Dirty Harry

Dirty Harry. Warner Brothers 1971.

Before watching the movie:

I apologize for again having very little to say about this movie beforehand. I’m a little drained from writing my Nanowrimo novel (which I promised myself I’d stop mentioning here).

The closest I’ve come to experiencing this film is watching the complete two-season run of Sledge Hammer, a cop-based sitcom that was made as a parody of the genre Dirty Harry spawned. I don’t really know much about the serious version. Should be good for drama and action.

On a side note, I’ve finally started a Suggestions page where readers can put their suggestions for movies to watch in one handy place. I’ll add suggested movies to the main body list and link to them as I review them.

After the Movie:

Inspector Harry Callahan is a no-nonsense cop working Homicide in San Francisco,who carries a .44 Magnum, “the most powerful handgun in the world,” and isn’t afraid to use it on the bad guys. He gets assigned to the Scorpio serial sniper case. “Scorpio” wants a huge sum of money, or he’ll kill one person a day. The police almost catch him by helicopter, causing him to decide to step things up with the kidnap, rape, and leaving-to-drown of a woman, forcing the city’s hand. Instead of just delivering the money, Calahan has his partner come as backup and they nearly get him. “Scorpio” escapes, but Harry won’t let anything stop him from delivering justice, especially the law.

I was afraid that the forty-year lens would hurt this film, but I don’t think it has. Harry’s actions may not be as shocking as they were in 1971, but they are just as satisfying. This story was written in response to the new laws of the 60s giving criminals perhaps too many rights, and although letting the filthy stinking guilty walk may be just a thing we deal with today, it’s no less frustrating, especially when one sees it close up, as the viewers are invited to do in this movie. Scorpio is without a doubt a complete monster, and you can’t help but applaud Harry, unless you have to clean up after him.

Eastwood’s performance as Callahan is a lot different from the impression I got. He isn’t aggressive, he just doesn’t care about anything but catching the guilty. The result is a lot more believable, human person. Parodies of him that I’ve seen aren’t a caricature, but a caricature held up into a funhouse mirror. I also can’t get over how young Eastwood looks. Somehow, he looks even younger than he did in the spaghetti westerns. Meanwhile, I just plain can’t recognize Andrew Robinson, the Scorpio killer, at all. In voice, appearance or anything, I can’t reconcile him with his character from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

I hate to harp on nudity, but there is more in this movie than what I’ve gotten used to for an R-rating justification. None of it is essential to the story, but at least half of it is reasonable atmosphere. I can’t explain the woman in the apartment building they’re watching who is apparently a nudist, though.

This film makes you feel incredible releases and frustrations on the path of justice, and I highly enjoyed the ride. Summaries of this movie are often misleading. I read one that lead me to believe the bulk of the film was a rogue cop pursuing justice with extreme force and the arrest happened very early on to set that up. That would make a good popcorn action flick (and probably has numerous times), but this has feeling beyond the spectacle that makes this stand the test of time.

Watch this movie: If you feel lucky. Do ya, punk? (You should)

Don’t watch this movie: if you want to shake hands with a guy who kills for fun.

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