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I'd never seen the full movie of "Dirty Harry"; only a few clips from it, e.g., "Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?" This line happens very early in the film, and serves two purposes: as character development of the protagonist, Harry Callahan, and as a memorable clip for posterity (*) - so if you watch it, you won't have spoiled a thing. It's also somewhat clumsily acted, and isn't representative of Eastwood in this film - he otherwise does a fine job. Somehow, he manages to inject a boyish smile into the gravest of situations here: A couple other notes: It isn't like there was anything at stake here - even if the bad guy had reached the gun, he wasn't going to get a shot off, and he certainly wasn't going anywhere. This is a great example of a scene contrived to become a classic - think of "I'll have what she's having" in "Sleepless in Seattle" (1993) - probably the all-time greatest one-liner in movie history (which, by the way, took place at Katz's Delicatessen (which just made me think ofMark Kuller, God rest his soul)). Also, this is an unfortunate time in our lives to be glorifying such a scene, but I can assure people who haven't seen the film that Harry Callahan - icy-cold bad-ass though he might have been - was a good guy through-and-through, and someone all viewers would want to pull for. This was a very good police thriller, with a certified looney-tunes villain very well played by Andy Robinson (as an aside, it isn't often a movie of this popularity doesn't even have two actors that most people could name, although the Mayor of San Francisco is played by none other than Dean Wormer himself, John Vernon). Clint Eastwood was (and still is) a damned handsome man. This movie also goes a level deeper than just being a cops-and-robbers crime film. Roger Ebert has a *great* line about the movie - one which you really can't argue against: "I think films are more often a mirror of society than an agent of change, and that when we blame the movies for the evils around us we are getting things backward. "Dirty Harry" is very effective at the level of a thriller. At another level, it uses the most potent star presence in American movies -- Clint Eastwood -- to lay things on the line. If there aren't mentalities like Dirty Harry's at loose in the land, then the movie is irrelevant. If there are, we should not blame the bearer of the bad news." "Dirty Harry" was both directed and produced by Don Siegel, which would be more than enough for an entire career, but he also worked on four other Clint Eastwood films, as well as the original "Invasion of the Body Snatchers"(1956), "The Shootist" (1976), and many others. On a personal note, Siegel directed two episodes of "The Twilight Zone: "The Self-Improvement of Salvadore Ross" and "Uncle Simon" - I love the fact that, with a little time and effort, Hollywood is closing in on itself, and I'm starting to recognize heretofore obscure names and other things: I guess that, like with anything else in life, a little perseverance eventually pays off. By today's standards, "Dirty Harry" is easy-going violence, with much of it implied (the young boy, for example, who got half of his face blown off). For those who don't know, The Zodiac Killer, who was the inspiration for Scorpio - the antagonist in Dirty Harry - was very much of a real person, although the movie itself is entirely fictional. If this is one of those movies you've always intended to watch, but have never gotten around to doing so, I decided to watch it on a whim last night, finishing it today, and I'm glad I did - it was $3.99 (HD on Amazon Prime) and 102 minutes, both well-spent. *** SPOILERS FOLLOW *** When they hauled the teenage girl out of the hole, I was wondering how on earth there was 40 minutes left in the movie; the decision to let Scorpio go seems implausible, so at that moment, the movie lost credibility with me (could they not have done a handwriting comparison with the first note that Scorpio wrote? Oops!) However, it's interesting how closely that scene is related to the Ticking Time Bomb Scenario and Alan "The Needle" Dershowitz as pertaining to this one particular issue. In this regard alone, Dirty Harry is an important film that's ahead of its time, although I have no idea whether it was the first movie to directly address this scenario (I'm sure there were variations on this theme that occurred before 1971). Miranda v. Arizona was tried five years before, in 1966, and was surely an inspiration for this. The school bus scene was extremely powerful. I can't imagine what the driver must have been feeling, driving along while the children are singing "Old MacDonald Had a Farm" - the contrast was painful to watch. But flying away with the kids as hostages? Come on, that's ridiculous. Still, this whole sequence was brutal - however, when Callahan jumps on the bus, the movie turns into something resembling "Raiders of the Lost Ark" (1981). (*) Oh, by the way, there may have been a third purpose as well.
I watched "Hardcore" again for the first time since I was a freshman in college! I remember liking it a lot then, and I liked it a lot now - it's a very good, unheralded film that is - I *think* - the first major motion picture to tackle the hardcore pornography industry. This goes straight at the grimy underbelly of the 1970s California pornography underworld, and leaves you feeling like you desperately need a shower. While falling short of "outstanding" (the ending is just too much, in too short of a time, to really wrap things up in a thoughtful way), it is nevertheless worth watching and - without looking - I would be surprised if Scott wasn't nominated for a Best Actor Academy Award (then again, he's the only person ever to refuse his award (for "Patton"), so I doubt he endeared himself to the Academy. The real beauty of this film lies in the trust between Scott (a stern, Calvinist) and Hubley (a wayward prostitute) - their lives intertwine, and something of a meaningful relationship develops; the real tragedy in this film lies in what "must" happen to Hubley in the end. (No, I did not just give anything away.) If you've never heard of this film, and are wondering what to watch one night, it's worth a rental. Roger Ebert's review (which does contain spoilers).