Customer Review

72 of 81 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Urban Cleanser, October 6, 2003
This review is from: Dirty Harry (DVD)
This is the first of five "Dirty Harry" films in which Eastwood stars as a San Francisco police detective. By the time the last appeared (The Dead Pool, in 1988), Eastwood had aged and times had changed but Callahan's values and methods remained essentially the same. When initially released, Dirty Harry was immediately controversial as was Death Wish (1974). Audiences tended to be divided between those who were offended by what they considered to be excessive violence and those who (like Harry Callahan and Paul Kersey) had lost confidence in society's willingness and/or ability to respond effectively to violent crime. After seeing each of the two films for the first time, I vividly recall joining those around me in the theatre as they rose and cheered...and continue to applaud for several minutes. I asked myself, "What's going on here? What's this all about?"
At least in the larger U.S. cities 30 years ago, residents had become totally fed up with traditional law enforcement initiatives. It was no longer safe to walk the streets at night. Even more dangerous to do so in public parks. Homes were robbed while people worked during the day. Many of the same homes were robbed again later after insurance coverage replaced the articles previously stolen. Racial animosities, drug abuse, and a widespread contempt for institutional authority all contributed to such problems.
Under Don Siegel's crisp direction, Eastwood and his associates in the cast bring R.M. Fink's screenplay to life (and yes, to death) as they focus on what is obviously an irreconcilable conflict between Callahan and his superiors who include the mayor of San Francisco. Callahan's motto seems to be "Whatever it takes." In some situations, it may take his 44 Magnum, "the most powerful handgun in the world." Callahan has not totally lost faith in his society nor in the importance of the legal system. However, he does feel betrayed. The mayor and even Lieutenant Bressler (Harry Guardino) just don't "get it." This is precisely the same point Jim Malone (Sean Connery) makes to Eliot Ness (Kevin Costner) in The Untouchables 26 years later: When orthodox ("by the book") crime-fighting strategies and tactics don't succeed, use others even if they are not (at least technically) legal. Countless other films (such as Magnum Force, The French Connection, and L.A. Confidential) also make the same point.
It is important to remember when seeing this film again, as I did recently, that it portrays elements of an urban society few of us ever experience. Also, that it is a drama, not a documentary. Its primary purpose is to tell a story. The plot focuses on a serial killer named "Scorpio" (Andy Robinson) whom Callahan is determined to eliminate. Even when he eventually does so, questions remain. Don't criminals also have rights? What would happen if all or most other detectives followed Callahan's example? To what extent (if any) should private citizens also be actively involved in law enforcement? I agree with several critics who claim that, with Dirty Harry, Siegel and Eastwood created a new film genre. Its influence proved to be substantial. Each viewer must decide for herself or himself how much social relevance it has retained after 32 years but almost everyone would agree that it has lost little of its entertainment value.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
 

Comments


Sort: Oldest first | Newest first
Showing 1-7 of 7 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 15, 2007 7:55:34 AM PDT
enommaz says:
The title of your review (The Urban Cleanser) is fantastic! Your review also.

Posted on Sep 22, 2010 8:07:26 AM PDT
Reminds me of the comment that a conservative is a liberal who has been mugged.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 22, 2010 8:13:27 AM PDT
I have also heard that a liberal is a radical with a wife and two children.

On the subject of muggings, governments as well as individuals seem to be very good at it.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 22, 2010 8:15:02 AM PDT
I have also heard that a liberal is a radical with a wife and two children.

Re mugging, governments as well as individuals seem to be very good at it.

Posted on Jun 25, 2011 9:06:36 AM PDT
Edward Green says:
I have also heard that a liberal was a conservitive who lost half his 401k to wall street capitalists over reachers and scam artists

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 25, 2011 9:15:17 AM PDT
In a perfect world, everyone would conserve whatever needs to be sustained and liberate whatever should not be contained. Alas....

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 26, 2013 6:18:44 AM PST
<<I have also heard that a liberal was a conservitive who lost half his 401k to wall street capitalists over reachers and scam artists >>

If you're dumb and/or greedy enough to fall for the scams, then you get what you deserve...
‹ Previous 1 Next ›

Review Details

Item

4.7 out of 5 stars (274 customer reviews)
5 star:
 (211)
4 star:
 (45)
3 star:
 (9)
2 star:
 (5)
1 star:
 (4)
 
 
 
$19.97 $4.99
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Reviewer

Robert Morris
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   

Location: Dallas, Texas

Top Reviewer Ranking: 126