What's your favorite Clint Eastwood/Sondra Locke pairing?


mattiasflgrtll6's Avatar
The truth is in here
I got very sad about the news of Sondra Locke's passing last year. She had a very energetic, unique presence in every movie she's was in. Sure the characters she played tended to be over-the-top, but that's often what made them so funny. I still have Deep Impact and The Outlaw Josey Wales left, but my favorite performance of her right now is The Gauntlet. She gets so many great lines that she almost steals the show from Clint Eastwood himself.
The entire scene where Ben, Gus and the perverse constable are in a car is amazing. You have the constable asking all these sexist questions (which themselves are hilarious because they're so ridiculous) and Ben is about to explode while Gus just keeps calm. Then after he's finally finished, she starts playing the same game with him by humiliating him with her taunts and then adding extra insult to injury with "And does your wife know you masturbate?" Both her delivery of the line and the constable becoming such a nervous wreck he drives off the road made me die with laughter. One of the best long built-up punchlines I've ever seen.

My second favorite is Bronco Billy. She's torn from a disastrous marriage with her husband John Arlington (played by Geoffrey Lewis, who ironically appeared in two more movies with Eastwood and Locke, but this time as a super likable endearing guy), which makes it very hard for her to connect with someone else. When she tries to express love, all that comes out is hate. It's not until she has a heart-to-heart talk with Lorraine Running Water that she realizes her true feelings for Bronco and starts easing up on him a bit.

When it comes to Every Which Way You Loose and Every Which You Can, I found her a lot more likable in the sequel (in Loose her character was way too high-strung, even by Locke standards), but she was still good in both of them. I've never been bored or disinteresting with a Sondra Locke performance. I think she's a very underrated and funny talent.

For me as an overall film The Outlaw Josey Wales is clearly the best of the six features they did together. But it wasn't much of an acting challenge for her, she didn't have a heck of a lot to do there. I would agree that Mally No Show in The Gauntlet is the best character Sondra had to play and her best acting.

There is a seventh project Locke and Eastwood worked on together, just before their infamous split that ended in a lawsuit against Warner Brothers and Eastwood's Malpaso production company. Clint directed but did not appear in a first season episode of Spielberg's NBC '80s anthology series "Amazing Stories" titled "Vanessaa in the Garden". Ms. Locke was a nice presence playing the titular character, the beloved wife of a painter (Harvey Kietel) who after her death is able to have her spirit conjured through his art.

You can watch the episode HERE.

I would say her debut performance in the adaptation of Carson McCullers' The Heart is a Lonely Hunter (1968) in which she and Alan Arkin both received Oscar nominations (Locke lost to Ruth Gordon in Rosemary's Baby), was the best performance of her career. But The Gauntlet would be right up there, even if its fun, pulpy goodness is not the kind of thing that generates awards buzz.

"Film is a disease. When it infects your bloodstream it takes over as the number one hormone. It bosses the enzymes, directs the pineal gland, plays Iago to your psyche. As with heroin, the antidote to Film is more Film." - Frank Capra