Clint Eastwood first made a name for himself in Sergio Leone’s Spaghetti Westerns in the 1960’s. Eastwood iconic Man with No Name in the “Dollar Trilogies” made him an international star, and it is only fitting that he would resurrect his career in a film of this genre. “Unforgiven” was directed, produced, and stared in by Clint Eastwood and received an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor, Best Director, Best Film Editing, and Best Picture in 1993. It is often credited as the best western made in the last twenty years, and for reinvigorating the western genre. Clint Eastwood wanted to bring us a film with a fresh perspective on the classical western, and directed in classical terms. Clint Eastwood is a straight shooting director who insists on tight budgets, filming on location; his films often portray authority figures as fascists, the hero is often morally handicapped, with strong female roles. In “Unforgiven” he accomplishes his goal through simple camera work, a well written script by David Webb Peoples, and using the natural landscape and lighting.
The screenplay was written by David Webb Peoples in 1976 originally named “The William Munny Killings”. Mr. Eastwood held on to the script in for almost thirty years before beginning production; mainly because he wanted to wait until he was old enough to star as William Munny and as his final western film. (Tanitch) Eastwood would state that “I thought it was time to do a film where violence not only can be painful, but has consequences for the perpetrators as well as the victims. Usually in westerns violence is glorified and romanticized.” (Tanitch) The film, although violent and gritty, all the perpetrators, and victims are tormented. The film shows the dark side of the violence and often shows how the innocent fall victim to it.
Eastwood produce the film virtually unchanged from the original screenplay written by Mr. Peoples. Mr. Peoples’s well written script takes the time to develop complex characters through dialogue and Eastwood brings the visual portion of the film to life. Mr. Peoples did not participate in the making of the film. “He is surprised at how it was not changed, seeing the violence that he wrote on paper come to life, and impressed by the product.” (Eastwood and Company: Making Unforgiven.) Peoples takes the time to develop each character; William Munny (Clint Eastwood) the outlaw whose wife has a strong impact him; Munny’s longtime friend Ned Logan (Morgan Freeman); the Schofield Kid who wants to be an outlaw; and the totalitarian sheriff of Old Whisky Little Bill (Gene Hackman). The usual saloon, a few whores, a town of good old boys, a bounty to be collected, add Eastwood persona and we are sure to have a good old-fashioned gritty western.
Typical of Eastwood’s films, he prefers to shoot on location. He likes using the natural landscape and the natural lighting of the outdoors. The film would not have been the same cooped up in Universal Studios. The setting makes the film...