Clint Eastwood’s soliloquy yesterday in Tampa demonstrated what a loss he has been to American Shakespearian theatre. This evening, in his honour, we watched the 1975 thriller, The Eiger Sanction, directed by and starring… Clint Eastwood. Actually, we watched it because, like Stagecoach, it is another film with a Monument Valley connection (a good quarter of it was filmed there). The film, a sort of James Bond-type spy thriller with Eastwood improbably cast as an art-loving government-hired assassin, is largely forgettable but it is worth watching for its authentic depiction of a climb up the north face of the Eiger. I quote from the Wiki entry: ‘Filming in Grindelwald, Switzerland began on August 12, 1974 with a team of climbing experts and advisers from America, England, Germany, Switzerland, and Canada. The climbers were based at the Hotel Bellevue des Alpes at Kleine Scheidegg. The Eiger at 13,041 feet is not as tall as other mountains in the Swiss Alps, but it is treacherous climbing. Eastwood’s decision to brave the mountain was disapproved by Dougal Haston, director of the International School of Mountaineering, who had lost climbers on the Eiger, and by cameraman Frank Stanley, who thought that to climb a perilous mountain to shoot a film was unnecessary. According to cameraman Rexford Metz, it was a boyhood fantasy of Eastwood’s to climb such a mountain, and he enjoyed displaying heroic machismo. A number of accidents occurred during the filming of The Eiger Sanction. A twenty-seven-year old English climber, David Knowles, who was a body double and photographer, was killed during a rock fall, with Hoover narrowly escaping with his life. Eastwood almost abandoned the project but proceeded because he did not want Knowles to have died in vain. Eastwood insisted on doing all his own climbing and stunts.’ The climbing passages are also worth watching for the period mountaineering clothing and equipment – punily twee by modern-day standards. Curiosity piqued, I read about the mountain itself, and its treacherous north face. The account of the failed 1936 attempt, resulting in the agonisingly slow death of poor Toni Kurz, just an ice-axe’s distance away from help, is worth a film in its own right.