Author Topic: Dirty Harry (1971)  (Read 1626 times)

Offline Antares

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Dirty Harry (1971)
« on: January 23, 2010, 07:39:23 PM »
Dirty Harry

Year: 1971
Film Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures, The Malpaso Company
Genre: Action, Classic, Crime, Drama, Suspense/Thriller
Length: 102 Min.

Don Siegel (1912)

Harry Julian Fink...Screenplay
Rita M. Fink...Screenplay
Dean Riesner (1918)...Screenplay

Robert Daley
Carl Pingitore (1924)
Don Siegel (1912)

Bruce Surtees (1937)

Lalo Schifrin (1932)...Composer

Clint Eastwood (1930) as Police Inspector Harry Callahan
Harry Guardino (1925) as Police Lt. Al Bressler
Reni Santoni (1939) as Police Inspector Chico Gonzalez
John Vernon (1932) as The Mayor
Andrew Robinson (1942) as Charles 'Scorpio Killer' Davis
John Larch (1914) as The Chief
John Mitchum (1919) as Police Inspector Frank DiGiorgio
Mae Mercer (1932) as Mrs. Russell

       “I know what you’re thinking, did he fire six shots or only five? To tell you the truth, in all this excitement I kind of lost track myself. But being this is a 44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you have to ask yourself one question; Do I feel lucky? Well…do ya…PUNK!”
       In these few lines of dialogue a screen icon, film franchise and an A-list acting career were born. Clint Eastwood was still scratching at the door of film notoriety in the early 70’s when he starred as Inspector Harry Callahan in Don Siegel’s action police drama Dirty Harry. The mid-sixties had witnessed the infamous Miranda case which assured an accused criminal certain protective rights during arrest and interrogation. As the decade progressed, this decision seemed to offer more protection to the criminal than to the victims of their crimes. As apathy began to set in amongst law enforcement and the public at large towards what appeared to be a growing liberal interpretation of the rights of the criminally accused, Callahan’s unique, yet anachronistic style of justice touched a nerve with the discontented public and a legend was born.

       As the film opens, we view a beautiful young woman swimming in a luxurious penthouse pool. Suddenly, a bullet mark appears between her shoulder blades and she slowly slips beneath the water. When the police arrive, they are perplexed as to what events had taken place, that is, all but Harry Callahan (Eastwood). As he gazes upon a nearby building, he surmises that a sniper could be responsible for the young girl’s death. When he reaches the roof of the building, he finds a rifle shell casing and a note addressed to the city of San Francisco, stating that if the shooter is not paid one hundred thousand dollars, he will kill one person every day until they meet his demands.

       When the Mayor and Chief of Police decide to comply with the killer’s demands, Callahan protests that this psycho won’t stop the killing when he gets his money. Because of Callahan’s history of circumventing the rights of accused suspects, he is rebuffed by his superiors. This sets in motion, a series of events that will prove Harry right. The killer (Andy Robinson), who calls himself Scorpio, first kills a young African American boy and then kidnaps a teenage girl and buries her alive with just enough oxygen to sustain her life for a few days. Through some investigative work Callahan finds the killer living at a college football stadium, and in a classic sequence in film history, tortures the killer until he confesses where the girl is buried. When his superiors learn of the tactics he used on the suspect, they release the prisoner and suspend Callahan.

       This sets the stage for their final confrontation as Scorpio hijacks a bus of schoolchildren and threatens to kill them all unless his latest demands are met. When Harry appears on an overpass and launches himself onto the top of the bus, the scene shifts to a showdown at a sand and gravel mill where Callahan doggedly pursues his quarry. As they both weave their way from floor to floor, firing intermittently at each other, the sequence in which I prefaced this review, is played out. As expected, Harry comes out victorious, and in a scene reminiscent of Gary Cooper in High Noon, in disgust,
(click to show/hide)

       Few films have caught the public’s attention quite as well as Dirty Harry did upon its release. When looking back upon society’s ills at the time it was made, one can understand why filmgoers found in Harry Callahan, the right mix of hero, savior and renegade. Could a film of this ilk be made today? With modern day audiences clamoring for bigger and bolder violence, and less on the substantive qualities of good character development, probably not.

Ratings Criterion
5 Stars - The pinnacle of film perfection and excellence.
4 ½ Stars - Not quite an immortal film, yet a masterpiece in its own right.
4 Stars - Historically important film, considered a classic.
3 ½ Stars - An entertaining film that’s fun or engaging to watch.
3 Stars – A good film that’s worth a Netflix venture.
2 ½ Stars - Borderline viewable.
2 Stars – A bad film that may have a moment of interest.
1 ½ Stars – Insipid, trite and sophomoric, and that's its good points.
1 Star – A film so vacuous, it will suck 2 hours from the remainder of your life.
½ Star - A gangrenous and festering pustule in the chronicles of celluloid.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2010, 11:47:13 PM by Antares »


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Re: Dirty Harry (1971)
« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2010, 09:49:30 PM »
Have a look on the review index and you'll find a Dirty Harry marathon some of the others did. I've been meaning to catch-up!

I agree audiences are unlikely to respond as well to such a film today. Although, have you seen Narc? Very good thriller in the vein of The French Connection. It sort of proves your point because it isn't well known, but at least someone was trying. The director of Smokin' Aces, of all things in this case... :laugh:

Offline Tom

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Re: Dirty Harry (1971)
« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2010, 09:51:54 PM »
Have a look on the review index and you'll find a Dirty Harry marathon some of the others did. I've been meaning to catch-up!

Me, too! I still only have gotten around to watch the first one for the marathon  :laugh: