High Plains Drifter (1973) Poster


Shortly after the film's release, Clint Eastwood wrote to John Wayne, suggesting that they make a western together. Wayne sent back an angry letter in reply, in which he denounced this film for its violence and revisionist portrayal of the Old West. Eastwood did not bother to answer his criticisms, and consequently they did not work together.
Universal Pictures wanted the film to be shot on the studio lot. Instead, Clint Eastwood had a whole town built in the desert near Mono Lake in the California Sierras. Many of the buildings were complete and three-dimensional, so that interiors could be shot on location.
The character of Marshal Duncan was played by stuntman Buddy Van Horn, a long-time stunt coordinator for Clint Eastwood, in order to create some ambiguity over whether he and The Stranger are one and the same.
One of the headstones in the graveyard bears the name Sergio Leone as a tribute.
Eastwood scouted the locations himself while driving a pickup truck through Oregon, Nevada and California. He chose the shores of Mono Lake because he considered the area highly photogenic. Additional scenes were filmed at Reno, Nevada's Winnemucca Lake and California's Inyo National Forest.
The first rape scene in a Clint Eastwood film, and he's the one committing the act.
Filmed in six weeks.
During an interview on Inside the Actors Studio (1994), Clint Eastwood commented that earlier versions of the script made The Stranger the dead marshal's brother. He favoured a less explicit and more supernatural interpretation and excised the reference. Although the Italian, Spanish, French and German dubbings retain it.
The film came in under budget and two days ahead of schedule. Clint Eastwood is famous for being an extremely efficient director.
The first time Clint Eastwood directed one of his Westerns.
Other headstones bear the names of Don Siegel (Clint Eastwood's director on five films, four of which preceded this one) and Brian G. Hutton (director of Where Eagles Dare (1968) and Kelly's Heroes (1970)). Patrick McGilligan's 2002 Eastwood biography quotes the star as saying, "I buried my directors."
The Bible verse on the wall of the church is Isaiah 53:3-4 which reads, "He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted"
The town of Lago was built 300 miles away from Hollywood. A 46-man crew of technicians and 10 laborers worked 10-hours a day for 18 days constructing 14 houses and a two-story hotel. They were burned down at the film's completion.
Controversial in its day but still a commercial hit, _High Plains Drifter (1973)_ is listed in the Motion Picture Guide as one of the best Westerns of the 1970s. However, some critics thought Eastwood's direction was too derivative of his mentor Don Siegel and the works of Sergio Leone.
The opening/closing scenes are identical.
Filmed in sequence.
Editing of the film was done in a log cabin on the shores of Mono Lake.
Its seven minutes before Clint Eastwood says a word of dialogue, despite being in the film from the very first frame.
The name of the town was Lago. The name that it was changed to was Hell. After the change, during filming, Clint Eastwood constantly told the cast and crew to "Go to Hell!'.
The strange colors make the town of Lago look different throughout the day scenes. Clint Eastwood supplemented this with eerie music, idiosyncratic photography as well as a weird dream sequence all adding to the supernatural atmosphere of the movie.
The Stranger and Mordecai are both outcasts; its probably the reason why they get along so well in the movie.
Holds the 11th position of the highest grossing 1970s Westerns.
The amount of paint that was used to paint the western town red was 380 gallons.
The Stranger is similar to The Man With No Name persona familiar to Clint Eastwood's Spaghetti Westerns, and they even wear a similar hat. The character in the film has no personal name and is only referred to in the billing as The Stranger.
One of the first Westerns that took a revisionist stance as opposed to the traditional ones of the genre.
Any holes in the plot were filled with black humour and allegory to Sergio Leone. Eastwood thought the allegory of the film was "a speculation on what happens when they go ahead and kill the sheriff and someone comes back and calls the town's conscience to bear. There's always retribution for your deeds."
For the climax, Clint Eastwood told everybody to "report to Hell".
There is no spoken dialogue until six minutes into the film.
The whipping scenes go on for almost three minutes.
Billy Curtis got a stiff neck from working with Clint Eastwood, but he said it was worth it to play such a wonderful part.
The actors began to paint the houses of Lago red, but professionals finished them off.
150,000 feet of timber were used to build the town of Lago.
Clint Eastwood wanted an offbeat look for High Plains Drifter (1973); not the conventional look of a Western.
Clint Eastwood's second film as director after he debuted with Play Misty for Me (1971).
Clint Eastwood read a 9-page proposal for High Plains Drifter (1973) while at Universal. He liked its offbeat quality and wanted to direct it.
The Stranger is quite a misogynistic character; e.g. his masochistic rape of Marianna Hill, etc.
High Plains Drifter (1973) was made by Clint Eastwood's own Malpaso Productions, so he produced, directed and starred in it. He doesn't mind multitasking, as long as he can concentrate on his job(s).
Most of the film is shot in daytime; only three sections of the film are shot at night.
Although Clint Eastwood is in the last four minutes of the film, he is absent for much of the climax.
Dean Riesner did uncredited contributions to the script.
Scriptwriter Ernest Tidyman also wrote the novelization for the film.
Influenced by Eastwood's two major collaborators Sergio Leone and Don Siegel.

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