Don Siegel, who directed Two Mules for Sister Sara, seems to have been a major force in orienting Clint Eastwood on a path toward directing.
Mr. Siegel began his career working on montage sequences in 1939, and is credited for his work on many of the major Warner films of the era – The Roaring Twenties, Brother Orchid, They Drive By Night, Meet John Doe, They Died with Their Boots On, Yankee Doodle Dandy, Now, Voyager, Casablanca, et al.
Ever consider how may films of that era had montage sequences?
He worked his way up through AD and until 1946, when he was given The Verdict as director.
He crossed genre lines with ease, even (it is rumored) doing a sci-fi picture, as well as directing Elvis Presley, which may have been similar.
In 1968, he directed Coogan’s Bluff, which gave star billing to Clint Eastwood, an Italian actor of some note, who had arrived in the Colonies after making a name for himself in Spaghetti westerns, with his heavy accent being dubbed into English for American audiences.
Two years hence, came Two Mules for Sister Sara, with Mr. Eastwood and Shirley MacLaine, who strangely seemed to carry two large caterpillars around on her eye lids during the shoot.
This was followed with The Beguiled in 1970, after which Mr. Siegel and Mr. Eastwood switched positions for Play Misty for Me, in which the former director, took an acting role for his former actor.
That would reverse again for Dirty Harry, an intimate police drama, that arrived in 1971.
Before we leave the discussion of Mr. Siegel, I’d be remiss without noting that his 1976, The Shootist, is still MIA on Blu-ray.
As to Two Mules, it will be released by Kino, along with High Plains Drifter on November 10. The Beguiled will follow in November. I’ll be reporting on that release shortly, but first let’s get to Two Mules.
In a word, the new Blu arrives via a new master from Universal, in spectacular form.
I viewed the “International” cut, which runs 114 minutes to the domestic 105, and only noted a couple of very minor problems. A single shot was extremely dupey – who know why? – but not a big deal, and I found another single shot to be a tiny bit off in color. Again, no big deal, just reporting.
Audio is fine, and normal for the era.
As a film, it holds up nicely. It was never a great film, but always entertaining.
Some interesting asides.
Ennio Morricone, who had composed the scores for some Italian films and apparently some westerns, was along to do his magic for Two Mules.
Bud Boetticher, a filmmaker of some note, is credited for story along with Albert Maltz, who wrote the screenplay. Mr. Maltz, who had worked on may Warner productions, was persecuted by our government in 1947, and became known as a member of the “Hollywood 10.”
I truly hope that members of HUAC are rotting in hell.
But I’ll stop being nice.
Bottom line. Grab a copy of Two Mules, a wonderful addition to any cinephile’s Eastwood collection.
Image – 5
Audio – 5
Pass / Fail – Pass
Upgrade from DVD & earlier Blu-ray – Absolutely
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