Set in San Francisco in 1971 Dirty Harry is the gritty and suspenseful film that follows the story of Inspector Harry Callahan (Clint Eastwood) who earns the moniker “Dirty Harry” for his reputation of handling the dirtiest homicidal cases. The City by the Bay faces the terror of a serial killer known as Scorpio (Andrew Robinson) who viciously snipes at innocent victims and demands ransom through notes left at the scene of the crime. Callahan is assigned to the case along with his newest partner Inspector Chico Gonzalez (Reni Santoni) to track down Scorpio and stop him. Using humiliation along with cat and mouse type games against Callahan Scorpio is put to the test by the cop with the very dirty attitude.
In case you didn’t know, Dirty Harry is the testosterone-laden father of the ever-popular modern crime drama/cop movies like the Lethal Weapon and Die Hard series. Meet Harry Callaghan, an embittered cop sick of the rigidity of our legal system which hinders the good guys from being able to get the bad guys off the streets. So he does what at the time was unthinkable: he takes the law into his own hands to pursue and take down serial killer Scorpio (Andrew Robinson). Robinson is pure evil in this film, a character that influences the creation of later villains like Hannibal Lector some twenty years later.
This flick is truly a piece of cinematic as well as pop culture history. But what makes this version so interesting is the Special Features. This includes a new commentary by film critic Richard Schickel, an original trailer as well as the sequels’ trailers, three documentaries on the myth and legend of the film and its iconic hero including “The Long Shadow of Dirty Harry” and “Dirty Harry: The Original”, and eleven featurettes which include comments from some of the cast. All of this gives a great overview of the importance of what now seems like a stock character though he was a shocking departure from expectation at the time. This all equals hours of extras that will appease even the most ardent Dirty Harry fans.
My verdict? If you love crime dramas, this is a must own. And if you’re a huge Dirty Harry fan, be sure to check out the Ultimate Collectors Edition including all five of the Dirty Harry films – all special features on the Dirty Harry Special Edition and Deluxe Editions, plus additional special features and contents specific to the Ultimate Collector’s Edition.
Review by Marie Holzer