March 15, 2011

Cred Confessions: Dirty Harry

Is there anyone on earth cooler than Clint Eastwood? After watching "Dirty Harry" for the first time yesterday, I seriously doubt that anyone can hang with this dude, and I when I say anyone, I mean anybody in the past, present, or future. Often times the film is remembered for Eastwood's legendary performance, but I found the film appealing for other reasons as well. Think of it this way, if "Dirty Harry" was a loaded .44 magnum, half of those 6 rounds would be full of Eastwood, the others, they would be full of the other geniuses involved with the film.

Who are these geniuses? Let's start with the script, initially written by Harry Julian & Rita M Fink, and revised by John Milius and Terrence Malick, the story succeeds by keeping things simple. There's a good guy and a bad guy. The good guy is extremely good, casually saving the day on his lunch break, stopping dude's from jumping off buildings, and dominating perps, you know the drill. The bad guy is well, just really evil. He kills civilians, punches kids, and gets his face pounded for fun/cunning motives. You know there's gotta be a showdown and man, that showdown is badass!

Besides Eastwood I was struck by how "cool" the film is. The score from Argentinian Lalo Schifirin is full of 70's funk, jazz, and Latin music and enhances the mood of the film. Director Don Siegel and cinematographer Bruce Surtees take some serious risks with the film, including some really interesting shots that position the hero as tiny in the scope of the San Francisco landscape. These two elements combined give the film a certain artistic vibe that I wasn't expecting. I mean, let's be honest here, I was expecting Eastwood kicking ass and I got it, I just didn't see the groovy stuff coming brah.

Earlier in that last paragraph I talked about how risky the film was. This is a film that came out forty years ago and still feels bold. It made me wonder if Hollywood has lost some of it's risk taking mentality. If "Dirty Harry" came out today it probably would be ultra-violent and star Jason Statham. It probably would have a lot of metal on the soundtrack and would open to 15 million dollars. Hopefully one day, we'll take more risks and see more movies like "Dirty Harry" today. Now, who's feeling lucky and wants to step up?

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