Dirty Harry (1971)

on December 22, 1971 by BOXOFFICE Staff
Classic Reviews In his third film for 1971, Clint Eastwood matches wits with San Francisco's real life Zodiac Killer. NATO Star of the Year Eastwood is again in the company of producer-director Don Siegel and once more has the type of anti-establishment role that spells success at the ticket windows. It's fairly safe to estimate that "Harry" will outgross the actor's other two efforts of the year. Character of Harry Callahan is a San Francisco police inspector whose methods bring results but also criticism for his brutal handling of criminals. Screenplay by Harry Julian Fink, R.M. Fink and Dean Riesner, from a story by the Finks, argues that the end justifies the means since Eastwood's adversaries have as little regard for human life as he has for the rights of lawbreakers. Occasional echoes of "Coogan's Bluff" (1968), the first Eastwood-Siegel feature, are evident while a fast pace is maintained by Carl Pingitore's editing. Andy Robinson is the maniacal Scorpio (the real Zodiac is still at large), a good blending of cunning and savagery. The violence may be a bit too strong for some tastes and casual nudity is shown throughout. The Malpaso Co. production was once slated for Frank Sinatra, whom Eastwood replaced. Panavision and Technicolor.

San Francisco is being terrorized by sniper Scorpio (Andy Robinson), who kills Diana Davidson as she swims in a pool. Police Inspector Clint Eastwood, nicknamed Dirty Harry, handles the investigation and coincidentally stops three blacks from accomplishing a bank robbery. Known for bringing bad luck to his partners, Eastwood reluctantly takes on young Reni Santoni on the orders of Lt. Harry Guardino. Scorpio promises to kill a black and a priest if the city doesn't give him $100,000. Nearly caught, he doubles the ransom and uses a 14-year-old girl as hostage. Eastwood follows Scorpio's instructions for the delivery, which results in Santoni's wounding. Eastwood's beating and Scorpio's suffering a knife wound. When Eastwood tracks down Scorpio to Kezar Stadium, he tortures the killer into revealing the girl's hiding place. She's found dead and Scorpio is released due to Eastwood's unorthodox procedure. Later, Scorpio takes over a school bus driven by Ruth Kobart. This time, Eastwood is able to finish the job by killing Robinson. Disgustedly, Eastwood throws away his badge.

Play up the Eastwood-Siegel collaboration and the Lalo Schifrin music. Make law and civic tie-ups.

Why do they call him Dirty Harry? Because he gets every dirty job in the book... Clint Eastwood bucks the establishment as the cop who catches Scorpio. Warner Bros. 103 mins.

Tags: Zodiac killer, Clint Eastwood, Harry Callahan, franchise, police, murder, detective, Don Siegel, Andy Robinson, Ruth Kobart, corruption

read all Reviews »


No comments were posted.

What do you think?