Saturday 19 September 2009

Dirty Harry - The law's crazy

Released in 1971, Dirty Harry is a crime thriller film produced and directed by Don Siegel. It stars Clint Eastwood as the iconic Inspector "Dirty" Harry Callahan, a blunt, cynical and unorthodox San Francisco Police detective. The first of four Dirty Harry movies, it set the style for a whole genre of violent cop films and helped popularize the .44 Magnum as the most powerful handgun in the world.

Loosely based on the San Francisco Zodiac killings, the plot of Dirty Harry concerns a killing spree carried out in San Francisco by a psychopathic sniper known as Scorpio. Inspector Harry Callahan and partner Chico are assigned to track him down. With little regard for the niceties of Miranda rights and search warrants Harry eventually arrests Scorpio only to see him released on a technicality, prompting Callahan to utter, "The Law's Crazy". Of course Scorpio strikes again, hijacking a school bus, so Harry armed with his trusty .44 Magnum sees that Scorpio is put down once and for all.

The movie is full of memorable and iconic scenes including the hold up/shootout at the beginning of the movie where Harry utters the classic, "I know what you're thinking, punk. You're thinking "did he fire six shots or only five?" Now to tell you the truth I forgot myself in all this excitement. But being this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world and will blow you head clean off, you've gotta ask yourself a question: "Do I feel lucky?" Well, do ya, punk?"

So memorable was this scene that it was used, albeit in a digital form, to trail a proposed Dirty Harry computer game, which curiously never saw the light of day.

The Dirty Harry soundtrack was created by composer Lalo Schifrin, who had previously collaborated with director Don Siegel in two earlier Eastwood movies Coogan's Bluff (the inspiration for TV cowboy cop McCloud) and the strange and hypnotic The Beguiled. Hugely influential even 38 years later, Schifrin's sizzling proto Acid Jazz score for Dirty Harry fuses classical music, jazz, soul, funk and psychedelic rock to propel the screen action with powerful cues like the main title and the much sampled Scorpio's View.

When Clint Eastwood finally departs this mortal coil, his legacy will live on as a master film maker, occasional jazz pianist and playing two of cinema's most enduring and memorable icons, the Man with No Name from the 'Dollar' Spaghetti Westerns and Inspector "Dirty" Harry Callahan.

1 comment:

ADA said...

the best movie ever