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Dirty Harry: The Ultimate Collection(1971-1988)
This box set includes 'Dirty Harry', 'Magnum Force', 'The Enforcer', 'Sudden Impact' and 'The Dead Pool'.
For more about Dirty Harry: The Ultimate Collection and the Dirty Harry: The Ultimate Collection Blu-ray release, see Dirty Harry: The Ultimate Collection Blu-ray Review published by Sir Terrence on August 6, 2008 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Starring: Clint Eastwood, Albert Popwell, John Mitchum, Harry Guardino, Bradford Dillman, Michael Currie
Directors: Don Siegel, Ted Post, James Fargo, Clint Eastwood, Buddy Van Horn
This Blu-ray bundle includes the following titles, see individual titles for specs and details:
Dirty Harry: The Ultimate Collection Blu-ray Review
"Do ya feel lucky? Well, do ya punk?" " A man's gotta know his limitations" "Go ahead, make my day"
Reviewed by Sir Terrence, August 6, 2008
I must admit, I could not picture anyone but Clint Eastwood as Dirty Harry. He fits this role like a tailored glove snug over a hand. I was doing the research for this review, I was surprised to find that Clint was not the original choice for this part. The role was written with Frank Sinatra in mind, something I just could not imagine him doing in a thousand years. Frank Sinatra turned down the role because of a broken wrist he had ten years before prevented him from holding the handgun that was required in the film. It was also rumored that his father's death prompted him to find less demanding roles. In spite of that, the November 9th 1970 Box Office magazine touted the movie with Sinatra in the lead role. The original script was set out of New York City instead of San Francisco, and was supposed to end with a police sniper taking out Scorpio instead of Harry. One of the conditions for Eastwood accepting the role, was the change in location from New York City to San Francisco. John Wayne was also considered for the role, but was not offered the role because of his age. Marlon Brando was also considered, but nothing came of that. Antagonist Scorpio character was based on a real life serial killer, the Zodiac killer who was terrorizing the Bay Area at the time. Magnum Force garnered a lot of negative publicity for inspiring the infamous Hi Fi Murders, based on the scene with the prostitute being murdered by forcing her to drink Drano. This also the first time that Harry lost his signature 44 Magnum revolver. He had to surrender it to his boss. The Enforcer started out as "Moving Target" which was changed to "Dirty Harry III" and then to "The Enforcer". It was supposed to be the last movie within a Dirty Harry trilogy, but a poll conducted by Warner led to another installment of the series. The militant groups highlighted in the movie are based on two real life militant groups The Symbionese Liberation Army (of Patty Hearst fame) and the Black Panther Party. Sudden Impact was directed by Clint Eastwood himself, and is best known for the famous line "Go ahead, make my day". In 2005, the line was voted as the sixth most memorable line in cinema history by the American Film Institute. This movie along with Magnum Force was also considered the dirtiest most violent films of the series. This is also the second time Harry loses his gun, this time after being beat up on the boardwalk by Mick and his gang. Quite a few scenes in this film were shot in Santa Cruz, a sleepy little beach town on the California coast. Downtown Santa Cruz where a memorable chase scene occurred was later destroyed by the Loma Prieta earthquake, which occurred on October 17, 1989 at approximately 5:04pm. This film was also the highest grossing of the series raking in more than sixty seven million dollars by the end of its run. The Dead Pool is the fifth and last set of the Dirty Harry film series, and reaction to it was mixed. It was dismissed as formula driven, while Roger Ebert gave it three and a half stars out of four, stating it was as good as the first film. It is now considered as a cult classic by Dirty Harry fans. The movie was one of Jim Carrey's first film roles, and the 1980's band Guns N'Roses makes a cameo appearance at the funeral of Johnny Squares.
When I looked at the entire Dirty Harry film series, I see static but stalwart Harry with characters, set pieces and backgrounds changing, but not much else, which creates a signature formula that overall works.
Dirty Harry 1971 (102 minutes)
Director Don Siegel first introduces us to SFPD Inspector Harry Callahan in the movie Dirty Harry made in 1971. He is a cop that is not quite rogue, but doesn't actually follow the rules either. He has no time for rules that impede him from capturing criminals and street thugs, and either taking them down, or putting them behind bars. Harry main task in Dirty Harry is to track down a serial killer by the name of Scorpio, but he has to deal with robbers and criminals of whom he handles by a shoot first, ask questions later policy. Based loosely on the Zodiac killer that haunted San Francisco at the time, Scorpio is a killer that taunts the public and the police alike, killing randomly, but choosing victims that create controversy as well as fear. Harry is determined to bring Scorpio to justice, and does not mind breaking every rule in the book to do it. The problem with this approach is that criminals are usually released on technicalities, which prevents Harry from getting his satisfaction. In the end not even technicalities can prevent Harry from getting his brand of justice.
Magnum Force 1973 (124 minutes)
Dirty Harry Callahan returns two years later in Magnum Force directed by Ted post. Harry is working in surveillance where he runs into a series of killings that lead him to believe that a policeman is involved. He meets four young recruits who look up to him as a hero of sorts, and have taken up Harry's rogue behavior. They execute criminals who have escape conviction in court. While Harry has his unique way of dispensing justice, he does not take kindly to the cold blooded killings the cops are committing, and is resolved in stopping the acts any way he can.
The Enforcer 1976 (96 minutes)
Three years have passed since Dirty Harry last episode, and Harry is very unhappy with being straddled with a new partner that just happens to be female. He also continues to battle with his own irritated supervisors, frustrated by Harry's unethical way of dealing with criminals, and the cost of his antics. As usual, Harry deals with criminals in his own way, shooting them up, and taking no prisoners in the process. Harry and his partner Kate are tracking a very violent set of criminals in the form of The Peoples Revolutionary Strike Force. They kidnap the Mayor, and take him to their hideout on Alcatraz Island, where Harry has to deal them his unique brand of justice.
Sudden Impact 1983 (117 minutes)
It has now been twelve years since aging Harry beat down Scorpio, a group of rogue cops, The Peoples Revolutionary Strike Force, and now has to deal with another mysterious killer. Harry is still angering his bosses with his antics, but he almost seems tame and less angry compared to his previous movies. Harry runs across a young woman Jennifer, who was gang raped and is determine to get revenge on her attackers. Harry and Jennifer begin to have a relationship. As usual Harry kills up every crooked thing in sight, which angers his bosses to no end, and prompt them to re-assign him to get him out of the city. Harry is off to the city of San Paulo where he pisses off the local Sheriff doing the same things he did in San Francisco. When Jennifer finds herself kidnapped in San Paulo, Harry comes to her rescue, which means dead bodies everywhere.
The Dead Pool 1988 (91 minutes)
In the final film of the Dirty Harry series, Harry discovers a game called the Dead Pool, a game where people bet on when celebrities will die. The game is eventually rigged when a killer begins killing certain celebrities. Once again Harry has a new partner, thirteen thousand dollars in damages to a squad car, angry bosses, and a new addition, a female reporter and love interest who wants an exclusive story of Harry. As the murders continue, Harry finds that he and his partner are part of the game as someone in an unmarked cop attempts to kill him and his partner. Once again Harry has to take things into his own hands and end this murder spree. This usually means lots of gunshots, knives, and a harpoon in this case.
Dirty Harry: The Ultimate Collection Blu-ray, Video Quality
All five Dirty Harry movies are encoded in 1080p, and are presented in VC-1 at a measured 2:35:1 aspect ratio. The only exception to the widescreen aspect ratio is Dead Pool which is framed at a measured 1:85:1. Quite frankly all of the titles look fantastic, with Dirty Harry and Magnum Force looking terrific, but with some warts. I saw some occasional cases of dirt and speckles, the dirt was easy to spot, the speckles I had to look hard to find. Black levels are deep and solid, colors nicely saturated, and flesh tones dead on accurate. Magnum Force looks as good as Dirty Harry, but it appears it was shot with a softer focus. It is shot so soft, that it appears to have less resolution (which may not be the case) than the other titles in this series. Colors do not appear as saturated as they did for Dirty Harry, but are nevertheless quite pleasing to the eye. The Enforcer brings quality video back into the picture, and the quality remains consistant through Sudden Impact and The Dead Pool. Detail is excellent on these three, black levels solid, which gives great visual depth to the picture. Warner has done a terrific job restoring and remastering this series, and should be commended on their efforts.
Dirty Harry: The Ultimate Collection Blu-ray, Audio Quality
The audio on the Dirty Harry film series comes in several auditory flavors. Each title includes an English 5.1 TrueHD track; English Dolby Digital 5.1 at 448kbps, Japanese 1.0 at, Portuguese 1.0 Dolby Digital soundtracks at 192kbps. I chose to listen to the Dolby TrueHD and the DD 5.1 tracks. Just like the video, the sound quality improves as the series progresses. However all of the titles exhibit a front heavy soundstage with almost no surround support whatsoever. When the surrounds are engaged during chase or action scenes, they are too low to be effective. Dialog was always clear, but at times it suffers from poor integration with the visual environment. As a result dialog sounds occasionally manufactured instead of natural. Panning and localization is excellent in the frontal hemisphere, but does not extended rearward. In the first four movies, the LFE is underutilized, but that changes somewhat on The Dead Pool. All of the soundtracks lack soundfield cohesion, and that is made worse on the Dolby Digital 5.1 track, which sounds splintered and skewed towards extreme localization.
Dirty Harry: The Ultimate Collection Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
As to be expected, this collector's edition is packed with tons of extras; enough to keep you busy watching for hours. The breakdown is as follows;
Dirty Harry (234 minutes total time) Audio commentary by Richard Schickel Featurettes: "The Long Shadow of Dirty Harry," "Dirty Harry: The Original," "Dirty Harry's Way" Interview Gallery (includes interviews with Patricia Clarkson, Joel Cox, Clint Eastwood, Hal Holbrook, Evan Kim, John Milius, Ted Post, Andy Robinson, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Robert Urich) 1993 TV Special: "Clint Eastwood: The Man from Malpaso" Trailer gallery
Magnum Force (32 minutes total time) Audio commentary by writer John Milius Featurette: "A Moral Right: The Politics of Dirty Harry" "The Hero Cop: Yesterday and Today" Trailer gallery
The Enforcer (36 minutes total time) Audio commentary by director James Fargo Featurettes: "The Business End: Violence in Cinema," "Harry Callahan/Clint Eastwood: Something Special in Films" Trailer gallery
Sudden Impact (25 minutes total time) Audio commentary by renowned film critic Richard Schickel Featurette: "The Evolution of Clint Eastwood" Trailer gallery
The Dead Pool (21 minutes total time) Audio commentary by producer David Valdes and Cinematographer Jack N. Green Featurette: "The Craft of Dirty Harry" Trailer gallery
Box Set Exclusives Bonus documentary: "Clint Eastwood: Out of the Shadows" 40+ page hardcover book Wallet w/metal badge and removable laminated I.D. card Five 5"x 7" Reproduction Lobby Poster Cards plus an exclusive UCE card Scorpio Portrait of a Killer Poster-Sized (19" x 27") map of San Francisco detailing Harry's hunt for the killer Never-Before-Seen Production Correspondence
Dirty Harry: The Ultimate Collection Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
I must admit, I was never a fan of the Dirty Harry movies. I was too young when the first two came out to watch them. As I got older, I found Dirty Harry movies too violent for my taste, until now. After seeing the entire series, Dirty Harry just won a new fan. I loved all of the movies in the set, some more than others, but all were entertaining nonetheless. I was also impressed at the quality of the images I saw, which were excellent for the age of the films. Being a part time resident of the bay area, I was also surprised how much the city of San Francisco has "grown up", and how many landmarks on Market street are still there after all of these years. I highly recommend this collectors edition to any and all Dirty Harry fan's out there, and those who are not fans as well. Whew!
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