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Dirty Harry is a 1971 American crime thriller produced and directed by Don Siegel, the first in the Dirty Harry film seriesClint Eastwood plays the title role, in his first outing as San Francisco Police Department Inspector "Dirty" Harry Callahan.

Dirty Harry was a critical and commercial success and set the style for a whole genre of police films. The film was followed by four sequels: Magnum Force in 1973, The Enforcer in 1976,Sudden Impact in 1983 (directed by Eastwood himself), and The Dead Pool in 1988.

In 2012, the film was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress for being "culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant."[2]

ContentsEdit

 [hide*1 Plot

Plot[edit]Edit

sadistic serial killer calling himself "Scorpio" (Andy Robinson) murders a girl in a San Francisco swimming pool, using a high-powered rifle from a nearby rooftop. SFPD Inspector Harry Callahan (Clint Eastwood) finds a ransom message demanding the city pay him $100,000. Scorpio also promises that for each day that the city refuses his demand, he will commit a murder, and his next victim will be "a Catholic priest or a nigger". The chief of police and the Mayor (John Vernon) assign the inspector to the case, though the Mayor is reluctant because of an incident involving the shooting by Callahan of a naked man with a butcher knife chasing a woman the previous year in the city's Fillmore District.

While in a local diner, Callahan sees a bank robbery in progress and, alone with his revolver, he kills two of the robbers and wounds a third, challenging the man lying near a loaded shotgun:

I know what you’re thinking: "Did he fire six shots or only five?" Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement, I’ve kinda lost track myself. But being this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you’ve got to ask yourself one question: "Do I feel lucky?" Well, do you, punk?

After the robber surrenders, he tells Callahan that he must know if the gun was still loaded. Callahan dry fires the weapon while pointed directly at the robber, and then laughs after revealing it to be empty. He had taken a burst of gunfire in his leg, so later he meets a police doctor who treats the injury; the police doctor references that he is from Callahan's home district, Potrero Hill.

Assigned a rookie partner, Chico Gonzalez (Reni Santoni), Callahan complains that he needs someone experienced because his partners keep getting injured or worse. When Scorpio kills a young black boy from another rooftop, the police believe the killer will next pursue a Catholic priest. Callahan and Gonzalez wait for Scorpio near a Catholic church where a roof-top to roof-top shootout ensues, with Callahan attempting to snipe Scorpio with a .458 Winchester Magnum rifle. Scorpio escapes, killing a police officer disguised as a priest.

Scorpio kidnaps, rapes, and buries alive a teenage girl, then demands twice his previous ransom before the girl's air runs out. The mayor decides to pay, and tells Callahan to deliver the money with no tricks, but the inspector wears a wire, brings a knife, and has his partner follow him. As Scorpio sends Callahan to various payphones throughout the city to make sure he is alone, the chase ends at Mount Davidson. Scorpio brutally beats Callahan and tells him he'd decided to let the girl die anyway; Gonzalez comes to his partner's rescue but is wounded. Callahan stabs Scorpio in the leg, but the killer escapes without the money. Gonzalez survives his wound, but decides to resign from the force at the urging of his wife.

The doctor who treated Scorpio phones the police and tells Callahan and his new partner, Frank DiGiorgio (John Mitchum), that he has seen Scorpio in Kezar StadiumRunning out of time, the officers break into the stadium and Callahan shoots Scorpio in his wounded leg. When Scorpio refuses to reveal the location of the girl and demands a lawyer, Callahan tortures the killer by standing on the wounded leg. Scorpio confesses, but the police are too late to save the girl.

Because Callahan searched Scorpio's home without a warrant and improperly seized his rifle, the District Attorney decides that the killer cannot be charged. An outraged Callahan, warning that Scorpio will kill again because of the excitement that killing gives him, follows Scorpio on his own time. Scorpio pays a thug to give him a severe, but controlled beating, then claims the inspector is responsible. Despite his protests to the contrary, Callahan is ordered to stop following Scorpio.

After stealing a gun from a liquor store owner, Scorpio kidnaps a school bus load of children and demands another ransom and a plane to leave the country. The Mayor again insists on paying but when offered to deliver the ransom again, Callahan angrily refuses. Callahan, fed up with the way the city is handling the situation with Scorpio, instead pursues Scorpio without authorization, jumping onto the top of the bus from a railroad trestle. The bus crashes into a dirt embankment and Scorpio flees into a nearby rock quarry, where he has a running gun battle with Callahan. Scorpio keeps running until he spots a young boy (Andy Robinson's stepson Steve Zachs in real life) sitting near a pond, and grabs him as a hostage.

The inspector feigns surrender, but fires, wounding Scorpio in his left shoulder. The boy runs away and Callahan stands over Scorpio, gun drawn. The inspector reprises his "Do you feel lucky, punk?" speech. Scorpio lunges for his gun, Callahan kills him instantly. As Callahan watches the dead body, he takes out his inspector's badge; after contemplating what will happen to him as a result of his actions, he hurls it into the water, before walking away.

Cast[edit]Edit

Production[edit]Edit

Development[edit]Edit

The script, titled Dead Right, was originally written by Harry Julian and Rita M. Fink, a story about a hard-edged New York City police inspector Harry Callahan, determined to stop Travis, a serial killer, by any means at his disposal.[3][4]The original draft ended with a police sniper, instead of Callahan, taking out Scorpio. Another earlier version of the story was set in Seattle, Washington. Four more drafts of the script were written.

Although Dirty Harry is arguably Clint Eastwood's signature role, he was not a top contender for the part. The role of Harry Callahan was offered to John Wayne and Frank Sinatra,[5] and later to Robert Mitchum and Burt Lancaster.[3]Mitchum dismissed this totemic role as "a piece of junk."[6] In Dick Lochte's article, "Just One More Hangover: A Vodka-Soaked Afternoon with Robert Mitchum", he writes:

Mitchum always got "those prices" in those days. "Somebody says, 'We really want you to do this script.' And I say, 'I'd need an awful lot of money in front to do that one.' And that never seems to be a problem. The less I like the script, the higher my price. And they pay. They may pay in yen, but they pay. Not that I'm a complete whore, understand. There are movies I won't do for any amount. I turned down Patton and I turned down Dirty Harry. Movies that piss on the world. If I've got $5 in my pocket, I don't need to make money that fucking way, daddy.

When producer Jennings Lang initially could not find an actor to take the role of Callahan, he sold the film rights to ABC Television. Although ABC wanted to turn it into a television film, the amount of violence in the script was deemed too excessive for television, so the rights were sold to Warner Bros.[7]

Warner Bros. purchased the script with a view to cast Frank Sinatra in the lead. Sinatra was 55 at the time and since the character of Harry Callahan was originally written as a man in his mid to late 50s (and Eastwood only then 41), Sinatra fit the character profile. Initially, Warner Bros. wanted either Sydney Pollack or Irvin Kershner to direct.[4] Kershner was eventually hired when Frank Sinatra was attached to the title role. But when Sinatra eventually left the film, so did Kershner.[8]

John Milius was asked to work on the script when Sinatra was attached, along with Irvin Kershner as director. Milius claimed he was requested to write the screenplay for Frank Sinatra in three weeks.[9]

I was the young hot guy there, then. The new thing at Warner Bros. ... John Calley called me in and he said, "We have this meeting with Frank Sinatra. We have to have a script to show him, and we don't really have it, nothing's any good. We're going to do this, this is what we're going to do. Can you do this in three weeks?" I said, "I don't recommend it, but it can be done." And I remember that was one of the first movies where I made them give me a gun. I had this gun in mind, I knew where this gun was. I made them give me a $2,000 gun, I remember. I had to have the gun, and they said, "We'll send for the gun." I said, "No, you don't understand. If I don't have the gun today, when the gun comes here, I'll have to stop everything just to look at it for a whole day, and that will slow everything up." So they sent a limo for the gun, or a station wagon or something, for the gun. Brought the gun over, a wonderful gun. Unfortunately, I traded it off over the years. I looked at the gun for the rest of the day, then I started the thing and wrote it in 21 days. And that's Dirty Harry.[10]

Milius' draft is dated 23 September 1970 inspired by Akira Kurosawa's studies in lone-gun detectives. Milius has also mentioned being influenced by a friend of his, a Long Beach police officer who dealt with criminals in a rather summary fashion. According to Milius, his friend "rarely brought people back" but was, contrastingly, extremely gentle with animals. Quite a bit of Milius' script remains in the finished film, including Harry's mystique and his "Do I feel lucky?" monologue.

Terrence Malick wrote a draft of the film dated November 1970 (John Milius and Harry Julian Fink are also named as co-writers) in which the shooter (also named Travis) was a vigilante who killed wealthy criminals who had escaped justice.[11] Malick's ideas formed the basis for the sequel, Magnum Force, though with a group of vigilante motorcycle cops instead of a single shooter.

Details about the film were first released in film industry trade papers in April, September and November 1970 with Frank Sinatra attached as Harry Callahan and Irvin Kershner listed as director and producer with Arthur Jacobson acting as associate producer.[3]

After Sinatra left the project, the producers started to consider younger actors for the role. Burt Lancaster turned down the lead role because he strongly disagreed with the violent, right-wing morals of the story. He believed the role and plot contradicted his belief in a collective responsibility for criminal and social justice and the protection of individual rights.[12] Marlon Brando was considered for the role, but was never formally approached. Both Steve McQueen andPaul Newman turned down the role.[3] McQueen refused to make another "cop movie" after Bullitt (1968). He would also turn down the lead in The French Connection the same year, giving the same reason. Believing the character was too "right-wing" for him, Newman suggested that the film would be a good vehicle for Eastwood.[8]

The screenplay was initially brought to Clint’s attention around 1969 by Jennings Lang and while still in post-production for his directorial debut film Play Misty for Me, Warner Bros offered him the part. By 17 December 1970, in a Warner Brothers studio press release it was announced that Clint Eastwood would star in as well as produce the film through his Malpaso Company.

Eastwood was given a number of scripts, but he ultimately reverted to the original as the best vehicle for him.[13] In a 2009 MTV Interview, Eastwood said, "So I said, 'I'll do it,' but since they had initially talked to me, there had been all these rewrites. I said, 'I'm only interested in the original script'." Looking back on the 1971 Don Siegel film, he remembered, "[The rewrites had changed] everything. They had Marine snipers coming on in the end. And I said, 'No. This is losing the point of the whole story, of the guy chasing the killer down. It's becoming an extravaganza that's losing its character.' They said, 'OK, do what you want.' So, we went and made it.".[14]

Eastwood also agreed to star in the film only on the provision that Don Siegel direct. Siegel was under contract to Universal at the time, and Eastwood personally went to the studio heads to ask them to 'loan' Siegel to Warner. The two had just completed the movie The Beguiled (1970).[citation needed]

Scorpio was loosely based on the real-life Zodiac Killer, an unidentified serial killer who had committed five murders in the San Francisco Bay Area several years earlier.[15] In a later novelization of the film, Scorpio was referred to as "Charles Davis" by Lt. Bressler, a former mental patient from Springfield, Massachusetts who murdered his grandparents while still a teenager.[16] There are significant differences between the book and the film, and it can only be presumed that the differences in the book were taken from an early script draft. Among the differences are Scorpio's point of view – in the book he uses astrology to make decisions (including being inspired to abduct Ann Mary Deacon), Harry working on a murder case involving a mugger before he is assigned to Scorpio, and the omission of the suicide jumper and Harry throwing away his badge at the end. Audie Murphy was initially considered to play Scorpio, but he died in a plane crash before his decision on the offer could be made.[17] When Kershner and Sinatra were still attached to the project, James Caan was under consideration for the role of Scorpio.[17] The part eventually went to a relatively unknown actor, Andy Robinson. Eastwood had seen Robinson in a play called Subject to Fits and recommended him for the role of Scorpio, whose unkempt appearance fit the bill for a psychologically unbalanced hippie.[18]Siegel told Robinson that he cast him in the role of the Scorpio killer because he wanted someone "with a face like a choirboy." Robinson's portrayal was so memorable that after the film was released he was reported to have received several death threats and was forced to get an unlisted telephone number. In real life, Robinson is a pacifist who deplores the use of firearms. In the early days of principal photography, Robinson would reportedly flinch in discomfort every time he was required to use a gun. As a result director Don Siegel was forced to halt production briefly and sent Robinson for brief training in order to learn how to fire a gun convincingly.[19] Despite this, he still blinked when firing guns during certain scenes involving shootouts. Robinson was also reportedly uncomfortable about filming the scenes where he verbally and physically abuses several schoolchildren.

Shortly thereafter, they hired writer Dean Riesner to work on the script.[citation needed] Riesner worked previously with both Eastwood and Siegel as a writer on Coogan's Bluff, and Play Misty for Me. Screenwriter John Milius' contribution was also worked in by writing a draft of the film inspired by Akira Kurosawa's studies in lone-gun detectives, while director Siegel tackled the material from the viewpoint of bigotry.[citation needed]

As several ideas were added and changed, many others were dropped, including a visit to Harry's hometown and an airport hijacking.[citation needed]

In the former, Harry and Chico drive around Potrero Hill questioning the residents after the scene of Charlie Russell's murder. As they continue to be greeted with suspicion from everyone, Harry begins to talk about how the people are raised mistrusting cops. He tells Chico that he grew up in Potrero Hill, and learned at an early age not to depend on the police. He soon decides that this case is not one that will be solved by the usual methods of police work, and that Scorpio will not be satisfied until he has made good on his threat to kill a priest. This scene was most likely included as part of Harry's character while he was still written as an older, disillusioned cop. As Harry gets his leg bandaged, listen for Steve Rogers to confirm the Potrero Hill background with the line, "We Potrero Hill boys gotta stick together."[20]

The "Bank Job" scene is different as well, and unfolds during a rainstorm. In addition to the tailpipe smoke, Harry notices that though people continue to enter, no one is exiting the bank. The biggest difference in the scene, though, is Harry's alternate "Do I feel lucky" monologue:

"You been counting? Well, was it five or was it six? Regulations say five...hammer down on the empty...only not all of us go by the book. What you have to do is think about it. I mean this is a forty-four magnum and it'll turn your head into hash. Now, do you think I fired five or six? And if five, do I keep a live one under the hammer? It's all up to you. Are you feeling lucky, Punk?"

One of the original ideas for the film's ending included a sequence with Scorpio kidnapping a group of schoolchildren at an airport, then attempting to hijack a plane. When the studio decided that the whole thing would be too expensive to film, it was Eastwood who suggested using the rock quarry for the ending. He remembered it from his childhood; having lived nearby, he had passed it often on drives with his parents. The abduction of the school children was still worked into the end of the film, basing it again on the real-life events of the Zodiac case, where the killer threatened to attack a school bus full of children. The airport sequence eventually found its way into the series, being worked into the plot of Magnum Force.[20]

Principal photography[edit]Edit

Glenn Wright, Eastwood's costume designer since Rawhide, was responsible for creating Callahan's distinctive old-fashioned brown and yellow checked jacket to emphasize his strong values in pursuing crime.[18] Filming for Dirty Harrybegan in April 1971 and involved some risky stunts, with much footage shot at night and filming the city of San Francisco aerially, a technique which the film series is renowned for.[18] Eastwood performed the stunt in which he jumps onto the roof of the hijacked school bus from a bridge, without a stunt double. His face is clearly visible throughout the shot. Eastwood also directed the suicide-jumper scene.

The line, "My, that's a big one," spoken by Scorpio when Callahan removes his gun, was an ad-lib by Robinson. The crew broke into laughter as a result of the double entendre and the scene had to be re-shot, but the line stayed.

The final scene, in which Callahan throws his badge into the water, is an homage to a similar scene from 1952's High Noon.[21] Eastwood initially did not want to toss the badge, believing it indicated that Callahan was quitting the police department. Siegel argued that tossing the badge was instead Callahan's indication of casting away the inefficiency of the police force's rules and bureaucracy.[21] Although Eastwood was able to convince Siegel not to have Callahan toss the badge, when the scene was filmed, Eastwood changed his mind and went with the current ending.[21]

Filming locations[edit]Edit

One evening Eastwood and Siegel had been watching the San Francisco 49ers in the Kezar Stadium in the last game of the season and thought the eerie Greek amphitheater-like setting would be an excellent location for shooting one of the scenes where Callahan encounters the psychopathic killer Scorpio.[22]

In San Francisco, California

In Marin County, California

In Los Angeles County, California

Music[edit]Edit

The soundtrack for Dirty Harry was created by composer Lalo Schifrin. who created the iconic music for both the theme of Mission: Impossible and the Bullitt soundtrack, and who had previously collaborated with director Don Siegel in the production of Coogan's Bluff and The Beguiled, both also starring Clint Eastwood. Schifrin fused a wide variety of influences, including classical musicjazzpsychedelic rock, along with Edda Dell'Orso-style vocals, into a score that "could best be described as acid jazz some 25 years before that genre began." According to one reviewer, the Dirty Harry soundtrack's influence "is paramount, heard daily in movies, on television, and in modern jazz and rock music."[34][35]

Release[edit]Edit

Critical reception[edit]Edit

Dirty Harry was well received by critics and is regarded as one of the best films of 1971.[36][37][38] The film holds a 95% approval rating on the review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes.[39] It was nominated at the Edgar Allan Poe Awards for Best Motion Picture.[citation needed] The film caused controversy when it was released, sparking debate over issues ranging from police brutality to victims' rights and the nature of law enforcement. Feminists in particular were outraged by the film and at the 44th Academy Awards protested outside the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, holding up banners which read messages such as "Dirty Harry is a Rotten Pig".[40]

Jay Cocks of Time praised Eastwood's performance as Dirty Harry, describing him as "giving his best performance so far, tense, tough, full of implicit identification with his character".[41] Neal Gabler also praised Eastwood's performance in the film: "There's an incredible pleasure in watching Clint Eastwood do what he does, and he does it so well."[42] Film critic Roger Ebert, while praising the film's technical merits, denounced the film for its "fascist moral position."[43] A section of the Philippine police force ordered a print of the film for use as a training film.[44][45]

The film's critical reputation has grown in stature and is commonly listed among the greatest films of all time. In 2008, Dirty Harry was selected by Empire magazine as one of The 500 Greatest Movies of All Time.[46] It was placed similarly on The Best 1000 Movies Ever Made list by The New York Times.[47] In January 2010, Total Film included the film on its list of The 100 Greatest Movies of All Time.[48] TV Guide and Vanity Fair also included the film on their lists of the 50 best movies.[49][50]

Box office performance[edit]Edit

The benefit world premiere of Dirty Harry was held at Loews Theater 1077 Market Street (San Francisco),[51] on December 22, 1971.[52][53] The film was the fourth highest-grossing film of 1971, earning an approximate total of $36 million in its U.S. theatrical release,[1] making it a major financial success in comparison with its modest $4 million budget.[54]

Home media[edit]Edit

Warner Home Video owns rights to the Dirty Harry series. The studio first released the film to VHS and Betamax in 1979. Dirty Harry (1971) has been remastered for DVD three times — in 1998, 2001 and 2008. It has been repurposed for several DVD box sets. Dirty Harry made its high-definition debut with the 2008 Blu-ray Disc. The commentator on the 2008 DVD is Clint Eastwood biographer Richard Schickel.[55]

Legacy[edit]Edit

Dirty Harry received recognition from the American Film Institute. The film was ranked #41 on 100 Years…100 Thrills, a list of America's most heart-pounding movies.[56] Harry Callahan was selected as the 17th greatest movie hero on100 Years ... 100 Heroes and Villains.[57] The movie's famous quote "You've got to ask yourself one question: 'Do I feel lucky?' Well, do ya, punk?" was ranked 51st on 100 Years…100 Movie Quotes.[58] Dirty Harry was also on the ballot for several other AFI's 100 series lists including 100 Years... 100 Movies,[59] 100 Years ... 100 Movies (10th Anniversary Edition),[60] and 100 Years of Film Scores.[61]

Real-life copycat crime and killers[edit]Edit

The film supposedly inspired a real-life crime, the Faraday School kidnapping.[62] In October 1972, soon after the release of the movie in Australia, two armed men (one of whom coincidentally had the last name 'Eastwood') kidnapped a teacher and six school children in Victoria. They demanded a $1 million ransom. The state government agreed to pay, but the children managed to escape and the kidnappers were subsequently jailed.[63]

On September 1981, a case occurred in Germany under circumstances quite similar to the Barbara Jane Mackle case: A ten-year-old girl, Ursula Hermann, was buried alive in a box fitted with ventilation, lighting and sanitary systems to be held for ransom. The girl suffocated in her prison within 48 hours of her abduction because autumn leaves had clogged up the ventilation duct. 27 years later, a couple was arrested and tried for kidnapping and murder on circumstantial evidence. According to the Daily Mail, the couple were inspired by the film Dirty Harry, in which "Scorpio" Davis kidnaps a girl and places her in an underground box.[64] This case was also dealt with in the German TV seriesAktenzeichen XY … ungelöst.

Influence[edit]Edit

Eastwood's iconic portrayal of the blunt, cynical, unorthodox detective who is seemingly in perpetual trouble with his incompetent bosses, set the style for a number of his later roles and, indeed, a whole genre of "loose-cannon" cop films. The film resonated with an American public that had become weary and frustrated with the increasing violent urban crime that was characteristic of the time.[65] The film was released at a time when throughout 1970 and 1971 there were prevalent reports of local and federal police committing atrocities and overstepping their authority by entrapment and obstruction of justice.[66] Author McGilligan, argued that America needed a hero, a winner at a time when the authorities were losing the battle against crime.[66] The box-office success of Dirty Harry led to the production of four sequels.

The motif of a cop who cares more for justice than rules was one subsequently imitated by a number of other films. John Wayne, who like Eastwood was associated with the Western genre, starred in McQ and later BranniganSylvester Stallone's Cobra and Judge Dredd share many elements with Dirty Harry, a cop with an obsession for justice, a law system that is more concerned about the criminal than the victim, and a psychotic killer. The film is also an adaption of the novel Fair Game and was originally intended by Stallone to be the basis of Beverly Hills Cop while he was involved with the project. Stallone's own movie was plagiarised by Italian film producers for the Fred Williamson Blaxploitationfilm Black Cobra, which also mimicked the famous 'Do You Feel Lucky, Punk?' scene from Dirty Harry. The same scene was parodied in The Mask.

Writers Shane Black and Steven E. de Souza have spoken of the film's influence on their characters of Martin Riggs and John McClane from the Lethal Weapon and Die Hard franchises.

The film can also be counted as the seminal influence on the Italian tough-cop films, Poliziotteschi, which dominated the 1970s and that were critically praised in Europe and the U.S. as well.

[1][2]Harry Callahan pointing his S&W Model 29

Dirty Harry helped popularize the Smith & Wesson Model 29 revolver, chambered for the powerful .44 Magnum cartridge. The film initiated an increase in sales of the powerful handgun, which continues to be popular forty years after the film's release.[citation needed] The .44 Magnum ranked second in a 2008 20th Century Fox poll of the most popular film weapons, after only the lightsaber of Star Wars fame. The poll surveyed approximately two thousand film fans.[67] However, the only appearances of the Model 29 in the movie are in the close-ups: Any time Eastwood actually fired the revolver, he was shooting a Smith & Wesson Model 25 in .45 Long Colt.[68] In 1971, .44 Magnum blanks were not available.[citation needed] However, as a result of decades of Hollywood Western movies there was an ample supply of 5-in-1 blank cartridges. As the Model 25 is built on the same Smith & Wesson N frame as the Model 29, it was simple to substitute it for the Model 29 in scenes where Eastwood had to shoot the revolver.[citation needed]

Director John Milius owns one of the actual Model 29s used in principal photography in Dirty Harry and Magnum Force.[69] It is (as of March 2012) on loan to the National Firearms Museum in Fairfax, Virginia, and is on display in the Hollywood Guns gallery.[70]

In 2013, InAPPropriate Comedy, a satirical comedy film, parodied the character Dirty Harry with a fake trailer called "Flirty Harry", in which Flirty Harry was played by Academy Award winner Adrien Brody.

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