Title: Dirty Harry (1971)
Stars: Clint Eastwood, Andrew Robinson, John Vernon & Harry Guardino
The story follows a San Franciscan Inspector (Detective) called Dirty Harry (Eastwood), who is tasked with stopping a sadistic serial killer known as ‘Scorpio’ (Robinson). Scorpio has killed several people and leaves notes at the murder scenes. After agreeing to meet Scorpio and pay a ransom, Harry is ambushed and badly beaten, but he manages to stab Scorpio in the leg before her can kill him. Having tracked him down to Kezar Stadium, Harry extracts a confession while standing on Scorpio’s injured leg. Unfortunately, the District Attorney is unimpressed by the way in which the confession was obtained, stating that Harry used illegal techniques and ‘police torture’. After Scorpio is released without charge, Harry tails him relentlessly in order to stop him from perpetrating any more crimes.
The titular role of Dirty Harry propelled Clint Eastwood into the Hollywood A-List. Forty-one years old at the time, he was already well known for his roles in The Dollars Trilogy (1964-66), Where Eagles Dare (1968) and Kelly’s Heroes (1970). The lead role was turned down by many high-profile actors including an aged Frank Sinatra, who due to a previous hand injury found the 44. Magnum to be too heavy. Clint has some very humorous lines throughout and delivers them with trademark cool and grit.
Andrew Robinson was fantastic as the sleazy and easily detestable, Scorpio. Obviously based on the very real Zodiac killer of the late 1960s/early 1970s, Robinson really nailed the role. His snivelling and whining opposite Clint in the Kezar Stadium ‘torture’ scene is wonderful.
Dirty Harry is chock full of classic, memorable scenes including ‘Hot Mary and her boyfriend’, the Mayor’s office, and the classic ending. Of course none is more famous than the one where he delivers his speech about his 44. Magnum. Featuring one of the most misquoted lines of all time, people always remember him as saying “Do you feel lucky, punk?” Where in fact he actually says “You’ve got to ask yourself one question: ‘Do I feel lucky?’ Well, do ya, punk?”
Featuring Clint’s most enduring role, a cracking script and outstanding direction by Don Siegel, Dirty Harry is a truly iconic film of the 1970s.