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.
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.
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.
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?