by Ruth Gordon.
Making his living as a bare knuckle fighter, Clint just seems to run into people determined to take him down. That includes an involvement with aspiring country singer Sondra Locke whom he spends a good deal of money on and who then takes a powder on him. She's heading east so Clint, Lewis, and Clyde are as well. Along the way they pick up sharp shooting Beverly D'Angelo who saves them on one occasion.
The legendary bare knuckle champion is Denver Tank Murdoch and as that 20th century philosopher Ric Flair opined, to be the best you have to beat the best. So Clint is heading to Denver to find both Locke and Walter Barnes who plays Tank Murdoch with his three amigos.
He also manages to arouse the anger of John McQuade and his Black Widow Biker gang. These people are the sorriest biker gang ever depicted on the big screen. Everyone and I mean EVERYONE manages to best this crowd of losers. But they never give up.
Best in the film are Ruth Gordon and Clyde, not necessarily in that order. I've often thought that the Academy Awards should have a best animal performance in a given year. That year the Oscar gold would have been taken by the orangutan. I wish the film had elaborated a little more on when Eastwood and Lewis break into a zoo to get Clyde's male needs satisfied.
For a lighter and brighter side of Clint Eastwood, don't miss Every Which Way But Loose.