cover image The Good, the Bad, and the Very Ugly: A Hollywood Journey

The Good, the Bad, and the Very Ugly: A Hollywood Journey

Sondra Locke. William Morrow & Company, $25 (320pp) ISBN 978-0-688-15462-2

Film actress Locke (The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter; The Gauntlet) uses her 1996 lawsuit against star and director Clint Eastwood, her former lover, to frame the life and career that began in Shelbyville, Tenn., and ended (bookwise) in a Los Angeles courtroom. Locke's memoir focuses primarily on the two men who appear to have most influenced her life: Eastwood and Gordon Anderson, the openly gay man who is her lifelong friend, mentor, emotional support--and husband. Locke's professional acting career begins when she wins (with Gordon's guidance) the leading female role in the film version of Carson McCullers's novel The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter. After parts in less stellar films, Locke is cast by Eastwood in his western, The Outlaw Josey Wales. This is the beginning of a 13-year love affair that ends when Locke finds herself locked out of the house Eastwood purchased for her. Apparently offered a production deal at Warner Brothers by Eastwood in exchange for disappearing quietly and dropping a ""palimony"" suit, Locke eventually discovers what she believes is evidence of fraud and takes Warner Bros. and Eastwood to court. Those with a low threshold for the fey, the cute and the whimsical may find much of Locke's book trying: she and Gordon call each other ""Hobbit""; Eastwood refers to her as ""Snow White,"" and she calls him ""Daddy."" Eastwood comes off as an emotionally empty bully; Gordon's spirituality, while sincerely presented, can seem a bit over the top. Locke's narrative, meanwhile, seems to rely on myths and fairy tales of princes and princesses, and may inspire many readers to cry, ""Oh, grow up!"" Photos not seen by PW. (Nov.)