We need more cops like Inspector Harry Callahan...and a justice system that lets them do their job! Why should a policeman bother leaving the donut shop to arrest somebody that will be back on the street before his coffee's cold? And all because the officer mispronounced a word in the Miranda rights or some equally ludicrous reason. "Dirty Harry" was one of the first movies to focus on how the United States puts criminals' rights ahead of the victim's. Released in 1971, long before the world heard of Rodney King, the movie contains a segment in which the heavily bandaged murderer (that Harry's been gathering evidence on) appears on TV news to cry Police Brutality. Only it's not true. He paid a professional to beat him senseless so the Police Dept. will suspend Harry and replace him with some slow-witted bleeding-heart.
"Dirty Harry" is the role Clint Eastwood is most associated with, and it spawned many sequels: "Magnum Force", "The Enforcer", "Sudden Impact", and "The Dead Pool." (Scold me if I've left one out.) Personally I like "The Enforcer" best because of the casting of Tyne Daly as Harry's first female (and most unwelcome) partner. But "Dirty Harry" is classic for Eastwood's infamous monologue delivered to a bank robber reaching for his gun: "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've kinda lost track myself. But being as this is a .44 magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you've got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky?" (After the bank robber surrenders, Harry shows him in a most amusing manner that he was, in fact, out of bullets.)
The film opens with a young girl swimming in a San Francisco rooftop pool. Suddenly she's hit with bullets and the water turns red. (Director Don Siegel must have gotten compliments on this scene because he uses a similar pool scene in "Magnum Force.") The sniper, who calls himself SCORPIO, sends a letter to the mayor threatening to kill one person per day unless the city of San Francisco pays him $100,000. He promises to start with a black person or a priest. When they don't pay up he shoots a ten-year old black child, again from a rooftop. Harry is assigned to the case, along with a new young partner, Chico Gonzalez. (RENI SANTONI). "Don't let your college education get you killed," Harry warns him, as he knows there's no match for experience and you cannot negotiate with psychos like Scorpio. Policemen scouring the city in helicopters get a close look at the killer when they soar in on him perched on a roof about to fire, but he escapes. There's a novena that night at a Catholic Church and Harry figures Scorpio might show up to get his "padre." He figures right. When Harry and Chico foil Scorpio's plan to shoot the priest, he kidnaps a girl and buries her, then demands $200,000 to keep her alive. This time, in spite of Harry's protests, the mayor and the police chief (GUARDINO) fill a suitcase with money and send Harry to deliver it.
I won't tell you any more...rent the movie.
My other favorite part (besides the bank robbery) occurs when Harry is called to the scene because policemen think they've spotted the sniper. Actually it's only an idiot threatening to jump off a building ledge. As Harry uses the window cleaner's lift to approach him he cries, "Don't you try to stop me!" "I wouldn't dream of it...you think I'm gonna let you pull me down with you?" Harry swears, unsympathetically (and rightfully so, in my opinion.) "I just need your name and address so we can identify the body parts when they're all over the place.." The angered man lunges at Harry, who promptly punches him unconscious. When he drags the man down he informs his partner, "Now you know why they call me Dirty Harry. I get every dirty job that comes along."
The role of Scorpio was made for ANDREW ROBINSON. No matter how many good guys he's played since then I still see the psycho in the middle of the stadium taunting Harry: "I've changed my mind...I'm going to let the girl die..."
Eastwood has played many different characters over the years, but he'll always be known as Harry Callahan, tough but righteous. And he's not bad physically either..still young in this film he's got a gorgeous head of hair...other woman can have his sensitive Robert Kincaid in Bridges of Madison County...Harry can protect me as well as turn me on.
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