Beguiled, The (1971): Don Siegel Directs Cling Eastwood in Southern Gothic, Set in Civil War

Don Siegel directed The Beguiled, a Southern Gothic drama, starring Clint Eastwood and Geraldine Page.

The script was written by Albert Maltz (one of the Hollywood Ten) and others, both credited and uncredited.  It is based on the 1966 novel written by Thomas P. Cullinan, titled A Painted Devil.

Set during the American Civil War in 1863,  the tale begins when Amy, a young student at the Miss Martha Farnsworth Seminary for Young Ladies in rural Mississippi, discovers a seriously wounded Union soldier, John McBurney (played by Eastwood).

She brings him to the gated enclosure where the school headmistress, Martha Farnsworth, first insists on turning him over to Confederate troops, but then she decides to restore him to health.  Initially, he is kept locked in the music room and under tight watch.

Edwina, the schoolteacher who has had no experience with men, takes an immediate liking to John, as does Carol, a 17-year-old student who makes advances.

The Beguiled marks the third of five collaborations between Siegel and Eastwood, after Coogan’s Bluff (1968), Two Mules for Sister Sara (1970), Dirty Harry (1971) and Escape from Alcatraz (1979).


Directed by Don Siegel

Writing Credits: Albert Maltz (screenplay) (as John B. Sherry) and Irene Kamp (screenplay) (as Grimes Grice), adapted from the novel by Thomas Cullinan



Clint Eastwood John McBurney

Geraldine Page Martha

Elizabeth Hartman Edwina

Jo Ann Harris as Carol

Darleen Carr as Doris

Mae Mercer as Hallie

Pamelyn Ferdin as Amy

Melody Thomas Scott as Abigail

Peggy Drier as Lizzie

Patricia Mattick as Janie