DIRTY HARRY “GO AHEAD, MAKE MY DAY” REVIEW: First up in this marathon is none other than “Dirty Harry,” which stars Clint Eastwood (Gran Torino, The Good the Bad and the Ugly), Harry Guardino (King of Kings, Houseboat), Reni Santoni (Cobra, Dr. Doolittle), John Vernon (Animal House, The Outlaw Josey Whales), Andrew Robinson (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine [TV series], Hellraiser), John Larch (Airplane II: The Sequel, Play Misty for Me), and John Mitchum (High Plains Drifter, Paint Your Wagon). It is directed by Don Siegel (Escape from Alcatraz, Invasion of the Body Snatchers), and written by Harry Julian Fink (Cahill U.S. Marshal, Ice Station Zebra), Rita M. Fink (Big Jake, Cahill U.S. Marshal), and Dean Riesner (Fatal Beauty, Coogan’s Bluff). In 1971 San Francisco, crime is rampant, and when the police can’t uphold their jobs due to certain jurisdictions, it is up to one man to rise to the occasion: Inspector Harry Callahan (Eastwood). When the rules aren’t good enough, Harry plays by his own, and is placed on a case of a psychopath targeting random suspects.
“I know what you’re thinking: ‘Did he fire six shots or only five?’ Well to tell you the truth in all this excitement I kinda 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’ve gotta ask yourself one question: ‘Do I feel lucky?’ Well, do ya, punk?” Sorry folks, I get the quote is long, but I had to include it all in its full glory. Besides, most people don’t know the famous saying in its entirety, recanting only the final few words (myself included until I saw this feature). “Dirty Harry,” in and of itself, is an anti-hero story; one that has enjoyed a lasting effect on cinema to this day. It’s tale is brutal, action unforgiving, and lesson gut-punching. While it may not have as much of an impact on a moviegoer today, it certainly had some balls back in 1971, a time where Hollywood was getting edgier in cinema and taking a turn for the interesting. Clint Eastwood assumes the titular character of Harry Callahan, a hardened investigator who couldn’t give a crap about anybody. He plays by the rules, until they don’t work in his favor, making for an engaging adventure to watch unfold. I knew I was getting into some gritty territory with this flick, but what I didn’t realize was just how dirty “Dirty Harry” is (no pun intended). It doesn’t shy away from nudity nor harsh violence, albeit it not displaying the most horrific battles I’ve seen. Right from the get-go, we witness a murder in plain daylight, sparking this search for a man who finds joy in taking another’s life. It’s a “Dark Knight,” pitting Harry against Scorpio, and only one will prevail. I enjoyed this movie a lot, from its awesome cinematography to cool performances, specifically from our ruthless lead, Clint Eastwood. Sure, the guy is typecast in these roles of rugged men who want to handle things their way, but he does it so darn well. His role of Harry Callahan was the quintessential piece to this puzzle and it was interesting to see how far he’d go to take this killer down. Speaking of which, the villain was pretty solid. In a way, he represented Harry’s failures and weaknesses of the San Fransisco police department, as he was strictly portrayed as a complete maniac taking lives for a ransom. It introverted the story to more sculpt Harry as a character, which was a good approach that didn’t undermine Scorpio as a villain. Playing into this was some eerie cinematography and music. It painted a dark picture of San Fransisco the further we progressed in our journey, and in turn made for a great experience. I wouldn’t say I was on the edge of my seat, for I’ve seen several more intense stories that have made it difficult for me to really be tense (especially since thrills weren’t as sharp during this time as they are today). However, I will say that I was captivated throughout the entire movie. “Dirty Harry” holds interesting dialogue and does wonders when its silent as well. There’s plenty of moments where everything is quiet, leaving us to watch Harry sweat under pressure in tracking down Scorpio. You don’t get much of that nowadays, with every thrilling scene being heightened by loud music and several cuts. “Dirty Harry” loves the slow drawl, elongating moments to conjure up more suspense. There’s a scene where Harry has to deliver money to Scorpio and is forced to run around San Fransisco to various phone booths to hear where he must go next, all in order to arrive at a meet-up spot and save a girl; this sequence, while cool in its own rite, is brought to another level when Harry is running around in almost complete silence with few jump cuts. The darkness of San Fransisco takes precedence in this story, and I enjoyed taking part of the action, which slowly built up as the runtime was reaching its end. Obviously, this movie isn’t perfect; there were many moments of nudity that didn’t seem necessary and some scenes were slow or contained hokey dialogue. But, in its entirety, “Dirty Harry” is a fun feature with an awesome character that reshaped the anti-hero as we know it. If you’re looking for something old, edgy, and entertaining with Clint Eastwood, I’d say give it a shot. FINAL SCORE: 90%= Juicy Popcorn
Here is the trailer: