Thursday, July 3, 2008

In Defense of Sondra Locke

My first encounter with Miss Locke had quite an effect on my fragile 9 year old mind. I must admit, looking back all these years later, that her "Lynn Halsey Taylor" did my head in quite a bit. My Mom took my brother (4 and half years older and wiser) and I to see Every Which Way But Loose back in 1978. She later regretted it - more for me than my brother - I think. There was a bit too much foul language and, ahem, adult situations for her tastes with regard to what she felt was "appropriate" for me. Granted, Mom never had any problems with me watching all sorts of stuff that I probably needed a bit of supervision with (my posts on Salems Lot and Horror of Dracula attest to this) - but it was a "different" situation when she paid money for tickets and concession goodies and sat down, the three of us in a movie theater - if you catch my drift. As for the movie.... Well... next paragraph if you please.

I was loving it. Until we got to the last third of the film. It then took a turn that my 9 year old self didn't quite "understand." My logic: Clint digs this girl. This girl seems to dig Clint. She's attractive, I like her too. I wish I had another box of milk duds. Okay, Clint gave this girl a lot of money and she vanished. Clint seems to think she might be in trouble. He and Orville are gonna go save her! Hey! There she is! Clint and the girl have some fun alone time together! (and my the music sure was pretty in that scene) Nice! Well then, things shall go nicely for Clint and Lynn Halsey... (side note: I had my Dad buy me the Eddie Rabbit single of the theme song).

Then came the material I didn't quite GET: That girl sure doesn't want to see Clint anymore. That's funny, they were just kissing and doing other "stuff" a few scenes ago. WOW, she's beating the shit outta Clint and telling him he's a big stupid, dumb, idiot! She's screaming that she hates him! She's clawing his damn eyes out! Uhm, Mommy? Why is that girl such a fucking bitch?
And then, of course, Clint throws the fight with Tank Murdock for reasons that I DID understand, but what about the skinny girl with the big eyes? What the fuck was THAT all about?

That film did a good number on me. And you know what? It's reverberations and repercussions are still felt today. I've dated my share of Lynn Halsey Taylors'. In fact I can recall with stunning clarity the events of a short but intense (on my part) liaison from last summer. I was very much into a young, pretty singer (not unlike Ms. Halsey Taylor) and I was interested in more than just her bed (Clint actually says to Lynn "Maybe I'm the first guy who's wanted to take you further than your bed" to which she starts to gouge his fucking eyes out) and my Lynn Halsey, well, she basically just shit on my feelings pretty darn good. Some life lessons learned take a few tries now don't they...
So, while my first encounter with Sondra Locke was completely confusing, shocking, and nonetheless titillating - I decided to stay clear of the doe-eyed vixen (Clint decided otherwise, but more on that later) for awhile. Well, that didn't last too long as good ol' WKBD was showing The Outlaw Josey Wales about a month or two after I saw Every Which Way in the theater. Now, as my friend Fred as well as good ol' Captain Spaulding are both fond of saying... "What the fuck is this shit?" Now the little minx is sweet and innocent?? Huh? Well maybe she's not so bad. And on that note...

If you place much stock in her auto-biography (and I place a lot) then I feel that Sondra was justified in all her actions towards Eastwood at the close of the 1990s. Her legal battles (of which she won all) took an additional negative toll on an already unpopular public opinion. She had two abortions while with Clint and later had a double mastectomy (breast cancer survivor). Pretty rough folks. Now, I love Clint Eastwood - as a director, actor, producer, icon, etc., but I can pretty easily state that if I was a woman, I probably wouldn't want to date the man.
Sondra could chomp a bit melodramatically on dialogue in her later films (Sudden Impact is an example, but I think her overall performance in that film is damn good) and her singing (showcased in the Every Which Way vehicles) was a bit, shall we say - untrained, but she had a fantastic spark and energy. I found her to be stunning and far more than just capable actress. She won a national talent hunt - sponsored by Warner Brothers - which got her the role of Mick Kelly in The Heart is a Lonely Hunter and a nomination at the Academy Awards in the supporting actress role. Not bad for a debut. The simple fact is that both Alan Arkin and Sondra Locke are incredible in their roles. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter resonates long after its first viewing - especially the very tender and sweet relationship between Arkin and Locke. It is a deeply profound and very unforgettable film. You owe it to yourself to check it out. Sondra's last moment alone in the film is VERY tear inducing. But, the film, on the whole, belongs to its lead: Arkin - wow, what a performance. Sondra is pretty spellbinding herself though.

I also love her in Willard (1971) - another touching performance. But, I must explain the glorious fun of watching 1977's (shot in 75 according to some sources) Death Game aka The Seducers. One fun film my friends. This dude's wife and kid are away - it's his birthday and Sondra and her friend show up on a dark stormy night (they are supposedly "lost"). What ensues is a helluva fun ride. Weird, campy, and over the top - Death Game is a complete and total hoot! I Loved every weird little minute of it.

So - that's my two cents on Sondra Locke. I wish she would come back to the industry - I feel that at 61 she's still got a lot left to show us. I have always loved her even though she confused the fuck outta me back in 1978.


Bill said...

I left you a response on my blog, but I just wanted to say that that dancing gif chick is not my wife. Haha.

I first saw Sondra in Jose Welles, at the theater in Lexington Ky with a girl named Mary Landsdale back in my early college days, back when Led Zeppelin were still together! Since it was my 1st encounter was taken back with her waifish appearance and when I next saw her in something like The Gauntlet I was stunned she could be so tough.

I want to see the film she directed called Ratboy fro some reason. It seems like it gets hostile reviews, so I may ave the opposite opinion. And she was great in the Wallard remake, as was Crispin Glover, though the Bruce Davidson performance was perfect.

God to see you back with a long worthy post.


gilligan said...

I will echo Bill's comment that it's great to see your blog up and running again. Probably the only post on the entire blogosphere on a defense of Sondra Locke - that's why it's so good.

My understanding is that Lockewas literally driven out of Hollywood by Eastwood and Warner Bros. There's certain guys in Hollywood that can get away with murder and you simply do not cross (Nicholson, Eastwood, DeNiro, etc.)or you may just find yourself penniless and in a Greyhound bus station.

I noticed you're watching Buck Rogers - one of my favorites (if you've seen my blog, that shouldn't be too much of a shock). Although, I hope it's the first season - season two had Gerard in control and it went to hell in a handbasket. It stopped being campy and fun, and they added that awful hawk man...... I digress. Enjoyed the blog - keep it coming!

Taliesin_ttlg said...

Hi Chick

reflecting Gilligan's comment, and totally off topic, I also noticed the Buck Rogers watch...

hmmm... space slatern Princess Ardala and Wilma Deering's butt - now they had an effect on an impressionable young mind!

ewaffle said...

Terrific essay, well written and illuminating a corner of the movie biz by coming at it from an unexpected angle.

My thoughts about Sondra Locke--when I had them which was just about never--were about her character in "Sudden Impact" which was one of the most hysterically misogynist film in Eastwood's canon.

She and Eastwood clearly had a relationship that worked creatively and (one assumes) financially for both of them. As gilligan mentioned, getting on the wrong side of a powerful man in Hollywood is one sure way to end a career and that seems to be the case with her.

Chick Young said...

Gentlemen. My sincere thanks for your immediate feedback on a long overdue blog post. I have to say that Bill and Gilligan's sites have been absolutely KNOCKING my socks off as of late. I wish I could just blog full-time, don't we all? Get paid too! As for my pal in the U.K., Tali? Well, I can't say his blog is knocking my socks off lately - he ALWAYS does that - the microprocessor that is his brain is running at a gigahertz that is not measurable by any human standards. Lastly, to my dear friend Ed, you always bring a smile with your comments. I think a coffee is long overdue. Thanks my faithful readers - and thanks especially to Gilligan for his comment on what makes my blog "unique" in some small way. As for Buck Rogers? I saw every episode first run on the telly - and as my friend Ed knows, I have said it is the greatest television show of all time (not really). My logic is simple. As someone who LOVED the Solid Gold dancers and had fantasies of siring their children - I asked myself what could be better than 10 Solid Gold dancers? How about several hundred? Because that's what you get in Buck Rogers - solid writing and lots of satin and curves. WHAT COULD POSSIBLY BE BETTER? And I know that Tali loves the seminal SPACE VAMPIRE episode - who doesn't?? Cheers.

Bill said...


In case something weird happens to my site I will doing something here I dread.

I am finally switching the account ownership from my friend who set it up for to myself. The domain name stays the same, but I will have to flip all the FTP stuff and data from his host account to mine. Damn...

I hope all my widgets and pic galleries adn new youtube display stay the same.

I am so nervous about losing the data on the posts that I spent all night backing up the code to each post, so if the data transfer fails I can manually reload each post one by one. I do not know if this will affect my categories and comment history, but if I loose 2% I am live with that.

My site may be blank or something for a while, I dunno. lets hope by the weekend I am back to normal. Or my site is back to normal anyway.

See you soon... I Hope :(

Anonymous said...

I agree it is not fair how she has been treated. Eastwood cheated and fathered other kids that she didn't even know about. He's an asshole. I really hope she does another movie. Anyone know what she's up to now?

11 said...

I love it ! Very creative
! That's actually really cool Thanks.

Rex said...

Well-said....all her movies with Eastwood are very good - Bronco Billy is an underrated gem. Nice pictures, too, reaffirming what a beauty she was. Whose to say what happened with Eastwood, it ended ugly and that's extremely disappointing, but the movies will live forever.

Anonymous said...

I went to school w/Sandra Locke from the first grade thru high school. In school, she was a fun-loving girl who was my friend. I've heard thru the years many disparaging comments. I say to those people w/small minds, you are jealous of her and I congragulate her on her career.
Shelbyville, Tennessee is not a dot on the world stage, but I'm proud to be a hick that was raised there and left as soon as possible. BGray

Chick Young said...

Mr. Gray,

I want to thank you for leaving feedback on this post. It's brought a lot of traffic to this site over the years. It's lovely to know that Sondra was a fun-loving girl and also your friend. I guess it's safe to say that I fell in love with that girl back when I was a youngster - and I am truly saddened that she has not returned to the screen for so many years. That love still lingers in the part of me that is still a young, impressionable boy. Thanks again for your time and words.

Chick Young

Anonymous said...

Clint Eastwood and Sondra Locke were together from October 1975 to April 10, 1989.

During the last three years of their relationship, Eastwood secretly fathered two children with another woman. He had a son named Scott (born March 21, 1986) and a daughter named Kathryn (born February 2, 1988) with a flight attendant named Jacelyn Reeves. He was still cohabiting with Locke during all of that time.

Eastwood continued to lie about having had these children until 2002.

If you read his "authorized" biography by Richard Schickel, not a single page mentions Jacelyn Reeves or their two children. Nor does any sophisticated publication or interview featuring him prior to 2002.

Locke, however, does mention them in her 1997 autobiography. She found out about these children some time after her relationship with Clint ended. In her book she describes, in great detail, her devastation of being informed about them by a journalist who was doing an exposé on Clint.

Anonymous said...

I feel bad for Sondra Locke (though I'm sure she's doing just fine these days). During their relationship, Clint convinced her to have an abortion when she got pregnant then he convinced her to get her tubes tied. In the ultimate betrayal he then Proceeded to father two children with another woman while still with Sondra. He might be a great director and movie maker but as a human being, he's completely capable of major deceit and manipulation. Sondra won her lawsuits against him. What he did to her was wrong.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree and would do anything for Sondra. Becky RN, Texas

malmo58 said...

I wish you'd seen Any Which Way You Can when it came out - that would sure have restored your faith in Lynn Halsey Taylor, and given a booster shot to your appreciation of Sondra! I will have to check out her autobiography.

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Anonymous said...

To BGray from Shelbyville, TN:
Some of us "hicks" were even proud (or determined) enough to actually STAY in Tennessee and make a life for ourselves here. Even some of us misfits who never conformed to the family values-Republican lifestyle here. You don't have to run away from a hick place to be a 'somebody' or have a life that matters. Sorry that people like yourself believe otherwise. Oh, and we're much more than a "dot" on the world stage.

SweaterFreak said...

I just watched Bronco Billy. Great relaxing movie. Loved your post but have to note re Clint's appeal to women . You say that if you were a women you would never date him. Well I find it kind of similar to when girls say "what do men see in Pam Anderson?". Clint has had a huge apeal to women - there is just something about him (and I am pretty picky about men). One weird thing about sondra is her marriage to a gay Anderson. Most men would find that somewhat bizarre....and I am sure clint did also. Not to defend hom or anything since was terrible to her at the end. Also...I don't know anyone in her right mind who can be convinced to have her tubes tied. The whole thing means she was very naive or... I don't know what. Just throwing another opinion out there