he third installment in the Dirty Harry film quintet kicks off with an attractive hitchhiker turning down a ride in a sports car and taking a ride in a truck with two guys from the Western Gas & Electric Company! She lures them to her home in Mill Valley with the promise of some cold beers.
Once there, the hitchhiker and one of the guys go to get some cold beer. The other guy waits outside to have a cigarette... while smoking he is crept up upon and stabbed in the back with cold steel. As his partner returns from inside the house with the beer, he is blown away by shotgun blast from the hitch hiker's murdering accomplice. The credits roll.
Detective Inspector 'Dirty' Harry Callahan (Eastwood) is called to assist with a hostage situation taking a place at a liquor store in South of Market district of San Francisco. One of the gang has sawn-off shotgun pointed to a "nice lady's" head and they make their demands to Harry, who incidentally, is very put out about having to lay on the floor to listen to them, as he doesn't appreciate getting his best sport jacket soiled on the liquor store floor. They demand a car with a police radio, so the detective gives them one... he drives it through the front of the store, leaps out and unleashes the hallmark .44 magnum. Crises concluded!
Back at police HQ, Callahan's superior, Captain McKay (Dillman) is less than impressed with the detective's style of police work. He cites the $14,379 in damages caused by Callahan driving the car through the store front and informs that the minority community has had it with this kind of police work. The lieutenant informs that he is transferring the notorious detective from Homicide to Personnel as punishment for his use of excessive force.
So Dirty Harry is having to pull a stint in Personnel. On his first day, he is on a panel of four to pick 8 Inspectors from 50 candidates.... with one stipulation, that 3 are women. Officer Kate Moore (Daly) is first up and is grilled by Callahan because he feels her time spent in her previous position does not qualify her for the position. Especially since she has never been on the streets, but she does counter with an impressive knowledge of the law.
The motive for the murders at the beginning of the film become apparent when the killer and his gang turn up at an arms warehouse in the Western Gas & Electric truck. The elderly guard is summoned from his guard house under the rue of a gas leak... he soon has a knife plunged into his back. The gang then enters the warehouse and being loading up machine guns, rocket launchers and explosives. Outside Callahan's longtime partner, Frank is out patrolling with another officer when they spot that the gate has been left open to the warehouse. They come across the dead guard, Frank goes to investigate and his partner calls for back up. Thinking he has captured the gang Frank doesn't see the manic knife man, who sneaks up from behind and plunges the dagger into his back. The gang then escapes before the back up can arrive.
The gang go under the moniker of the Peoples Revolutionary Strike Force (PRSF). Now armed to the teeth, the police fear that they will go on a violent rampage throughout San Francisco.
Callahan has a new partner to help him crack the case... Inspector Kate Moore. As they are entering the Coroner's Office, Harry spots a familiar looking black guy with a brief case. He continues on as he wants to attend the autopsy of his dead partner. A short while later, a bomb goes off in the restroom of the police station. Harry immediately suspects the black guy and with the help of his new partner, finds he is still close by and so beings a breathless pursuit across rooftops of San Francisco. Dirty Harry eventually catches the guy after he runs into a church, but not before having to show his credentials to a surly Priest.
The suspect turns out to be Henry Lee Caldwell, his known associates are the black militants in The Fillmore district. So Harry takes his new partner to what he calls The Fillmore Chapter of The VFW... Very Few Whites. They walk into a barber shop looking for 'Big' Ed Mustapha (Popwell) head of the black militants. Callahan gets to talk frankly to his man Mustapha about Henry Lee. Big 'Ed' informs the Inspector that he had been making some new friends, primarily Bobby Maxwell. Bobby is the maniac knife man and leader of the PRSF. Mustapha gives this information on the understanding that Harry helps him out with a buddy of his on a police charge.
As soon as Harry and his partner leave though, Captain McKay turns up with an army of police officers and arrests Mustapha and his boys, believing them to be behind the bombing.
Little do they know that crazy Bobby Maxwell and the PRSF are about to kidnap the Mayor of San Francisco and demand $2 million ransom. Armed to the teeth and hid out on Alcatraz they are tracked down by the tenacious Dirty Harry and his loyal female partner Kate Moore for the big shoot out on The Rock.
Don't forget that The Enforcer 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
The Enforcer draws a lot of its plot themes from local San Francisco politics and activist groups. For instance, the Peoples Revolutionary Strike Force (PRSF) is based upon the Symbionese Liberation Army. This militant group kidnapped local San Francisco billionaire daughter Patty Hearst in the early 70's. Of course, the Black Militants from The Fillmore district are based loosely on The Black Panthers of Oakland from the 1960's. Not forgetting that the Native American protest group which occupied Alcatraz to create publicity for their cause. On top of all this, is the theme of equal rights for women which dominated the mid-70's an of course this was a prominent issue in San Francisco at the time, hence Tyne Daly's character.
From all these localised themes director James Fargo created a real zeitgeist of a movie which added 'meat on the bones' on the now familiar Dirty Harry spin.... suspended, reinstated, suspended, solves the case anyway, partner usually dead.
The tradition of showcasing the city of San Francisco in the films is continued here. New areas of the city include The Fillmore, South of Market, Telegraph Hill, Alcatraz and The Marina. These areas capture the beauty and diversity of the city and act as a great canvas for the story of The Enforcer.
As in all the Dirty Harry films there is a multitude of memorable lines. Here are a few of my favorites.
"You just blink an eyelid and I'll mail you home to mama in a box"
"JESUS CHRIST!!!!.... Give him my best"
"She wants to play lumberjack, she's going to have to learn to handle her end of the log."
"You laugh at me, you ba*tard, and I'll shoot you where you stand"
Albert Popwell who plays 'Big' Ed Mustapha actually appeared in the first 4 Dirty Harry movies. He was an uncredited bank robber in 'Dirty Harry' (1971), a pimp in 'Magnum Force' (1973) and Harry's buddy in Sudden Impact (1983).
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|Trailer, Featurette, Notes|
|Trailer, Featurette, Notes|
When Lalo Schifrin, composer of both Dirty Harry and Magnum Force, was
unavailable to compose the score for The Enforcer, the job fell to composer
Jerry Fielding. Fielding was perhaps best known for his collaborations with
Sam Peckinpah, ("The Wild Bunch", "Straw Dogs", "Bring Me the Head of Alfredo
Garcia") and Michael Winner ("Scorpio", 2The Big Sleep", "Lawman"). For Fielding "The Enforcer" led to future collaborations with Clint Eastwood films like "The Outlaw Josey Wales" (his third and final Academy Award nomination), "Escape From Alcatraz", and "The Gauntlet".
Composer Jerry Fielding had a long and storied career. He began in the 40s
as a bandleader with his own television show and fell victim to McCarthysm,
blacklisted from Hollywood in the 1950s. His return to Hollywood came in
1962, hired by Otto Preminger to compose the score for Advise and Consent.
He began working in episodic television, scoring episodes of both Mission:
Impossible and Star Trek. It was his work on Noon Wine that started
Fielding's relationship with Sam Peckinpah, which would lead Fielding back
to the big screen.
Thanks to Lalo Schifrin's label Aleph Records, we will imminently be able to enjoy this score for the first time. Track listing:
1. Prologue/Main Title
2. Harry's World
3. Warehouse Heist
4. Code Blue
5. Rooftop Chase
6. Raid on Mustafa's
7. Kidnap Zap
8. Tiffany's Number Eleven
9. The Shooting Nun
10. Alcatraz Encounter
11. Death on the Rock
12. Finale (Elegy for Inspector Moore)
13. Finale (Alternate)
Soundtrack Available: On CD
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