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Today's Date is:

DIRTY HARRY COLLECTION

Dirty Harry (D.H.), Magnum Force (M.F.), The Enforcer (E), Sudden Impact (S.I.) and Dead Pool (D.P.)


Reviewed by: Christopher J. Jarmick
Genre: Action Thrillers
Video: Anamorphic 2.35:1 Widescreen (Except Dead Pool 1.85:1)
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, French (DD Mono)
Language: English, French
Subtitle: English (Captions Only), English, French, Spanish (Magnum Force, Enforcer and Dead Pool also have Portugese, Japanese, Chinese, Thai and Korean subtitles)
Length: D.H. (102 Minutes) M F (124 minutes), E (96 minutes), S I (117 minutes) D P (91 minutes)
Rating: R
Release Date: 11/20/01
Studio: Warner Bros
Commentary: None.
Documentaries: 29 minute short documentary Dirty Harry: The Original on DIRTY HARRY (SEE separate Dirty Harry review for details)
Featurettes: Various short behind the scenes featurettes are part of the Dirty Harry, Magnum Force and The Enforcer DVD. No featurettes for Sudden Impact or Dead Pool.
Filmography/Biography: Very limited on each DVD.
Interviews: Interview Gallery featuring sound bites from several Dirty Harry film actors, writers and guests like Arnold Schwarzenegger is featured on the DIRTY HARRY dvd. The other DVD's do not Feature this.
Trailers/TV Spots: Original Theatrical Trailer is included for each film on each of their DVDs.
Alternate/Deleted Scenes: None
Music Video: None
Other: A few Production Notes, and Memorable lines screen (a couple quotes for each film) are on each of the DVD's
Cast and Crew: DH: Clint Eastwood, Harry Guardino, Reni Santoni, John Vernon, Andrew Robinson John Larch, John Mitchum, Mae Mercer MF: C.E. , Hal Holbrook, David Soul, Robert Uhrich, Tim Matheson and John Mitchum E: C.E. Tyne Daly, Bradford Dillman, Harry Guardino John Mitchum, Nick Pellegrino SI : C.E. Sondra Locke, Bradford Dillman, Pat Hingle DP: C.E . Patricia Clarkson, Liam Neeson, Evan C. Kim, David Hunt, Michael Currie, Michael Goodwin, and Jim (James) Carrey
Screenplay by: DH: Story by Harry Julian Fink and Rita M. Fink (as R.M. Fink). Screenplay by H.J. Fink, R.M. Fink and Dean Riesner. MF: John Milius and Michael Cimino E: story by: Gail Morgan Hickman & S.W. Schurr Screenplay by: Stirling Silliphant andDean Riesner SI: Joseph Stinson from a story by Charles B. Pierce & Earl E. Smith DP: Steve Sharon based on a story by Durk Pearson, Sandy Shaw and Steve Sharon using characters created by Harry Julian Fink and R.M. Fink.
Produced by: DH: Don Siegel and Robert Daley MF: Robert Daley E: Robert Daley SI: Clint Eastwood and Fritz Manes DP: David Valdes
Directed By: DH: Don Siegel MF: Ted Post E: James Fargo SI: Clint Eastwood DP: Buddy Van Horn
Music: DH: Lalo Schifrin MF: L.S. E: Jerry Fielding SI: Lalo S. DP: Lalo S.
The Review:

DIRTY HARRY (1971) (see also separate Dirty Harry review) =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-==-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Dirty Harry made in 1971 is the best of the series and is actually less dated and holds up better than most of the entries of this series. I extensively review Dirty Harry under its very own Heading here at DVDivas.net. Dirty Harry set into stone one of the most enduring of the Action film formulas. It is still in use today. Some of it's set pieces have been copied numerous times. The lone-wolf rogue cop who must get around an inefficient system to get the job done is what the formula boils down to. It's an update of the typical mythic Western hero but has transplanted and updated into an urban setting. The original Dirty Harry was a gritty, extremely violent (for its time) and exciting audience pleasing adult fantasy. It's not a particularly realistic or entirely logical film… but that won't stop you from enjoying the films violent, visceral thrills and one of Eastwood's most enduring and charismatic performances. The Lalo Schifrin score is top notch as is veteran director and Eastwood mentor Don Siegel's contributions. Memorable lines, characters and set pieces --a well made film.

* * * MAGNUM FORCE (1973) =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

=-=- Magnum Force (1973) the sequel is a film, action movie/ Eastwood junkies will appreciate a great deal. It softens Dirty Harry's character however and actually makes more political type statements regarding how criminals often have more rights in the legal system than crime victims do --than the original Dirty Harry ever did. It makes sure the audience understands that Dirty Harry Callahan is a rogue lone wolf cop who breaks rules but he is not a vigilante who takes the law completely into his own hands. He's a hero and his flaws say the movie are completely acceptable. * * * * * * * In Magnum Force, Harry is back on the force and fighting with a new superior who he makes very nervous. Harry discovers that a team of police officers have turned into a small hit squad and they are knocking off pimps, drug dealers and assorted criminals whenever possible. They figure Harry would approve of what they are doing and even join them. When Harry has a problem with what they are doing… they have a problem with Harry. Get the picture? There's a lot more dialogue concerning weapons and the former most powerful handgun in the world the 44 magnum. The script is partially written by John Millius and Michael Cimino and you can tell. Ted Post directed and he doesn't bring the style or skill that Siegel brought to the first one, but he keeps things moving at a brisk efficient pace. Hal Holbrook was excited to be part of the film because he knew lots of people would go see it. David Soul and Robert Uhrick also make early career appearances here. It's not a great genre film but it mostly holds up pretty well and is entertaining. Look fast for Suzanne Somers during the pool party scene. * * * * =

-=-=-=-=-=-=-= THE ENFORCER (1976) =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

The Enforcer really changed Harry Callahan's character. On one hand he's a bad-ass quick with the quips kind of a guy… but he's really quite a softie. The film turns Harry into a kind of fish out of water dinosaur. When it was made, that variation on the Action film hero wasn't as cliché'd as it is now, but it still feels forced and insincere. Harry's values and methods don't fit into the new more modern police force that has little use for lone-wolf violent prone cops who aren't good at being part of the team. So Harry gets into trouble and then re-assigned to teaching some police recruits what it takes to be a good cop. He works with several woman recruits and of course doesn't believe they are as capable on the streets as male cops are. Guess what happens? Yep, Harry eventually finds himself assigned to another case and re-activated into duty to stop a militant group similar to the bomb happy Weathermen from using their cache of explosives in San Francisco. His new partner is a lady cop. It's a young Tyne Daly (from tv's Cagney and Lacey) The humor is obvious, the women's lib jokes hopelessly date the film. There's long stretches in the film where the non-existent chemistry of the stars is supposed to carry several scenes (and doesn't). It's hard to believe watching this film today that it played very well at all… but in 1976 it did not seem nearly as desperate or dated as it does now. This is one of the weakest Dirty Harry films in the series. Eastwood's performance as Harry is less sharp then in the first two films. It's watch-able but don't have high expectations for this one. Lalo Schiffrin didn't do the score for this one unfortunately and he's missed. This is also John (one year younger brother of Robert) Mitchum's last Harry film (he played Detective 'Fatso' DiGeorgio in the first three Harry's). * * * *

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- SUDDEN IMPACT (1983) =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

- Eastwood directed this Dirty Harry sequel and gave his long-time companion Sondra Locke an important role. There's two separate stories in this one that eventually come together for both Harry and the audience. The film is grittier, and move violent than The Enforcer and at times is dark enough that you almost forget this is action film sequel. It starts off as pretty formula stuff, but when one of the stories involves two young women being viciously gang-raped and an almost psychopathic woman vigilante on the loose--it's a little darker, more original and edgier than previous Harry films. Eastwood's a little older and there's a little less bounce in his line delivery so he seems more cynical than we have previously seen him. He's on the trail of some Mobsters who killed a prostitute and winds up in San Paulo, California (where most of the film takes place). When an important Mafia don dies while being interrogated by Harry (heart attack), well Harry's got a price on his head and lots of people gunning for him. The line Go Ahead and Make My Day became famous because of this film and our former President borrowed it from Harry not visa versa. Eastwood as a director brings a bit more style to the series than the previous two entries, but he can't hide the fact the film is a sequel and we know too early what it going to happen. This is probably the best Harry sequel, and though it doesn't quite offer as much visceral fun as the other Harry's it's one to catch if you're an Eastwood/Harry fan. Look fast for Michael V. Gazzo and that's Camryn Manheim in that elevator with Eastwood. * * *

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- DEAD POOL (1988) =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Dead Pool undoubtedly looked great on paper for several reasons. Unfortunately it plays out like A very desperate, tired film with ideas that are more silly than clever. Sure on paper having a big set piece revolve around a little radio control car that is then part of a clever remake of the famous Bullitt car chase (using many of the same locations) seems like a sure thing. It's not though. You have to be in on the joke to even get it, and it's a funny idea that in execution winds up being unbelievable and quite silly. Reducing Harry to doing what amounts to ridiculous slapstick is not what I wanted to see Eastwood do with Dirty Harry. The plot has to do with people betting on who will be the next celebrity type person to die. It involves an arrogant young director played by a then unknown Liam Neeson. Harry is now an older, softer caricature of the guy he once was. Having him flirt with the opposite sex more and get involved in some fisticuffs seems particularly desperate… like they didn't want to come up with something too original or innovative. There's a sidekick who.. well knows martial arts and sidekicks. Impressed? I wasn't either. The film tries to make Harry more 80's friendly but instead delivers a film that tries so hard to please and entertain it forgets what made Harry so appealing in the first place. Harry's a bad-ass lone wolf that doesn't brown nose anyone. Yet here he seems to be brown nosing the audience to like him. Eastwood has enough charisma and things move fast enough that the film isn't too difficult to watch. It's still a mis-fire of a film though that I doubt even the most die-hard Harry and Eastwood fans will need to see more than once. Getting story credits are none other than Durk Peason and Sandy Shaw famous for the 'Life Extension" best seller. Jim Carrey has a small supporting role as Johnny Squares. Guns 'n Roses are featured on the soundtrack and show up very briefly as funeral service musicians!!! * * * * * * *

Image and Sound

Nearly all of the films in the Dirty Harry Collection of DVD's are presented in Anamorphic 2.35:1 widescreen The exception would be The Dead Pool (1.85:1). The original Dirty Harry is not a re-release of the original DVD from a couple of years ago. This time out a sterling print was found and restored and digitally transferred. The original Dirty Harry has never looked better. * * * * * * *

Most of these 5 Dirty Harry films are presented at their best with colors vibrant, black levels strong and few technical problems present. Sudden Impact's quality is slightly less and there's a couple of moments where print damage glitches are very noticeable. Minor stuff over-all thankfully. The Enforcer and Dead Pool are the two films that are not Dual Layered, but in the case of The Enforcer that doesn't seem to affect the quality at all. Dead Pool's presentation is a few links down the chain from the others. It's the newest film but has the most flaws visible. It's a little less crisp and sharp than even the original Dirty Harry and has more print damage visible than the others. * * * * * *

All of the films have been given a complete audio over-haul and the engineers have done a superb job on all the films. The older films in particular have been improved a great deal with a very well done sound re-design. I suspect some re-recording of some foley type effects took place because some of the sound effects sound utterly free from distortion which you would expect to crop up in loud sound effects from 30 years ago. All of the films have a Dolby 5.1. track that has been masterfully presented. Dialogue is easy to hear, and the sound effects And music effectively use the surround capabilities of all the speakers without over-doing it .

The Extras

Dirty Harry has by far the most extras of any DVD in this series. I have reviewed Dirty Harry Separately but a heres a quick run-down of its extras: * * * *

This new Dirty Harry release boasts several features including the all new 30th anniversary Documentary Dirty Harry:The Original. A 29 minute puff piece celebration of all things Harry Callahan that Dirty Harry fans will enjoy. Not a hint of controversy is mentioned and not a discourage word is uttered. Those interviewed recently for the documentary include: Clint Eastwood, Andy Robinson,John Milius, Evan Kim, Hal Holbrook, Patty Clarkson and Harry fan: Arnold Schwarzenegger. Robert Urich (who was in Magnum Force - Dirty Harry 2) hosts the puff piece as he visits the sites of several of the films' original locations. Lots of clips from the Harry films are included. You also get a separate Interview Gallery which shows slightly longer and sometimes different interview sound bites of all of the above participants. * * * *

The original promo piece from 1971 is under 7 minutes, called Dirty Harry's Way and is fun to watch containing a few Behind the scenes shots and glimpses of Siegel and company at work making the movie.* * * * *

Magnum Force and The Enforcer get a few extras each. * * * *

Magnum Force gets the 8 minute featurette entitled The Hero Cop: Yesterday and Today and was made as part of the promotional campaign for film in 1973. It has some behind the scene snippets of Ted Post directing Eastwood. The original trailer is not in very good shape on this one. * * * * *

The Enforcer gets a short featurette used as publicity in 1976 that looks at the celebrity of Eastwood and of Dirty Harry. A few shots from behind the scenes are included.* * * *

Sudden Impact and Dead Pool are nearly bare bones with a couple of production notes, memorable lines, list of cast and main crew and their original theatrical trailers included on the DVD. * * * *

You would think they might have thought to have done an in-depth documentary dealing with the criticism of the films and put that on The Dead Pool disc increasing its worth substantially to Less than die-hard fans and completists. Such is not that case however. * * * *

There's nothing of any real substance to any of these extras, but if you're a fan of any of the films you'll enjoy what there is of them.

Commentary None.
Final Words:

If you're big fan of all things Dirty Harry you take the plunge and buy the boxed set of all 5 films. It will really 'make your day' but be careful or they might 'blow your head clean off." The best in the series is the original Dirty Harry and that's the disc that also has the best and most extras. I've reviewed that one separately. Magnum Force and Sudden Impact are the Dirty Harry films that come off best after the original one. The Enforcer and Dead Pool films are second rate sequels whose casts might offer some curiosity value. * * * *

 

Christopher Jarmick, is the author of The Glass Cocoon with Serena F. Holder a critically acclaimed, steamy suspense thriller. For more information visit the web site at: http://www.radiofreegallery.com/jarmicknholder.htm * * * * * Original portions of this review Copyright© Christopher J. Jarmick 2001. The above work is protected by international copyright law.


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December 5, 2001