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By Brad Cook | June 1, 2010

My first exposure to Clint Eastwood was “Every Which Way But Loose” and its companion in monkey business, “Any Which Way You Can.” Hey, I was born in 1970, and I figured the guy on the screen was a good ol’ boy who liked to make funny movies. What the hell did I know?

Then I saw “Bronco Billy,” and my view of Eastwood widened. Suffice it to say, my understanding of the actor/director/producer/musician’s storied career has grown considerably since then. While I haven’t seen all of his films — and I have to admit there are other actors and directors I rank ahead of him — I admire what he has contributed to Hollywood. If you do too, “The Eastwood Factor” will be enjoyable viewing.

I should caution you, however, that this film is essentially a feature-length EPK that speaks about its subject in nothing but the most glowing terms. It avoids Eastwood’s messy personal life completely, and it skips over many of his box office duds, such as “Firefox” and “True Crime.” And for whatever reason, not all of the film clips are presented in letterbox format; that should have been a simple thing to ensure.

Also, if you’re sensitive to movie spoilers, you should be aware that the endings of several of his most prominent films are revealed, including “Gran Torino,” “Mystic River,” and “Million Dollar Baby.”

Morgan Freeman does a fine job narrating the proceedings, and “Time” magazine film critic Richard Schickel oversees a production that hits all the notes you’d expect. There are no glaring omissions, save the aforementioned ones, and Eastwood presents his thoughts in clips from a variety of different interviews, some of which were shot last year. He has some interesting anecdotes to share, and he offers thoughtful views on his most iconic characters. The narration also waxes poetic from time to time.

However, no one else drops in to offer any comments, not even Schickel himself, which leaves the proceedings feeling a bit one-sided. Where are Eastwood’s co-stars? And how about hearing from Sandra Locke? (Yes, I’m joking.)

By the way, this is an extended version of the same documentary that appeared earlier this year in the “Clint Eastwood: 35 Films, 35 Years” box set. It’s the same version that TCM aired on Memorial Day.

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