SCREEN GEM: The Beguiled (1971)

By EW Staff
Updated February 18, 2005 at 05:00 AM EST
Clint Eastwood, Geraldine Page, ...
Credit: Beguiled: The Everett Collection

Great role: Clint Eastwood in ”The Beguiled”

PREMISE Wounded Union soldier Eastwood takes refuge with headmistress Geraldine Page (pictured with Eastwood) at a Southern school for girls. A lone rooster in the henhouse, the seductive and manipulative Yankee plays the various women and girls against each other until they respond with chilling, emasculating fury.

FUN FACT Don Siegel, who directed Eastwood five times (most notably, in Dirty Harry), and whom Eastwood regarded as his directing mentor, considered this his favorite among his own films.

WHY IT’S GREAT It may have taken until Million Dollar Baby for viewers to regard Eastwood as a skilled actor and not just an icon, but he showed his range in this movie by playing, for once, a thoroughly unsympathetic character and an immobilized man of action.