I first published this post in January of 2013…. now that JB and my latest franchise run has run its course, I’ve been wondering what to do on Fridays now. Since we are supposed to have a Summer Shitfest in July, that only gives me four Fridays to go so, with five Dirty Harry films, this should do it. So – today I’ll roll with the original DIRTY HARRY and tomorrow a new piece on Magnum Force!
I’ve always been a big Clint Eastwood fan. I know I wrote up some deets on that on my GRAN TORINO article but I don’t know if that will be published by the time this comes out, because I am waiting on someone to add their thoughts for a DOUBLE TAKE. Like I’ve posted or will post, I feel like I’ve grown up with Eastwood and he’s like a family member somehow and since I’ve started doing this, I’ve always wanted to revisit the Dirty Harry series. Well, this one is the first one out of five or six and I don’t think I remember it being the best, but it was pretty good. If memory serves, I think I liked SUDDEN IMPACT the best but it will probably be a while before I get to that one.
I think – think being the operative word here – I think that when people remember Dirty Harry, they all remember the whole “Go ahead… Make my day.” thing but there was actually a phrase used pretty commonly when I was growing up that came from this movie. This is the “You’re wondering if I’ve fired five or six shots. Well, do you feel lucky, punk? Do ya??” movie. I remember I had a Tee Shirt that had that saying on it – HA! Well – D.H. was pretty good for a movie from 1971 with no big explosions or cheesy one liners. On display here is some good old fashioned machismo, lots of car crashes and a ton of gunfire. Not bad!
The guy who would go on to play the lead in HELLRAISER and utter “Jesus wept” before being ripped into a zillion pieces is The Scorpio Killer in this one. He wants some money from the Mayor’s office and he’s going to go around killing innocent civilians until he gets it. Too bad he doesn’t realize he’s gonna have to go mano y mano with Iron Balled, Harry “Dirty Harry” Callahan. Dirty Harry doesn’t cotton to rules, Miranda Rights or the Constitution. He’s here to kick ass and exact justice any way he has to.
And exact justice on this poor fucker he does – TWICE! First he tracks him down and gives him a slight beating in the middle of a football field. But Scorpio gets off on a technicality and kidnaps a school bus full of kids!! Harry says fuck the law and tracks him down again and asks him if he’s feeling lucky and then blows him away! Standing on the side of the river, he looks meaningfully at his badge and throws it in the water! FUCK YOU he says to The Establishment. Roll credits.
It’s been thirty years or so since I saw this last and I can say that I really enjoyed it again. This is the Eastwood I remember most – ballsy and macho. Throwing punches and shooting his Magnum. Driving around with an ape, drinking beer and fist fighting. I still like him as a grizzly old man but this is how I remember him the best.
On a side note – I changed my font to bold – does that make it any easier to read? My eyes are getting old (I have to go to the eye doctor at the end of the month and imagine I’m going to end up with some spectacles) so it’s easier on me – what do you think?