Thursday, March 7, 2013

MOVIE REVIEWS: DIRTY HARRY, 1971





Ok, so I know Dirty Harry came out in 1971, but I just saw it the whole way through for the first time and thought I should review it. We all know about this movie, we all know it was a Clint Eastwood movie, we all know the famous, "You got to ask yourself one question, do you feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?" And there were 4 sequels where the character Dirty Harry comes back. But I knew very little about this movie other than those things. After watching I have to admit, I LOVED THIS MOVIE! 

So Dirty Harry is named after the title character that Clint Eastwood plays, Inspector Harry Callahan, a San Francisco police inspector. Dirty is the nickname given to a cop that goes against his superiors and isn't by the book, we get the idea that Eastwood is such a cop due to the fact that, well he's Clint Eastwood and he NEVER takes crap from ANYONE in any movie. Secondly when he is giving his police report to the Mayor and keeps getting interrupted we get the sense that he might just pull out his hand gun and shut someone up. The movie starts out with a chick swimming around in a roof top pool, as most people do in San Francisco. She gets shot from some sniper dude atop another building. As the opening credits roll we see Harry checking out the scene of the crime. He finds a discarded rifle shell on the ground and at this point I was thinking, YOU GOTTA BE KIDDING ME!!! WHAT A RIDICULOUS EASY CLUE THAT NO KILLER WOULD LEAVE BEHIND!!! However several seconds later we see a note and we discover that the killer has no problem playing a cat and mouse game and WANTS the police to try and stop him.

The note basically says hes going to kill someone every day until he gets 100,000 dollars. I guess that was a lot of money in '71 but I doubt that would cover the cost of a downtown apartment in today's San Francisco. The note said his next victim will be a Catholic Priest. (Now there is a pattern, swimming girl, Catholic Priest, and so on in that fashion.) So the mayor says, let's pay this guy, which really just pisses Dirty Harry off. The killer calls himself Scorpio. The mayor then scolds Dirty Harry reminding him to NOT have an incident like he did last year. We aren't sure what happened but you get the sense that Harry killed someone, which he justified by saying a naked guy chasing a girl in an alley with a butcher knife says intent to rape in my book.

So Harry goes to get a chili dog at a downtown scummy diner. He notices a car parked outside the bank and automatically knows this is a bank robbery, so he has the chef call the police while he eats his chili dog, but then the alarm sounds and he has to go deal with it during his lunch break. We see a guy run out of the bank with a shotgun and he takes a shot at Dirty Harry, who in turns pulls out his 44 Magnum, and shoots the guy. Then another bank robber comes running out and jumps through the open car window, (really cool by the way) and the car speeds off. Harry shoots the car a few times and it wrecks into a fire hydrant, flipping on its side. Harry looks down and notices he was shot by the shot gun, but keeps walking to the first guy he shot, it turns out he's still alive and he's a young Danny Glover! So this is where the famous line comes in, he holds his gun out and Danny Glover is looking at his near by shotgun and thinks about going for it, Clint Eastwood says, "I know what you're thinking. This is a 44 magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world and can blow your head clean off. Did he shoot  6 times or only 5? Well I'll be honest, in all the commotion I don't know either. So you have to ask yourself one question, do I feel lucky? Well do you, punk?" Danny Glover decides he doesn't feel lucky enough to try and as the police pull in Clint just starts walking away but Danny Glover yells back at him saying he needs to know. Clint walks back, aims the gun, cocks it and pulls the trigger. When the gun doesn't go off Harry laughs, meaning the gun was empty the whole time. Really cool famous classic scene.

Dirty Harry is then back at the office and the Lieutenant, another pain in the ass for our hero, says Harry should get a hair cut and Harry is like, I don't have the time. Then they spring a new partner on Dirty Harry, he doesn't want one cause like he said, everyone gets killed when they partner up with me. Annoying as it is to have a rookie college boy tag along, Dirty Harry has no choice.

Dirty Harry is called to a suicide jumper which they thought might be the roof top sniper but it's just some depressed guy and they decide that Dirty Harry would be the perfect guy to go talk him down. So Dirty Harry goes and is like, when you jump don't try to grab on to me, just go ahead and kill yourself. The suicide guy is all like, don't try to stop me! And Harry is like, I just want your name and address because when you jump you're going to be all mashed and I can't read your bloody drivers license. The suicide guy gets all pissed and jumps at Dirty Harry, who grabs him and punches him in the face....why I'm not sure....just because he's awesome like that I guess?

Meanwhile Scorpio is on top of another building reading the local newspaper which took out an ad that basically says, to Scorpio, we will pay you but we need more time, don't kill anyone. And he's all, oh ya right city. He gets his gun out and starts to put it together when a police helicopter shows up and starts yelling at him, so he takes off and they don't catch him.

We find that the next day Scorpio has struck again, this time shooting a 10 year old boy in the face, which was funny how they told Harry about it, "Shot in the face...blew part of it off." (I don't understand all that technical police jargon, but that I got.) Setting a trap is the only way to catch this guy and where else but the same exact roof that they saw him on while in the helicopter! Why? Because out of every single roof top in a city, that is the one he will be at, their explanation...he's a sick person, and that's what they do!

Dirty Harry and his rookie partner are waiting to ambush Scorpio when he shows up that night, which he does and all goes according to plan, only Harry misses several times and Scorpio has a machine gun that he uses to blast his way to freedom. I'm no policeman, but they should have put more than one guy up there with a gun to take down this Scorpio guy. THEY DIDN'T and Scorpio gets away, this time killing an officer on his way out of the building. Now it's personal.


Scorpio strikes yet again, this time he leaves a note for the Mayor, it says he has a girl in an air tight box underground and unless he gets his money she will die. To prove this claim he sends some items with the note, including a yanked tooth. (nothing says I have a girl like sending her molar to the mayor) Dirty Harry sees the tooth and goes, "You know she's dead." They're like, damnit Harry, you and your obvious observations! We are going to do this ransom thing and you're going to be the one to do it! Dirty Harry is the one who will deliver the money in a yellow suitcase so he takes it to the harbor but Scorpio doesn't show. A pay phone rings, again it's 1971 and there were pay phones around back then, Dirty Harry answers it and it's Scorpio who says they will play a game and he only has several minutes to get to the next place or the girl dies, so Harry is running all over town trying to get to the next pay phone. The whole time his partner has been following him around in a car. Dirty Harry finally gets to a giant cross and Scorpio comes out and is like, drop the bag and drop your gun and allow me to punch you in the face a bunch and also I'm going to kill the girl anyway and I'm going to kill you too, just so you know. At that moment Harry's partner shows up blasting away and the ski masked Scorpio starts shooting back, while Harry takes out his switch blade that he had in his sock and stabs Scorpio. The Scorpio guy makes a really weird "I've been stabbed with a switch blade in the leg" noise and takes off through the woods. Dirty Harry does get to his gun and fires it into the darkness because he's not all about identifying his target before he shoots.


Like usual Dirty Harry's superiors are mad cause he did something wrong, and they're all chewing him out cause he disobeyed this and ignored that. BUT they get a lead from a doctor that said they just treated a guy for a stab wound in the leg. Dirty Harry goes and talks to him with some fat cop and the doctor said, oh ya I know that guy, he lives in the stadium next door. So Dirty Harry goes over to the stadium and breaks into the efficiency that is in the bottom of the stadium. Scorpio was just leaving and runs off and there is a chase scene through the dark stadium. The fat cop manages to find the light switch for the entire stadium and turns it on just in time to find Scorpio running across the 50 yard line, he's not fast cause of the stab but he's trying! Dirty Harry just shoots him from across the field and goes up to him, the fat cop is now in the stands and asks if Harry needs help, Dirty Harry says, "GO GET SOME AIR FATSO" I'm not clear on why he was so mean to the fat cop, he was just trying to help. So scorpio is all rolling around and crying how he had been shot and how Dirty Harry tried to kill him and Dirty Harry is all, oh whatever if I wanted to kill you your head would be all over this field....which is true. Dirty Harry starts demanding to know where the girl is but the psycho guy just keeps crying like a little baby and starts to read himself the miranda rights. We then see cops digging up the dead girl as Dirty Harry looks on.

Now we find Dirty Harry in the District Attorney's office and he's going off on him saying how Dirty Harry shouldn't have done all this stuff and the psycho killer had rights and they were violated. Harry is just disgusted but it turns out they have to let Scorpio walk because they didn't have a search warrant. Dirty Harry decides he will follow Scorpio around by himself then because he is SURE he will kill again. But he is told that would be harassment and to just leave him alone and they're pretty sure he won't kill anyone again. Dirty Harry does not follow orders so Scorpio can't go anywhere without be followed, at the park, at the strip club, wherever he goes, there's Dirty Harry. Scorpio goes to an old train yard and pays a black man to kick his ass. He is then on the news all beat up and covered in bandages claiming Dirty Harry is harassing him and beat him up. The chief is now scolding Harry demanding to know if he was followed and if he beat up the Scorpio guy but Dirty Harry says, there's no way he beat him up because his proof is that he looks too pretty.

Scorpio isn't done yet though, oh no, he needs a gun so he goes into a liquor store and is like, hey gimmie some booze, aren't you the guy that gets robbed all the time? And the old liquor store owner is like, "oh ya that's me but now I just shoot them" and he shows Scorpio his gun. Then Scorpio is like, oh please put that away, I scare easily! And smashes the old guy in the head with the booze bottle and steals his gun. He then hijacks a school bus full of children and the bus driver is like, "hey I can't give you a ride!" and Scorpio says, "Just drive you old hag or I'll decorate this bus with your brains." So she starts driving and he's like, LETS SING SOME SONGS KIDS! They start singing old MacDonald and  the bus driver is crying, not sure if it's because she is terrified for her and the children's lives or if their singing sucks.

Well Dirty Harry is back in the Mayor's office and they're like, ok this time we're giving him 200 thousand dollars and a jet plane, Harry,  you can deliver it again. Dirty Harry is like, WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE, WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT??? says, "get yourself another delivery boy," and walks out. Scorpio actually called with the bus driver to demand that stuff and put the bus driver on the phone to prove his story and hostages and the bus driver says, "It's not my fault, he had a gun!" Out of all the things you can say you're just worried about being in trouble at this point lady?? What a bad bus driver all around. So they're driving and Dirty Harry is standing on an over pass and just jumps on the bus roof and Scorpio is like, wo holy crap, so he starts shooting up, then he grabs the wheel and heads for some kind of rock quarry place and wrecks the bus throwing Harry off the roof. He gets out and runs as Dirty Harry follows him.  They shoot and chase each other around the rock factory thingy and finally Scorpio sees a boy fishing and runs up and grabs him and is basically like, I got you now, you have to drop your gun! So Harry gives him the, "oh you got me" face and lowers his gun, then quickly draws it back up and shoots Scorpio in the shoulder. Dirty Harry walks up and Scorpio is going to go for his gun but sees Dirty Harry is pointing his 44 magnum at him and again we get to hear the awesome Dirty Harry line about not sure how many shots he fired and if he feels lucky. Scorpio does in fact feel lucky and goes for his gun, he is then blown away by Dirty Harry, who apparently only had shot 5 times. Dirty Harry then takes out his badge, looks at it, and throws it in the pond. Not sure what this means because there are 4 more movies after this one.

So that is Dirty Harry, a great movie in my opinion if you can get past the fact that it was made in 1971 and I'm sure would have been 100 times better in that year when compared to movies in 2013, and yet, there is something about these classic movies. Now he didn't ever say, "Go ahead, make my day." Which is another mega famous line of Clint Eastwood's and I'm pretty sure it was  a line by Dirty Harry, so it must be in one of the sequels. 

I give the actors an A because they had several great actors including Clint Eastwood and whoever that was that played Scorpio was just amazing as a psycho. I give the plot and story line an A because although nothing new, it really was one of the first for the action cop movie genre. I surprisingly give the music an A because it clearly was like, "Hey it's 1971, not a year before or after" and I can respect that, really set the mood and time period. All in all I clearly now know why Dirty Harry is such a classic and beloved film among people my dad's age. I actually plan to see the rest of the movies in this series. You might like it and you might not, in all this blog posting I kind of got confused myself, so if you're going to watch it and think it will be good you just have to ask yourself one question....do you feel lucky? Well, do ya PUNK? 




1 comment:

mark mcquillan said...

the actor that harry first says the the do you feel lucky quote to is not Danny Glover but the actor Albert popwell. He appeared in 4 dirty harry films as different characters .Dirty Harry (1971)
Magnum Force (1973)
The Enforcer (1976)
Sudden Impact (1983)
though he looks a bit like Glover its a common mistake.