One of Eastwood's lesser known movies, and one of his very best. Like Play Misty for Me, also released in 1971, Don Siegel's The Beguiled cleverly subverts Clint's macho/heroic image and recasts him as a vulnerable but thoroughly deserving victim of scorned femininity. However, whereas in Misty he's just a womaniser who happens to tangle with a rather poisonous species of clinging vine, The Beguiled gives Eastwood perhaps the only genuinely villainous role of his entire career. (I'm not checking that up but I can't think of another).
He plays a wounded Union soldier in the Civil War, taken in and nursed back to health by the staff and pupils of an all-female, Louisiana boarding school. Expecting to be handed over to a Confederate patrol as soon as he is fit again, the soldier turns on the charm to buy himself enough time to escape, inadvertently stirring up a hotbed of jealousy as the women and girls compete for his affection, ending in tragedy. The female members of the cast are outstanding - none better than Pamelyn Ferdin, who plays the little girl who finds the soldier in the woods - and even Eastwood is stretched considerably further than usual. The Spanish Moss festooned Louisiana woodland does wonders for the haunting atmosphere of the movie.