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Films to See Before You Die: #13 Dirty Harry

dirty harry

Dirty Harry (1971)

Director: Don Siegel

Cast: Clint Eastwood, Andrew Robinson, Reni Santoni, John Vernon

Synopsis: Inspector Harry Callahan (Clint Eastwood) is the toughest cop in San Fransisco who always gets his man and is constantly getting in trouble with his superiors for breaking police protocol. His latest case is to track down the elusive Scorpio (Andrew Robinson) who has shot a young woman in a pool leaving a note ransoming the city of San Fransisco or he will kill more people. The Mayor (John Vernon) scrambles to try and get the ransom together, Callahan is outraged when he hears this but is told to cooperate.  To complicate things further Callahan has been assigned a new partner in rookie officer Chico Gonzalez (Reni Santoni), when we learn of the fate of Callahan’s other partners who are all dead or retired early. After the Scorpio kidnaps a young girl in anger for the ransom taking to long he then requests that a cop be made to run around town to deliver him the money the obvious choice is Callahan. After being run all around town Callahan is finally attacked by the Scorpio who takes the money and refuses to tell him where she is being hidden leaving Callahan unconscious. Callahan is able to stab him in the leg leaving him with a noticeable limp. After Callahan comes to he starts by checking the local clinics for someone fitting Scorpio’s description when they find a doctor who has treated a patient that matched the description of Scorpio. The doctor leads them to the football stadium nearby where he has seen the man who is given free room and board in the stadium for helping with odd jobs around the place. Callahan uses all his force to get the location of the girl from him, but when they find her the girl has been dead for some time. On top of that Callahan is brought up on charges for abusing the witness meaning he will walk with out being charged for murder and Callahan is told to stay away from Scorpio if he know whats good for him. Callahan does not listen to his superiors and begins to follow Scorpio which leads to a final showdown between the two men.

Trivia: One of the reasons why Don Siegel cast Andrew Robinson as Scorpio was because he wanted someone “with a face like a choirboy”. Clint Eastwood performed all his own stunts, including the stunt where he jumps onto the roof of the hijacked school bus from a bridge. His face is clearly visible throughout the shot. Andrew Robinson was cast at the behest of Clint Eastwood who had seen him in a Broadway production of Fyodor Dostoevsky’s “The Idiot”. Eastwood then convinced director Don Siegel that Robinson had the right unnerving characteristics to make an effective Scorpio.

Why I think you should see this: I love everything Clint Eastwood does but this is still my favourite of his movies he is just so convincing as Inspector Harry Callahan. Andrew Robinson is great as the Scorpio with his young and innocent looking face helps to make him all the more sadistic. Don Siegel’s direction is near perfection giving a good idea why Clint considered him to be such an important mentor. This is such a classic and I suggest you check it out sometime if you haven’t had the pleasure already.

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About Trevor

Hi my name is Trevor and this is my blog! Films are a passion of mine. I am a total film geek. I own over 700 films and the collection is ever growing. I studied Film Studies and Scriptwriting in College. What I have learned about films is mostly self taught.

7 responses to “Films to See Before You Die: #13 Dirty Harry

  1. Love Dirty Harry…
    …But…
    …Sudden Impact is My Fave Fave Of The Harry Callahan Flicks hehehe
    Great Review, Sir!!!
    -BRAD

  2. noa834 ⋅

    Den says this is the only movie he ever watched twice back to back. Those were the days you could stay in the theatre and watch it again without paying!

  3. Pingback: THE SUNSHINE AWARD « grandmotherwisdom

  4. You have been nominated for The Sunshine Award! Please pick-up your award at http://www.grandmothermusings.com . Congratulations!! 

  5. Valentina

    I love films, but not just any film, I love films with excellent dialogue, beautiful scenes and colors and most of all a message. I have been nominated for the Sunshine Award, just like you. Good luck.

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