beautiful young woman in the prime of her life takes a leisurely swim in a luxury rooftop hotel swimming pool. When a high velocity shot from a neighboring building stains the water with her blood, San Francisco is equally tainted with a serial killer, the likes of which have never been seen before.
As the opening credits roll, the cops gather at the crime scene and Lieutenant Harry Callahan arrives. He quickly establishes the trajectory of the bullet and sets off to survey the killer's position.
He finds an empty rifle shell case and a ransom note to the Mayor of San Francisco demanding $100,000 in cash. Otherwise he threatens to kill one person a day, everyday. He states that his first two victims will be a priest and a black person.
Lt. Callahan is summoned into the Mayor's office to inform on his strategy in catching the maniac. His surly attitude does not impress the Mayor but he is nonetheless in charge of catching the murderer who calls himself the Scorpio Killer.
Following his testy meeting with the Mayor, the cop goes for lunch. He notes a bank robbery taking place and tells the cook in the diner to call 911. Yet before the Calvary can arrive he himself has
to take on and take out the bank robbers single handed, with his trusty Magnum .44 hand canon...while still chewing on his hot dog! It is here he utters the iconic "Do you feel lucky punk? Well do ya?"
Back at police headquarters Callahan is assigned a new partner. Chico Gonzalez. Utterly unimpressed with the rookie he tells his Captain that he would rather work alone, being that his previous
partners have either ended up hospital or six feet under. Regardless, Callahan has a new partner. The other cops are quick to inform the rookie that his partner is known as 'Dirty Harry'.
Meanwhile the sniper is setting up position on a rooftop overlooking a church in a busy city square to continue his killing spree. Fortunately a police helicopter spots the murderous maniac averting
further killing, yet the killer manages to evade capture and disappears into the metropolis.
The killing continues with the cold blooded murder of a young black kid. Harry believes the killer's next move will be to return to the city square in order to murder a priest, as he stated in the ransom note who first victims would be. The killer does appear and so commences a breathless pursuit around the city.
Although Harry catches the killer, he has to stand by helpless as bureaucratic loopholes in the law allow the killer to walk free. But the killer's luck and time are running out and Dirty Harry is just waiting for a slip up. Questions is, how many people will have to die before justice is served?
Don't forget that Dirty Harry is now available to order on Widescreen DVD using our special 70s search device... [See DVD section or click here for more details]
By: Stuart Fitzgerald
'Dirty Harry' is a seminal 70s police thriller. Clint Eastwood played Harry Callahan the iconic anti 'system' law man who uses any means necessary to catch the killer. The anti system sentiment was the zeitgeist of films made in the early 1970s. This prevalence of implied incompetence of government in 'Dirty Harry' and other films of the era, were of course the product of the failing war in Vietnam and the crumbling credibility of President Nixon.
Director Don Siegel and Clint Eastwood deny that there was any raging political undertone in the film. Stating that it was always just a meat-n-potatoes police thriller. Yet the mocking of buercratic systems and archaic attitude is plain to see in this movie.
The film is shot almost entirely on location in San Francisco. The director made the City an integral part of the film, a practice continued in its four sequels. Showcasing the City to impressive
affect he manages to capture the beauty and diversity of the city by covering a whirlwind of locations. The film is almost a travelogue of San Francisco, but of course the murderous antics of Andy Robinson's gloriously, overacted Scorpio killer, stop one from becoming to distracted. Clint Eastwood is of course superb as 'Dirty Harry' the Magnum .44 wielding, no nonsense cop. The character has become a cult favorite with film fans around the world and it is easy to see why.
35 years after its release 'Dirty Harry' still stands up as one of the most influential police thrillers ever made. It influenced an entire generation of cop films both on the silver screen and television screen. No other avenging hero quite had Dirty Harry's coolness. Although Charles Bronson was superb in the Death Wish films. Ultimately 'Dirty Harry' is an example of a film frequently imitated but rarely equaled. Lalo Schifirn's phenomenal score to the film, is the proverbial cherry on the cake of this 70s cult classic.
Clint Eastwood was born but not raised in San Francisco, California the location of the film. Apperntly the film was originally going to be shot in Seattle, Washington, but as Clint stated on the DVD commentary, "its hard to get beyond San Francisco" This was because at that time, San Francisco had not featured in many motion pictures and the director was keen to utilise the scenic locations.
After Harry has foiled the bank robbery at the beginning of the film, he strides over to the one surviving robber. In doing so, he walks in front of a theatre which is showing Play Misty for Me (1971), which Eastwood directed and starred in.
The final scene where Harry throws his badge in the river is a homage to a similar scene from High Noon (1952).
Andrew Robinson, the actor who played Scorpio had to get an unlisted phone number, and has received a death threats!
The title role was originally intended for Frank Sinatra who had to pull out because of a hand injury. It was then offered to John Wayne who declined the role and later said he refused it because he 'didn't want Sinatra's leftovers'. The script then passed to Paul Newman, who also turned it down but said it would be a perfect vehicle for Clint Eastwood.
It is widely accepted that this movie was loosely based on the events surrounding the Zodiac Killer who was actively killing people in San Francisco at the time.
Andrew Robinson, was actually a committed pacifist, and so terrified of guns that every time he had to fire one in the film, he would squeeze his eyes shut and flinch violently. Director Don Siegel had to shut down production for almost a week and hired a firearms expert to work with Robinson continuously until he was realistically able to fire a gun.
Andrew Robinson was cast at the behest of Clint Eastwood who had seen him in a Broadway production of Fyodor Dostoyevsky's "The Idiot". Eastwood then convinced director 'Don Siegel' that Robinson had the right unnerving characteristics to make an effective Scorpio.
know some Dirty Harry trivia that we could add? [Please
send it in]
Kezar Stadium, the scene in which Callahan shoots Scorpio, is the former home of the NFL's San Fransico 49ers, and is currently been remodeled as a state park, with the playing surface still intact.
Can you help? Do you know any of the San Francisco, filming locations used for Dirty Harry? [Please send them in]
|Trailer, Featurette, Notes|
|Trailer, Featurette, Notes|
The film was scored by Lalo Schifrin the immensely talented, Argentinian born pianist, conductor and composer who has written over 100 scores for both television & the cinema including the memorable themes to 'Mission Impossible', 'Starsky & Hutch' (1975), 'Cool Hand Luke' (1967), 'Bullitt' (1968), 'Kelly's Heros' (1970), 'Enter the Dragon' (1973), Return from Witch Mountain (1978).
The Dirty Harry soundtrack has been sampled many times by a variety of hip hop producers and rappers over the years.
Soundtrack Available: On CD
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