Clint Eastwood – And One Incredible Year For Film!
Clint Eastwood has, over his career, had many incredible films – beginning with his “man with no name” character from early iconic westerns like this:
Eastwood has become an accomplished Director as well, with classic films like his Oscar-winning Best Picture winner “Million Dollar Baby”:
In 1971, Eastwood’s acting career slammed full on into his directing debut, and along with his close friend Director Don Siegel, he made three films that are, as a triple bill, a film lovers dream come true.
One was a smash hit, one was a cult classic, and one was a roadmap for “Fatal Attraction” to follow years later…let’s begin with the box office smash, and one of the greatest action films ever made:
Eastwood teamed up with Director Siegel on this gritty action classic. San Francisco faces the terror of a maniac known as Scorpio – who kills innocent people and demands the city pay him a ransom to stop him from killing again.
Here is the gritty trailer:
Against this straightforward plot, Director Siegel and Eastwood paint a picture of the times: 1971 was a polarizing time of police brutality and anti-war protests. The film takes a strong view that police brutality is warranted because the “system” favors criminals over victims. It was, and still is, a polarizing argument played out in the film….no more so than in the early iconic scene when Callahan taunts a bleeding criminal…after having his hot dog lunch interrupted…
DO YOU FEEL LUCKY, PUNK?
It’s one of the most iconic scenes in movie history – when Harry disrupts a bank robbery and shoots one of the bad guys, leading to this legendary dialogue:
That scene is one of the most well known of all time, and establishes Harry’s personality and anti-establishment attitude…that said, the film is also very funny early on, when Dirty Harry explains to the Mayor why he shot a man who was going to rape a woman. The Mayor wanted to know how Harry could have known that.
Harry: “Well, when an adult male is chasing a female with intent to commit rape, I shoot the bastard. That’s my policy.”
The Mayor: “Intent? How did you establish that?”
Harry: “When a naked man is chasing a woman through an alley with a butcher’s knife and a hard-on, I figure he isn’t out collecting for the Red Cross!”
Harry then dramatically walks out of the room…there’s a pause, then they cut to the Mayor, who says:
“He’s got a point.”
Another great scene has Harry using a fire department ladder to be taken up five stories and rescue a suicide jumper.
According to terrific trivia on IMDB, Clint Eastwood directed the scene. However, it was said he directed the scene because Director Don Siegel was ill. This is inaccurate. Siegel was indeed ill, and wasn’t on the set, but Eastwood had always been scheduled to direct that scene, due to the difficult logistics of getting the actors, director, camera-man and sound-man all together on the top of a small ledge. In the shooting schedule, 6 nights had been set aside for the shooting of the scene. Eastwood told the studio he could shoot it in two nights. In the end, he shot the entire scene in one night!
Here is that terrific scene:
“Dirty Harry” is a brilliant movie, a great action thriller with iconic dialogue and a compelling social argument underway throughout the film…oh, and Siegel and Eastwood used the film to promote Eastwood’s directorial debut as well…check out what’s the marquee as Dirty Harry is walking the streets of San Francisco:
1971 would be a year that Director Siegel and Eastwood would never duplicate – they worked together THREE times, including Eastwood’s terrific directorial debut:
“Play Misty For Me!”
Clint starred in this classic thriller, and also made his directorial debut…check out the trailer:
Eastwood plays a Jazz DJ, who makes a BIG mistake when he picks up on of his fans – at a bar that is tended by Director Don Siegel!
Siegel is clearly having a blast in this scene, but for Jessica Walter, her fascination with Eastwood turns deadly in a hurry…
Watch this 1971 thriller, and you will notice that “Fatal Attraction” uses many of the same ideas…Clint’s directorial debut is a lean and clean thriller…and yes, it was just the second film of 1971 for him, because he and Siegel still had one more cult classic to come:
This is an unknown cult classic – with Eastwood playing a wounded Civil War soldier who seeks refuge in a girl’s convent…
Of course, they do a lot more than just “dress his wounds”, and the film – directed by Don Siegel of course – becomes a gothic horror film…
This is a cult classic, and if you want to see more about the film, you can read it here:
So 1971 was an amazing year for these two guys: Cline Eastwood and Don Siegel – bravo!
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