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Dirty Harry (1971) - Don Siegel

Dirty Harry (1971) - Don Siegel [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]


Whether or not you can sympathize with its fascistic/vigilante approach to law enforcement, Dirty Harry (directed by star Clint Eastwood's longtime friend and directorial mentor, Don Siegel) is one hell of a cop thriller. The movie makes evocative use of its San Francisco locations as cop Harry Callahan (Eastwood) tracks the elusive "Scorpio killer" who has been terrorizing the city by the Bay. As the psychopath's trail grows hotter, Harry becomes increasingly impatient and intolerant of the frustrating obstacles (departmental red tape, individuals' civil rights) that he feels are keeping him from doing his job. A characteristically taut and tense piece of filmmaking from Siegel (Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Shootist, Escape from Alcatraz), it also remains a fascinating slice of American pop culture. It was a big hit (followed by four sequels) that obviously reflected--or exploited--the almost obsessive or paranoid fears and frustrations many Americans felt about crime in the streets. At a time when "law and order" was a familiar slogan for political candidates, Harry Callahan may have represented neither, but from his point of view his job was simple: stop criminals. To him that end justified any means he deemed necessary. The digital video disc preserves the film's anamorphic widescreen format. --Jim Emerson for amazon.com

Dirty Harry is a 1971 film directed by Don Siegel and starring Clint Eastwood as the eponymous Harry Callahan, a San Francisco detective tracking Scorpio, a serial killer. Eastwood's iconic performance the blunt-speaking, unorthodox detective set the style for a number of his subsequent roles, and the box-office success of the film led to the production of four sequels. The "alienated cop" motif was one subsequently imitated by a number of other films.

The title role was originally intended for Frank Sinatra, but after he injured his hand in an accident, it was offered to John Wayne, Steve McQueen, and Paul Newman. It was finally accepted by Clint Eastwood.

The Scorpio Killer, the film's antagonist (a confident psychopathic killer) was based on the real-life Zodiac killer, who was killing people in San Francisco at that time. The Zodiac has never been caught. Audie Murphy was first approached to play the Scorpio Killer, but he died in a plane crash before his decision on the offer could be made. The part went to actor Andrew Robinson, whose portrayal was so chilling that after the film was released he reportedly received several death-threats and was forced to get an unlisted telephone number. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dirty_Harry [Feb 2005]

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