DIRTY HARRY (1971) 4- Stars
A very well made genre film that holds up very well and remains
a pretty violent and gritty film. Directed by Don Siegel and featuring one of Eastwoods finest and most charismatic performances, this is the one that set into stone one of the most enduring formulas for action films. A formula still in use today.
Magnum Force (1973) 3 1/2 stars
the first Harry sequel is a film for action movie and or Eastwood junkies to appreciate. It softens Dirty Harry's character however and actually makes more political type statements than Dirty Harry does. It's not a great genre film but it mostly holds up pretty well and is entertaining.
THE ENFORCER (1976) 2 1/2 stars
The Enforcer really changed Harry Callahan's character. On one hand he's a bad-(...) 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. 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) 3 1/2 stars
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. This is the only Dirty Harry that Eastwood directed.
DEAD POOL (1988) 2 stars
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.
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 .
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 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.
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.
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."
Christopher Jarmick, is the author of The Glass Cocoon with Serena F. Holder (...).