Harry Callahan is a tough, streetwise San Francisco cop whom they call Dirty Harry. In this action classic, you’ll see why – and also why Clint Eastwood’s reputation as a premier film star and moviemaker is secure. A rooftop sniper (Andy Robinson) calling himself Scorpio, has killed twice and holds the city ransom with the threat of killing again. Harry will nail him , one way or the other, no matter what the “system” prescribes. Filming on location, director Don Siegel made the City by the Bay a vital part of Dirty Harry, a practice continued in its four sequels. Forty three years after its arrival the original remains one of the most gripping police thrillers ever made.
1971 – Certificate: 18 – American Film
7.5 out of 10
This week I’ve inadvertently become a champion and role-model for the downtrodden masses, as I successfully concluded my fight for compensation as a result of the evil and corrupt banking industry misselling me Payment Protection Insurance for a credit card. As we all know now, every single person who’s ever worked for a bank is a child of the Devil. From the CEO to the office cleaners. They exist for one purpose only and that’s to rip everyone else off. Well they made one BIG mistake trying to take me on. After many letters, the MBNA has finally capitulated, agreed it made a ‘mistake’ and has paid me back, with interest. I can’t decide what to spend it on first, a yacht, a jet or an Aston Martin or two. I guess a few lines of coke and some high-class ‘escorts’ wouldn’t go amiss either. I can finally get rid of all my pathetic, stupid, so-called friends and buy myself a whole lot of new ones that better fit my improved social status. The rich and the powerful will invite me to everything. A-list celebrities will be at my beck and call. My membership of the Bilderberg Group is assured. I’m going to start voting Conservative at once, not that I really need to worry about politics now, as I could easily buy myself a whole country if I wanted to. So I guess you probably want to know how much I got? Well, the cheque I was sent is made out to me for 20p…
“Dirty Harry” is a film about a naughty policeman, which was inspired by the Lurkers’ 1999 non-hit “Go Ahead Punk”. (I’ve got this on a very limited edition 7” single in grey vinyl, number 34 of the 125 that were made.) Its main character Harry Callahan was based on James Callaghan, who was British Prime Minister from 1976-1979 and thus oversaw the invention of punk rock by the downtrodden masses that he created during the Winter of Discontent. “Winter of Discontent” was also a great track from Political Asylum’s Winter EP, a copy of which I was sold by the band on the Fulham Palace Road, on my way to a Lurkers gig at the Fulham Greyhound. (The latter was tragically renamed/relaunched earlier this year as an American theme pub called the Southern Belle. WTF?) Its historical significance aside, this film gave us the original police officer who doesn’t play by the rules but gets away with, who still haunts TV and films to this day. Scorpio is also a great psycho without a thread of remorse whatsoever and stands up well to the more modern versions that have followed in his wake. I doubt there’s anything else I could possibly say about this film that hasn’t already been said 100 times before, so won’t. But for what’s now quite an old film, it still looks good. Essential viewing.
This movie is pretty light on music, which is just as well given it was made in the early 70s.
The trailer’s very long and seems to be desperate to portray Harry as more of a victim of circumstance than a police officer who really ought to be sacked for gross misconduct at the very least. He could easily be Martin Riggs‘ father.
Recommended for police officers, psychos and school bus drivers.
No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.
Top badass moment? Not once but twice, Harry gives us one of his two, world-famous quotes, here and here. What other character would have the audacity to do that? (Arnie’s done it but not twice in the same film I don’t think.) That’s like a DJ playing the same song back-to-back, it just doesn’t happen; (unless you’re John Peel and you’re playing the Undertones, but that’s okay). He must have been feeling lucky, punk.
Using words like “Games”, “Two Thousand and Twelve”, “2012” or “Twenty-Twelve”, in association with the words “London”, “Medals”, Sponsors”, “Summer”, “Gold”, Silver” or ”Bronze”, is apparently illegal under the 2006 Olympic Act. So I’d just like to say that my comments here are the Official Pointless Whinging London Summer Olympics 2012 Gold Medal winning ones. I bet that will piss off McDonald’s and Visa no end. What’s with all this Official nonsense anyway? Don’t these companies care that the rest of the word is pissing itself laughing at them, as if anyone else gives a damm? I guess not, as (for example) everyone within 10,000 miles of an Olympic event will be forced to buy chips (sorry “fries” I mean) from the scary clown, because no one else is allowed to sell any portions of chips on their own. (Not that the fries McDonalds sells share any real similarities with proper chips anyway; it’s just that I hate the idea of lots of first-time visitors to England getting the wrong idea about what is actually our biggest contribution to the world’s classic foods.) I guess I now know what all those missiles and RAF jets are for, to enforce the “No Chips Unless They’re From McDonald’s Exclusion Zone” around the Olympics. You walk into that area with a bag from the local chippy and you’re likely to get targeted by a smart bomb. (I wonder who’s the supplier of the Official Dog Turd to the Olympics? Oh, I’ve just noticed, it McDonald’s again, it’s on the menu, 99p; actually that’s pretty good value when you think about it, as it comes with a side salad and a plastic toy if you’re over 4.) It’s like living in some sort of mythical, hard-line communist state, where you have no choice and ‘everything’ is provided for you, which is a bit ironic considering where McDonald’s came from in the first place. With about as much credibility and connection to the truth as Official Olympic stuff has to the amazing abilities of the athletes competing there, this film claims to be “the most brutal movie ever made”. Well, let’s peak in and find out…
2005 – Certificate: Not Rated – USA
I’d just like to start by saying that I watched this film on 13th July 2012, the day one of the actors in it, Sage Stallone, sadly died. Poor guy. So anyway, this horror pretty much follows the normal routine; two young women go off into the woods and bad stuff happens to them. If you don’t like films like this, then nothing else in it is going to make up for that fact and you’ll hate it; it’s pretty gross stuff. A lot of people seem to object to the fact that the bad guy (Chaos) gets away with it in the end, but that’s life. Baddies often get away with a lot in real life before (sometimes) getting their comeuppance. The picture quality of the DVD I watched was really good and some of the acting and the effects weren’t bad either. The script was a bit dodgy at times and the ending, while quite a lot of ‘fun’, was a bit bizarre. The police (let’s call them cops so as to differentiate them from the good old British Bobby), are portrayed as hugely racist and somewhat ineffectual. But the two young actresses in it and Kevin Gage (Chaos) put in pretty convincing performances, including the more harrowing scenes. I’d quite like to see Chaos again, he’s one sick bastard. So is it “the most brutal movie ever made”? Well how on earth should I know? Do you think I’ve watching every single film ever made? Do you think I own some sort of Official Brutal Movie measuring device? Of course not. Those are being provided by Samsung as part of the Summer Olympics, so I’m not allowed to have one. Finally, I can’t finish without commenting on the “rave” mentioned in the Overview. From what you get to see and hear of it, this has to be The most disappointing party of all time. Things really are slow in the sticks in America.
No cats, no decapitations and one chainsaw. The chainsaw was used in a somewhat unconvincing attempt by the father of one of the women to fight Chaos. I’d stick to cutting up logs in the garden mate, if I was you.
Recommended for people who want to watch a sick bastard torture and kill just about everyone else. Oh, I guess they include me then; how embarrassing. Someone on IMDB said “These movies are made for one audience – psychotic future and current serial killers, rapists, and other vile humans. I wish movies, and the audience members who enjoy this crap would all instantly combust in flames and burn for eternity.” I wonder if the writer of that saw the irony in it?
Top badass moment? Justine’s (Deborah Lacey) last stand at the end. Entirely futile, but that’s what makes it so badass. I just hope she got some small satisfaction from knowing she’d been right all along.
By the way, I really couldn’t find a trailer in English anywhere; it seems only the Germans were honoured with one, so here it is.