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Messages - DirtyHarrysGun

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The Dirty Harry Films / Re: The Zodiac killer....
« on: August 25, 2005, 01:21:05 PM »
Zodiac[/i] on the board? There's an interesting thought.

Kinda hope he is. (wink)

= Harry =

The Dirty Harry Films / Re: Favourite Harry movie?
« on: August 15, 2005, 05:00:20 PM »
You're right, Lucky Punk[/i]. DIRTY HARRY director Don Siegel (The Killers, Coogan's Bluff) once described his films as "journeys to nowhere in a hard-edged, plastic world," and the character of vigilante detective Harry Callahan was easily his darkest and grittiest creation. That DIRTY HARRY was also his most successful film was an astounding irony, coming so close, as it did, on the heels of the Civil Rights movement.

But that's what made Harry so unique, and so fascinating. He was the antithesis of political correctness, a hunter as ferocious and pitiless as the human predators he hunted and gunned down. Siegel's grim original conception of the character is eloquently expressed in the voiceover narration of the original theatrical trailer: "This is a story about two killers. The one with the badge is Harry."

It's obvious from the ending of DIRTY HARRY that Siegel never imagined a sequel. When Eastwood skipped his badge into that pond, the message was clear: the "system" was irreparably broken and Callahan wanted no part of it.

But like Frankenstein's monster, the character of Dirty Harry achieved a life and immortality beyond anything his creator could've imagined. Just as Boris Karloff's monster had struck a deeply responsive chord in James Whale's FRANKENSTEIN[/i], Eastwood's Harry Callahan so resonated with audiences that sequels were inevitable. Like the "Frankenstein" films, the "Dirty Harry" films also became progressively homogenized and formulaic. This is not to suggest they're not worth watching and enjoying, only that they gravitated far from the dark original genius of their progenitors.

On that hi-falutin' note, think I'll go fondle my guns. Nothing like blued steel and the smell of Hoppe's #9 to clear a fella's head...

= Harry =

The Dirty Harry Films / Re: Michael Madsen as Dirty Harry.
« on: August 12, 2005, 09:59:48 PM »
As I believe there will be other "Dirty Harry" films at some point, I think Michael Madsen isn't a bad choice. After Reservoir Dogs[/b] I had high hopes for him, but his career went a tad off the rails. Nevertheless, given his icily laconic portrayal of the psychopath, Mr. Blonde, in Tarantino's cult classic, Madsen might be the ideal choice to play an even more brutal and politically-incorrect Harry Callahan.

= Harry =

The Dirty Harry Films / Re: Sinatra as Dirty harry??????
« on: August 12, 2005, 09:37:05 PM »
An interesting "what if?" message string!

There's no question that Clint Eastwood is the definitive "Dirty Harry," in the same way that Basil Rathbone was the Sherlock Holmes, and Sean Connery was the quintessential James Bond. Nobody will ever eclipse these fellows in these particular roles, however it's fun to consider what other actors might've done with the parts.

Having seen Tony Rome[/b] and Lady in Cement[/i] (among other Sinatra films), I think "Old Blue Eyes" could've pulled it off, though his Harry Callahan would've been very different from Eastwood's. Clint's Harry was icy and dispassionate, whereas Sinatra's would likely have been nastier and more personal. Sinatra would've been to Dirty Harry what Ralph Meeker was to Mike Hammer: a brutal and petulant thug who just happened to be one of the good guys.

= Harry =

Hey vik --

The reason I mentioned John Milius in connection with Harry's model 29 is that Milius was the uncredited (and most influential) co-author of the original "Dirty Harry" screenplay. A firearms expert, Milius was the one who came up with the idea of arming his ruthless detective with a decidedly non-regulation handgun chambered for the powerful .44 magnum hunting cartridge.

= Harry =

Dang, gwb. pt deux, you've got one, too? That's terrific, because it proves I'm not crazy. I've told a few shooter pals about the gun but they profess to know nothing about it, and those who've actually seen it inevitably assume that it's an original, 1970s-era model 29.  It's not, of course (the tiny, almost imperceptible trigger key-lock gives it away), however it's easy to understand why folks might mistake the brand new model 29-B for Eastwood's original hand cannon: hold this sleek and impressive revolver up to your TV screen during the opening credits of "Magnum Force," and you'll see that the 29-B is virtually identical to Dirty Harry's .44 magnum wheelgun.

Don't know how many of these guns were actually issued, but given the fact that most folks have never heard of the model 29-B, and that the largest commercial gun dealer in the state only received one of these revolvers--and informed me upon inquiry that it was a "limited edition" handgun, fresh from the factory--I suspect the gun had a very limited release.

If you've acquired one of these kick-ass handguns, gwb. pt deux, I'd advise to hang onto it. It's a beautifully styled gun, and the most wickedly accurate big-bore revolver I've ever fired. (.44 specials are much more fun--and accurate--than magnums.)

Don't know how many of these guns were issued, but considering how few people have actually heard of it  (and the persistent rumors from all quarters about the gun's extremely limited release), I'd advise holding onto it, as it's bound to become a collectible.

Best of all, it's doggone fun to shoot!

= Harry =

The Dirty Harry Films / Re: Favourite Harry movie?
« on: August 05, 2005, 04:28:36 AM »
Excellent point, Glenn UK, regarding the anti-vigilante sentiments of "Magnum Force." Despite its enormous popularity, "Dirty Harry" was an extremely controversial film, arriving as it did, smack-dab at the height of the "free love," anti-war, anti-"pig" movement.  (Note how Andy Robinson's Scorpio, a kind of deranged, psychotic "hippie"--right down to his bell-bottoms and peace-sign belt-buckle--calls Harry a "pig," and later, a "rotten oinker.")

Admittedly, it was difficult for anybody to feel sorry for Scorpio--he was such a creep--yet Callahan's icy brutality and cavalier disregard for his quarry's "rights" was even harder for some viewers to stomach than Scorpio's deranged crimes (which included the rape and murder of an adolescent girl and the shooting of a child with a high-powered rifle.) When "Dirty Harry" hit the theaters, the film was met with excoriation as well as enthusiasm. Several prominent critics deplored the film's "fascist" message; in one widely-recounted incident, an outraged patron shouted at the screen and stormed out of the theater.

"Dirty Harry" was intended to capitalize on Clint's success in the Sergio Leone "spaghetti westerns," and the character of Harry Callahan was essentially Eastwood's conscienceless "Man With No Name" transplanted from the Old West into a modern urban setting: detective-as-gunslinger.

In "Dirty Harry," Eastwood essentially was a rogue cop whose frustration with a seemingly impotent criminal justice system compelled him to break the rule of law in pursuit of justice. The implict message was that justice and the law are not necessarily the same thing; moreover, they are sometimes in diametric opposition.

"Magnum Force" was calculated to modify Harry's image from that of a rogue cop fed up with an ineffectual system to that of a more conventional hero who defends the "system" even as he acknowledges that it isn't perfect. By the end of the film, Harry has dispatched Hal Holbrook's cadre of vigilante cops with a steely resolve previously reserved for kidnappers and child-killers.

Despite the marked philosophical shift, "Magnum Force" still works. The fact that Harry is still an authority-bucking smart-aleck who likes to shoot bad guys makes the film feel less like a sell-out than a grudging concession to moderation.


[Sidebar here]

During my stint in the military I knew a SEAL or two who carried S&W .44 mags as sidearms...


Actually, I did by a .44 magnum on account of the "Dirty Harry" films, but not just any .44 magnum. It had to be a classic, seventies-era "Dirty Harry"-style model 29. (I already owned a Ruger Super Blackhawk, and wasn't much interested in Smith's stainless 629 or their "new" model 29 with the odd-looking barrel and target front sights, so it wasn't so much a question of the caliber as the unique styling of this particular handgun. )

I found what I was looking for with Smith's new model 29-B, which is virtually identical to Clint's original hand cannon, and was issued in limited numbers as a part of Smith & Wesson's 150th anniversary celebration.

Unfortunately, the 29-B was issued with so little fanfare that most folks never even knew about it. I just happened to be in the right place at the right time.

Smith & Wesson makes some of the finest, toughest, most perfectly styled and machined firearms on the planet--and still at surprisingly affordable prices--so I don't want to beat up on them. (I own several S&W handguns, and will likely own several more.) Nevertheless, I've always gotten the feeling that Smith & Wesson was a little embarassed by the popular association of their most famous handgun with the Eastwood films. And I have a few shooter friends who think it's a tad "Hollywood" of me to've bought a "Dirty Harry"-style .44 magnum. 

But as a lifelong shooter and collector of classic revolvers (some dating back to the 1800s), I have no shame about adding a "Clint Eastwood"/"John Milius" handgun to my collection. Firearms have long been a part of our culture, and in the popular imagination, Dirty Harry's .44 magnum is to the 20th century what the Colt Peacemaker was to the Old West.

I also own an original Smith & Wesson model 25 (as opposed to their current 625 "mountain gun")--a big "N"-frame revolver with a 6.5" barrel that looks very similar to the model 29 but is chambered for the big, heavy-hitting .45 Colt ("long") cartridge. (Great fun to shoot!)

The 25 and the 29-B both have the shrouded, abbreviated under-barrel cylinder lug and Goncalo Alves grips, though the 25 has a bright blue finish as opposed to the dark blued finish of the 29-B. The two guns make for a very impressive brace of slightly-unmatched pistols.

Did I buy a .44 magnum on account of the "Dirty Harry" films? You betcha. Mighty happy with it, too.

- DirtyHarrysGun -

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