Harry Callahan succeeded where our red-tape saddled politicians failed. He was a cowboy in 1971 and folks responded to his no bs attitude. Many scenes are now dated but the attitude and his approach will always appeal. I suspect DIRTY HARRY will be re-made for another generation.
Gotta agree with David. Harry's take no prisoners/bullshit attitude was a throwback to the noir films of the 40's. Without that re-introduction, would the early films of Scorcese been so well received? I can't imagine Taxi Driver being made if Dirty Harry had bombed. Plus, that iconic line will always be quoted.
for the "First" time! Be still my heart. HOw could you have missed this classic till now? I think the iconic thing about it is that 1) it's a good guy punishes bad guy appropriately fantasy but with good acting and good sets that lifted it above the run of the mill of this type of show.
I avoided this film when it was new; didn't like the vigilante theme, which seemed so divisive. Today, with a steady diet of divisiveness in all the media, Dirty Harry just seems a little ahead of his time.It also helps to know that Eastwood mellowed so thoroughly over the years. But it's weird seeing him with so much hair...
That was exactly my take on it at the time, Ron. Now it doesn't seem quite so important I guess. Or the years between have yielded more extreme films.
The Wild Bunch, Straw Dogs, or A Clockwork Orange was far more violent at that time. It was Harry's seemingly conservative politics that kept many folks home. We now know that Harry didn't take a side. He hated everybody.
You know I never saw any of those either. I think I used to be put off by violence more than now.
He's a Tea Partisan.
Dirty Harry was "for the people" while his bosses were all craven bureaucrats. He handed out his own kind of Justice which make him a folk hero. DIRTY HARRY is the best of the series, Patti. The other movies may disappoint you.
Fantasies and wishful thinking. Dirty Harry, Paul Kersey from the Death Wish movies, and Jack Bauer from 24 -- all speak to that sneaky little part of us that wishes we could just push a button and blow all four tires out from that so-and-so who just cut us off on the freeway. I'm just glad that only a very few of us succumb to that sort of temptation.
Apart from being a successful transportation of Eastwood's western setting to an urban environment, I think the film answered a worry that society at the time was better protecting criminals rather than the victims. The film was also very stylistic and it is difficult to see the film these days and realise how fresh the Dirty Harry character was. It also presented Eastwood as an everyman character and his fight against the bureaucrats was as important as his battle with the scumbags the film portrayed. The climax of the film where Scorpio takes the kids on the bus hostage makes you realise that in a world such as the one portrayed in this movie characters like Dirty Harry are essential.I think you may prefer Magnum Force which showed a mellower Dirty Harry.And of course the biggest plus of all - it's Eastwood with a big gun. Make of that what you will.
As I noted...(I liked Tyne Daly in THE ENFORCER...and the fact that the crew were already willing to question the Callahan style of the Politics of Resentment, to some extent, in MAGNUM FORCE). That GRAN TORINO was pretty clearly Callahan in retirment had some amusement value, too.
Yeah, Todd, I don't think I would want to examine his politics too closely.I thought it was pretty brilliantly done even give its age. It captured NY in the doldrums, although to listen to Fran Leibowitz on her HBO special, it was the best of times.I tried a later one in Paris last summer and it was unwatchable. So this is probably my only DH movie but I will try MAGNUM FORCE.And I do see the same character exactly in GRAN TORINO. It would have enhanced that movie had I seen this first.
A mighty big gun indeed, Gary. And hey, have a great holiday season.
Gary said it - Clint with a really big gun.Yeah George, but there's stuff in the others, "Go ahead, make my day" in SUDDEN IMPACT.Yeah, it's amazing how much hair Clint had back then.Jeff M.
I wonder if the response to Dirty Harry was because of overbearing red-tape or any real "protection" of criminals rather than victims or if it had more to do with the extension of rights to all criminals? Within the world of Dirty Harry everything is quite clearcut and taking sides is easy, but there may have been a bigger worldview that was tapped into - Archie Bunker complained about a lot of the same things Harry Callahan did, but he was more upfront about who was getting "more" rights.
I don't see Harry as a vigilante. I see him (as some have said) as the Western hero transported to 1970 San Francisco. harry has very clear ideas of right ans wrong, and he's not changing them for anybody. He's too rigid, even for these rigid times, but he's fair. He does save the potential jumper, even if his method is unorthodox. In MAGNUM FORCE, you can see he's not about the cops being judge, jury and executioner. Scorpio was an active threat at the time, and Harry dealt with it. When I was in basic training, several of my drill sergeants were Vietnam veterans of the First of the Ninth Air Cavalry, Robert Duvall's outfit in APOCALYPSE NOW. (Which premiered less than a month before i joined up, so they were jazzed to talk about it.) Some of what they were capable of doing was humbling, some was scary, and I doubt i could do much of it. I was also painfully aware that, no matter what reservation I had, there were times when people like that were necessary.That's why people respond to Dirty Harry. They see him as necessary in that situation. They may be right, or wrong, but that's what they see. If Scorpio is at the door, they'd sure rather see Harry Callahan pull up than Adrian Monk.
He almost seemed robotic in the pursuit of how he saw his duties. The way he walked, for instance. More a dutiful soldier perhaps than a vigilante. I can see that.
I rewatched this the other day too! I agree, it's brilliantly directed by Siegel. There's a wonderful excitement about the portrayal of the city, a space that spans towering skyscrapers and scummy alleyways. But I do wish Andrew Robinson's 'Scorpio' character had been a little less over the top. His character seems the least successful aspect of the film to me.I recommend Edward Gallafent's reading of this film in his book on Clint, which places the film nicely between his Westerns and his more contemporary work.
I think that Harry's reaction when he's confronted by a group of citizens who think he's a peeping Tom is telling. His parter wants to run them in, but Harry feels that they're in the right, and doing what he would do himself, so he just tells 'em to take off.And I think it's clear that he's been pushed pretty far before the movie even begins.
Yes, would like to hear his back story.
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