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Every Which Way But Loose

Eastwood was warned by his associates not to make this picture, but he made it anyway, and his share of the profits are reputedly in excess of $15,000,000! So much for associates. Eastwood here is a trucker who picks up money by challenging the toughest men in every area to bare-knuckle bouts. In an early match he's won a huge, 11-year-old orangutan (Clyde) that he now travels with. His other driving partner is thick-witted Lewis. On a pub-crawling evening, they meet Locke, a C & W singer Eastwood falls for (he did in real life too--using her in many movies, much to the detriment of the movies). He thinks that the two of them can establish a life together, but she is flighty and departs before a permanent arrangement is established. Determined not to let the woman walk out of his life, Eastwood sets out to catch up with her. Along the way he has a few fights and makes enemies of two lawmen and a rag-tag, Hell's Angels-type band. Over the course of the film, Eastwood bests the lawmen and the motorcyclists several times (a few times too often, actually). Later he encounters D'Angelo, a hitchhiker, and takes her aboard. She is a former fruit-stand vendor and is an excellent shot--a skill that comes in handy later when an eagle eye is needed. When Locke appears again, she apologies for walking out on Eastwood. The relationship resumes, but Locke has not changed; her feelings for Eastwood are lukewarm, and she much prefers her former boyfriend. Eastwood allows her to leave and fights one last fight against a town tough. Although he knows he can beat the old clown, he realizes that winning means more to the beer-bellied guy than it does to him, so he throws the fight, thus keeping the braggart's local image intact. At the fadeout Eastwood, driving off, passes the battered lawmen and motorcyclists. Gordon, as Eastwood's 80-year-old mother, has the best lines, but most of the huge laughs are at the antics of Clyde, an incredible animal with near-human abilities. Lots of cars crash, plenty of blood is shed, Eastwood doesn't say much, and everyone has what appears to be a good time. The sequel is ANY WHICH WAY YOU CAN, and if you couldn't see the title of the movie, it would be hard to know which one you were watching. There's no accounting for the success of this over the failure of Eastwood's infinitely superior BRONCO BILLY. The year 1978 was the year of "heavy" pictures, with THE DEER HUNTER, COMING HOME, and MIDNIGHT EXPRESS. Perhaps people just wanted to sit back, eat some popcorn, and have a good old evening of cheer and laughter. In another year this might not have done so well. Songs include "Every Which Way but Loose," "I'll Wake You Up When I Get Home" (Steve Dorff, M. Brown), "Coca-Cola Cowboy" (S. Pinkard, I. Dain, S. Atchley, Dorff), "Behind Closed Doors" (K. O'Dell), "Ain't Love Good Tonight!" (G. Skerov, R. Cate, G. Howe), "Send Me Down to Tucson" (C. Crofford, T. Garrett), "Don't Say You Don't Love Me No More" (P. Everly, J. Paige), "Honkytonk Fever," "Monkey See, Monkey Do" (Crofford, Garrett), "I Can't Say No to a Truck-drivin' Man" (Crofford), "I Seek the Night" (Locke), and "Red-Eye Special" (S. Collins, Pinkard, Garrett).