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Organized Film Discussions => Previous Film Discussions => Topic started by: Matt on December 28, 2003, 12:36:39 AM

Title: MAGNUM FORCE: The Story 1: The Plot
Post by: Matt on December 28, 2003, 12:36:39 AM
The symbol of justice is the scale, and yet the scale is never balanced; it falls to the left, and then it swings too far back to the right. That's the whole basis of Magnum Force, the sequel to Dirty Harry. These guys on the police force form their own elite, a tough inner group to combat what they see as opposition to law and order. It's remotely based on a true case, that Brazilian police death squad. It's frightening.
(Clint Eastwood in an interview with Arthur Knight, Playboy, vol. 21, no. 2, February 24, 1974, p. 68. Quoted in Clint Eastwood/Malpaso, by Fuensanta Plaza, 1991, p. 60)

When Eastwood received a call from screenwriter John Milius with the basic idea of Magnum Force, he immediately recognized that the film would help clear up the misconception that Harry Callahan was a fascist. Eager to do the film, he had Milius start working on the script. Before it was finished, however, Milius was given an opportunity to direct a script he had written, and asked Eastwood to find someone else to finish writing the Magnum Force script. Eastwood turned to Michael Cimino, who had just impressed him with the script he wrote for Thunderbolt and Lightfoot. Cimino was hired and finished the script.

What do you think of the plot for this film? Given that it's "remotely based" on actual events that happened in Brazil, does it seem believable that something such as this could happen in the United States? If so, would it have been more likely to happen in 1973 or now, thirty years later?
Title: Re:MAGNUM FORCE: The Story 1: The Plot
Post by: Agent on January 13, 2004, 10:17:50 AM
Anything's possible, and I wouldn't discount the fact that that may be a reality someday in the US, but hopefully not in our lifetime.

The Brazil scenario is indeed frightening, and the death squads over there are still alive and well today, murdering mainly poor civilians and children (maybe some of you remember a few years ago when it was reported in the news that they gunned down a bunch of sleeping street kids). Unfortunately this isn't uncommon in Latin America. As far as criminals, usually only petty thieves are the targets. Not many big-time criminals are affected - unlike the scenario in Magnum Force, where it's the mob bosses, pimps, drug kingpins, etc, etc. The pimp is pretty small-time compared to the rest, but in MF he does despicable acts that make you lose most, if any, sympathy for him when he is eventually brought to "justice."

It's hard to say if this seemed like more of a possibility  for the US in 1973 than now. I think it was easier to swallow back then, being we had recent events like Kent State, and the assassinations and riots still fresh from the 60s.

Perhaps Magnum Force was used more as a vehicle to clear up (or clean up) Dirty Harry's image, rather than just as mere entertainment with an interesting story/plot.

Title: Re:MAGNUM FORCE: The Story 1: The Plot
Post by: Matt on June 27, 2004, 06:09:32 AM
This topic is now closed, please post any additional thoughts in the Dirty Harry forum.
Title: Re: MAGNUM FORCE: The Story 1: The Plot
Post by: The Schofield Kid on July 24, 2011, 08:58:29 PM
This topic has been temporarily unlocked.  Feel free to post any additional thoughts or discussion here.