ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Clint Eastwood as Harry Callahan

Updated on January 10, 2018
Kenna McHugh profile image

I've written, contributed to several books on film, and worked in the film industry. I like to share the insights of the movie business.

With the .44 Magnum in view, Callahan states his most memorable, tough cop line (repeated again almost verbatim at the film’s end) when he baits the criminal to gamble on luck with his streetwise version of Russian Roulette.

Source

Tough Cop

With crime escalating and the economy on a hellish roller coaster-dive, it is a perfect time to view 1970s tough, cop action thriller known as Dirty Harry. The script was written by married team Harry Julian Fink and Rita M. Fink (based on her unpublished story), Dean Riesner and John Milius (unaccredited) is a lesson on a tight, fast tempo story. The story is driven by a .44 Magnum worth of sharp dialogue that launched a legend in movies.

Direction and Editing Sets the Pace

Don Siegel’s stylish almost surreal at times direction and editing set the pace for Clint Eastwood in an incredible performance as Harry Callahan, a middle-aged, individualist, unconventional cop who throws away the rule book but gets the short end of the stick. The screenwriters give Callahan some of the most memorable lines and smart comments ever in the history of film, thus establishing the territory on how far a script goes to created the anti-hero of all jerks while keeping the audience on his side.

The story is based on the unsolved Zodiac murder case happening in San Francisco that is eerily contemporary today. The opening scene of a public tribute to San Francisco policemen killed in the line of duty fades to a muzzle-barrel end of a high-powered rifle of a serial sniper, a baby-faced, hippie killer, on a rooftop with a telescopic lens aimed at a young woman in a yellow, one-piece swimsuit. She swims laps, he pulls the trigger, bullet hits her and she sinks below the surface as the water turns red.

Harry Callahan

Enter Harry Callahan investigating the crime scene by himself, the lone wolf. He finds the used shell of the shot and a ransom note pinned to a TV antenna. The first of the few words he says throughout the film is a direct response “Jesus.”

The handwritten note from the deranged sniper calling himself Scorpio that says he will enjoy killing one person every day until his is paid one hundred thousand dollars. It will be his pleasure to kill a Catholic priest or a nigger. Can’t help but remind us of the recent sniper killings in the D.C area.

Favorite Dirty Harry Quote

Which is your favorite Dirty Harry quote?

See results
Source

Great Dialogue

Spiteful and rude Callahan is called to the Mayor’s office. After the Mayor inquires what he has done about the Scorpio case so far, Callahan complains waiting, “Oh well, for the past three-quarters of an hour, I’ve been sitting on my ass in your outer office, waiting for you.”

Unforgettable Cop Scene

Up next is probably one of the most unforgettable cop scenes in film history that quite often gets mistaken for the film’s opening scene. On a San Francisco street, Callahan drives up in his navy blue sedan and parks illegally at the red curb in front of an adult bookstore, strides over to a local Burger Den restaurant to order his usual, a jumbo hot dog. The lacking excitement he casually asks the cook about a tan Ford across the street in front of the bank. He suspects a bank robbery and asks the cook to phone the police department and report a two-eleven in progress. Callahan says, “Now, just wait until the cavalry arrives,” he hears the bank's alarm system and a gunshot, after one bite of his hot dog and says, “Oh, Sh-t!”

Source

Cool and Collected Strides

Callahan cool and collected strides outside pulling out his monstrous, long barreled, heavyweight Smith and Wesson .44 Magnum. He single-handedly stops the heist by shooting the fleeing bank robbers. Still chewing his hot dog he fires his sixth shot at the last fleeing robber. He looks down at his pant leg that indicates blood seeped through from a leg wound. He walks over to the entrance of the bank and threatens the wounded robber who is reaching for his shotgun on the sidewalk. With the .44 Magnum in view, Callahan states his most memorable, tough cop line (repeated again almost verbatim at the film’s end) when he baits the criminal to gamble on luck with his streetwise version of Russian Roulette.

The dialogue contributes to the fast pace movie while the audience clearly sees Callahan as a tough, unscrupulous cop. In the film review for the New York Times critic Roger Greenspun describe Callahan, “Dirty” is Harry’s given epithet, and he carries it proudly enough. But he is really a knight in shining armor whose dirtiness is mostly rubbed on from the scummy world he keeps trying to wipe clean.”

Do I feel lucky?

© 2014 Kenna McHugh

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)