JOE KIDD (1972) is Clint Eastwood’s only movie directed by John Sturges (BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK) and also his only one written by Elmore Leonard. Leonard was no stranger to Hollywood – his western novels The Law at Randado, Last Stand at Saber River and Hombre (plus the short stories 3:10 to Yuma, The Tall T and Only Good Ones and the crime novel The Big Bounce) had already been made into movies, and he’d adapted his own The Moonshine War. But this was his first original screenplay, which he’d written as THE SINOLA COURTHOUSE RAID or SINOLA.
Eastwood plays the titular fuckup, formerly a bounty hunter, now pursuing other interests, primarily getting drunk and arrested. He has a pretty good Leonard-ian introduction: passed out in a cell, his jailers bring breakfast and coffee to wake him up for a court appearance, but his cellmate Naco (Pepe Callahan, THE LONG GOODBYE) keeps it out of his reach and taunts him about it. Joe thinks he remembers that deputy Bob Mitchell (Gregory Walcott, PRIME CUT) hit him, but has to ask for confirmation. They say he was illegally hunting a mule deer on the Indian reservation, then threatened to piss on the court house, and it took three cops to bring him in. (read the rest of this shit…)