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Author Topic: Sudden Impact fails because it removes Harry from SF  (Read 2902 times)
Aline
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« Reply #20 on: October 21, 2018, 01:33:03 PM »

If there was some failure in Sudden Impact it wasn't because it was not set in San Francisco. It was because of the central topic of the movie. Rape. So bad taste, whose idea was that?
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KC
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« Reply #21 on: October 21, 2018, 08:35:38 PM »

It was interestingly treated, though. The trauma the two women suffered was in no way belittled; it was insisted upon. Both had been irreparably damaged by the experience. Indeed, the younger sister seems to be in a permanently catatonic state.
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Jed Cooper
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« Reply #22 on: October 27, 2018, 04:10:38 PM »

Very interesting perspective.  If by “fail” it is meant the movie hasn’t aged well, I’d agree.  Although, It certainly didn’t fail at the box office and is the most successful film of the Dirty Harry series.  The movie was so successful and popular that just about everybody was saying “Make my day”, even then President Ronald Reagan.  The phrase would be re-used and kept appearing in pop culture for years.

At the time, it had been three years since Clint had a major box office hit, with Any Which Way You Can.  Becoming a fan in 1981, I noticed the dry spell with the release of Firefox and Honkytonk Man.  I was pleased to see my first Dirty Harry film when Sudden Impact came out and there was quite a bit of media hype surrounding the film’s success and catchphrase.  I thought it was perfect the way Callahan said, “Make my day” at the beginning and end of the film, just as he’d done with the “Well do ya, punk?” comments in Dirty Harry.

The major drawback for me these days are Spencer’s memory sequences.   It feels like too much time is focused on the sexual assault committed against Jennifer and her sister.  They affect the pace of the film.  The point could’ve been made as effectively in less time. 

In the grand scheme of things, Time has not been kind to Sudden Impact.  However, it stands as one of Eastwood’s most successful movies.  Not that you’d know that when commemorative 80’s magazines hit the bookstores.  I’m amazed to see little to no mention at all.  That is not only disappointing, but puzzling as well. 

It’s still entertaining and enjoyable to watch.  Lots of memorable moments.  That’s the one thing I think Sudden Impact has more so than the first three in the series, great scenes and quotes not only from Eastwood, but the costars and even supporting players as well. 







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Hocine
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« Reply #23 on: October 30, 2018, 02:42:46 PM »

If there was some failure in Sudden Impact it wasn't because it was not set in San Francisco. It was because of the central topic of the movie. Rape. So bad taste, whose idea was that?

Originally, Sudden Impact’s script was supposed to be a vehicle for Sondra Locke, a rape and revenge movie with no link with Dirty Harry. It wasn’t even supposed to be a Clint movie.
But Clint read the script and liked it. Then, he wanted the script to be rewritten in order to make a Dirty Harry movie.
In many Clint movies, Sondra Locke’s characters were sexually abused: The Outlaw Josey Wales, The Gauntlet, Bronco Billy and Sudden Impact.
Rape seems to be an obsession in Clint movies.
It brings some tragedies and traumas: in Unforgiven and Mystic River for instance.
Sometimes, Clint movies explored the worst sides of humankind: crimes, murders, rapes, wars.
These subjects are obviously hard, depressing, sad and ugly.
But Clint is a storyteller and sometimes he wants to tell something about the loss of innocence, violence and justice in human societies.
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« Reply #24 on: October 30, 2018, 10:22:19 PM »

Thanks once again for your insight, Hocine!

There isn't actually a rape in Unforgiven though, is there?
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Aline
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« Reply #25 on: October 31, 2018, 08:53:06 AM »

Originally, Sudden Impact’s script was supposed to be a vehicle for Sondra Locke, a rape and revenge movie with no link with Dirty Harry. It wasn’t even supposed to be a Clint movie.
But Clint read the script and liked it. Then, he wanted the script to be rewritten in order to make a Dirty Harry movie.
In many Clint movies, Sondra Locke’s characters were sexually abused: The Outlaw Josey Wales, The Gauntlet, Bronco Billy and Sudden Impact.
Rape seems to be an obsession in Clint movies.

Thank you for saving me, Hocine, you took the words from my mouth. I didn't say it before because I was afraid of offending someone or even Clint himself. But that's it, really. I always thought he was obsessed with rape. Maybe because it the most brutal violence against a woman and he had a daughter? Or maybe because the situation puts him like the savior, the alpha male that always came to the rescue? I always think he felt more powerful in situations like that. Or going too far, I even sometimes I thought it could be a secret fantasy Clint hilmself had and expressed it in his movies. No way I want to create controversy about it but it's known many men has fantasies about that and even women (rape it is not about sex, it's about power).

When I told friends I was a Clint fan and asked which movies they had watched, they named ones but they always said "and there was one with a woman raped"... I didn't like the tone they said, you know? So many awesome movies but "the one with the woman raped" seems to be the one that sticked on their heads. :-\

 I need to say the only rape scene in his movies that I don't feel much uncomfortable is the one from High Plains Drifter, maybe because it is not Sondra Locke or maybe because is a Clint's character doing it. >:D

The thing is, when I re-watch Sudden Impact sometimes, because I do, I always fast forward the part because is very bad taste. They could just have suggested the rape or made it a shorter scene. As Hocine said, there were rape scenes in other movies but it was not whole theme of the whole movie. The movie became a rape/revenge tale, not a Dirty Harry movie at all. Big mistake, sorry guys, my opinion. :-[

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AKA23
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« Reply #26 on: November 01, 2018, 06:54:57 PM »

What an interesting post, Aline. Clint definitely does seem to have an attraction to depicting stories that involve rape. He would likely say that that is because he likes stories that involve conflict (that's usually his standard response to questions about why he's attracted to particular stories), but there may be a deeper motivation that we, and perhaps even he, just don't know. I often wish that Clint were a little more introspective, since I don't think his answers are ever very revealing when he talks about why he chooses particular projects or discusses how and why he directs the way that he does.

I don't think there's any evidence that Clint has any kind of rape fantasy, so I don't agree with that part of your post, but I agree with you that this is a consistent theme in his work. In addition to what has already been discussed, "Gran Torino" also features rape and an attempted rape was depicted in "Pale Rider" as well. Sexual violence is also shown in "Tightrope," "The Rookie" and, as you stated, "Unforgiven" and "Mystic River."

Unlike you Aline, the scene that most disturbs me involving rape in an Eastwood film is actually the scene in "High Plains Drifter." I've long advocated that that scene should have been removed from the film, and I think Clint himself even admitted that if the film were made today, he wouldn't have included that scene.

I've also consistently stated that I thought that "Sudden Impact" was tonally inconsistent from the rest of the Dirty Harry series and that it seemed far too dark to me. I think those are the reasons the film isn't thought of more highly. I've never really thought that that was because the film centered around rape, but reading your post, it makes me think that maybe that's what I've meant by the film being too dark all along.

Thanks to you and Hocine for contributing your thoughts on this topic. This is such a great conversation.
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Hocine
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« Reply #27 on: November 02, 2018, 05:40:34 AM »

Very interesting perspective.  If by “fail” it is meant the movie hasn’t aged well, I’d agree.  Although, It certainly didn’t fail at the box office and is the most successful film of the Dirty Harry series.  The movie was so successful and popular that just about everybody was saying “Make my day”, even then President Ronald Reagan.  The phrase would be re-used and kept appearing in pop culture for years.

At the time, it had been three years since Clint had a major box office hit, with Any Which Way You Can.  Becoming a fan in 1981, I noticed the dry spell with the release of Firefox and Honkytonk Man.  I was pleased to see my first Dirty Harry film when Sudden Impact came out and there was quite a bit of media hype surrounding the film’s success and catchphrase.  I thought it was perfect the way Callahan said, “Make my day” at the beginning and end of the film, just as he’d done with the “Well do ya, punk?” comments in Dirty Harry.

The major drawback for me these days are Spencer’s memory sequences.   It feels like too much time is focused on the sexual assault committed against Jennifer and her sister.  They affect the pace of the film.  The point could’ve been made as effectively in less time. 

In the grand scheme of things, Time has not been kind to Sudden Impact.  However, it stands as one of Eastwood’s most successful movies.  Not that you’d know that when commemorative 80’s magazines hit the bookstores.  I’m amazed to see little to no mention at all.  That is not only disappointing, but puzzling as well. 

It’s still entertaining and enjoyable to watch.  Lots of memorable moments.  That’s the one thing I think Sudden Impact has more so than the first three in the series, great scenes and quotes not only from Eastwood, but the costars and even supporting players as well. 







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Thank you, Jed Cooper. Interesting post.
Sudden Impact, in spite of the « Make My Day » punchline and its box office success, is not really among the most iconic pictures of the 80’s.
These iconic pictures are E.T., The Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Empire Strikes Back, Beverly Hills Cop, Flashdance, Back to the Future, Top Gun, Die Hard, Rain Man, Dirty Dancing, Lethal Weapon, First Blood, Batman.
Even Rocky III and Rocky IV have this 80’s vibe.
Firefox did well at the box office but cost a lot of money because of the visual effects.
However, it was commercially successful.
Honkytonk Man failed at the box office but was a cheap movie: around 2 M$, I think.
But it was a disappointment because it was a personal project, like Bronco Billy.
If Honkytonk Man hadn’t been failed at the box office, perhaps Clint wouldn’t have made Sudden Impact.
Sudden Impact is Clint’s biggest hit of the 80’s, after Any Which Way You Can.
Clint’s box office appeal declined after Heartbreak Ridge.
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« Reply #28 on: November 02, 2018, 02:40:40 PM »

I don't think there's any evidence that Clint has any kind of rape fantasy, so I don't agree with that part of your post

I know this, Aka this was really only a thing in my mind :D Once more, in those movies you mentioned, the act of rape was only implied and much more effective than that longer scene in Sudden Impact.

I know Clint said that about the scene in High Plains Drifter, he has changed his style over the years but Clint has never been a heavy handed moviemaker, he is a subtle director.

Oh, I had totally forgotten The Rookie. It was a long scene and of a female raping a male!!! That was too much, but that movie was a little crazy anyway :D
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« Reply #29 on: November 02, 2018, 04:48:35 PM »

Thank you, Jed Cooper. Interesting post.
Sudden Impact, in spite of the « Make My Day » punchline and its box office success, is not really among the most iconic pictures of the 80’s.
These iconic pictures are E.T., The Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Empire Strikes Back, Beverly Hills Cop, Flashdance, Back to the Future, Top Gun, Die Hard, Rain Man, Dirty Dancing, Lethal Weapon, First Blood, Batman.
Even Rocky III and Rocky IV have this 80’s vibe.
Firefox did well at the box office but cost a lot of money because of the visual effects.
However, it was commercially successful.
Honkytonk Man failed at the box office but was a cheap movie: around 2 M$, I think.
But it was a disappointment because it was a personal project, like Bronco Billy.
If Honkytonk Man hadn’t been failed at the box office, perhaps Clint wouldn’t have made Sudden Impact.
Sudden Impact is Clint’s biggest hit of the 80’s, after Any Which Way You Can.
Clint’s box office appeal declined after Heartbreak Ridge.

Thanks, Hocine.  I understand what you mean about Sudden Impact not being one of the 80’s iconic movies.  It’s just that I lived through the success, popularity and hype around the film which is why I’m surprised it’s not even mentioned in retrospectives of that decade.  C’est la vie.  Firefox and 1979’s Star Trek: The Motion Picture have in common that a lot of money was spent making them, were financially successful but are still horribly overlong, boring and dull.  I agree about Clint’s success, or lack thereof, in the late 80’s.  Thank goodness that would change with is tour de force in 1992’s Unforgiven.


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Hocine
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« Reply #30 on: November 07, 2018, 06:00:14 AM »

What an interesting post, Aline. Clint definitely does seem to have an attraction to depicting stories that involve rape. He would likely say that that is because he likes stories that involve conflict (that's usually his standard response to questions about why he's attracted to particular stories), but there may be a deeper motivation that we, and perhaps even he, just don't know. I often wish that Clint were a little more introspective, since I don't think his answers are ever very revealing when he talks about why he chooses particular projects or discusses how and why he directs the way that he does.

I don't think there's any evidence that Clint has any kind of rape fantasy, so I don't agree with that part of your post, but I agree with you that this is a consistent theme in his work. In addition to what has already been discussed, "Gran Torino" also features rape and an attempted rape was depicted in "Pale Rider" as well. Sexual violence is also shown in "Tightrope," "The Rookie" and, as you stated, "Unforgiven" and "Mystic River."

Unlike you Aline, the scene that most disturbs me involving rape in an Eastwood film is actually the scene in "High Plains Drifter." I've long advocated that that scene should have been removed from the film, and I think Clint himself even admitted that if the film were made today, he wouldn't have included that scene.

I've also consistently stated that I thought that "Sudden Impact" was tonally inconsistent from the rest of the Dirty Harry series and that it seemed far too dark to me. I think those are the reasons the film isn't thought of more highly. I've never really thought that that was because the film centered around rape, but reading your post, it makes me think that maybe that's what I've meant by the film being too dark all along.

Thanks to you and Hocine for contributing  your thoughts on this topic. This is such a great conversation.

Thank you, AKA23 !
I agree with you when you said that Clint is attracted to depicting stories that involve conflict.
In his interviews, he didn’t tell everything on his movies, even he is sometimes more talkative.
But when someone asked him why he did this or that movie, he usually answered that he liked the story, first of all.
The answers are actually in the movies, in my opinion.
So, we have to see the movies and find out the answers by ourselves.
We have to try to understand his movies by ourselves.
The interpretation of his movies is up to the audience.
I think that graphic violence in movies is a way to show and describe human conflict, its causes and its consequences.
And rape is a form of violence, of course.
In Gran Torino, there’s no rape on screen but we see Sue bleeding and seriously injured.
Then, we learned that she was actually raped.
Violence is graphic in many Clint films: westerns, cop movies, war films, dramas.

How violent will The Mule be ?


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Hocine
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« Reply #31 on: November 07, 2018, 06:34:53 AM »

Thank you for saving me, Hocine, you took the words from my mouth. I didn't say it before because I was afraid of offending someone or even Clint himself. But that's it, really. I always thought he was obsessed with rape. Maybe because it the most brutal violence against a woman and he had a daughter? Or maybe because the situation puts him like the savior, the alpha male that always came to the rescue? I always think he felt more powerful in situations like that. Or going too far, I even sometimes I thought it could be a secret fantasy Clint hilmself had and expressed it in his movies. No way I want to create controversy about it but it's known many men has fantasies about that and even women (rape it is not about sex, it's about power).

When I told friends I was a Clint fan and asked which movies they had watched, they named ones but they always said "and there was one with a woman raped"... I didn't like the tone they said, you know? So many awesome movies but "the one with the woman raped" seems to be the one that sticked on their heads. :-\

 I need to say the only rape scene in his movies that I don't feel much uncomfortable is the one from High Plains Drifter, maybe because it is not Sondra Locke or maybe because is a Clint's character doing it. >:D

The thing is, when I re-watch Sudden Impact sometimes, because I do, I always fast forward the part because is very bad taste. They could just have suggested the rape or made it a shorter scene. As Hocine said, there were rape scenes in other movies but it was not whole theme of the whole movie. The movie became a rape/revenge tale, not a Dirty Harry movie at all. Big mistake, sorry guys, my opinion. :-[

You’re welcome, Aline !
As AKA23 said, Clint likes telling stories involving conflict.
So, there is a lot of graphic violence in many Clint movies.
Sometimes, violence is just suggested and sometimes, violence is more graphic.
I think that Sudden Impact was a commercial vehicle for Clint and Warner Bros, after the box office failure of Honkytonk Man. The audience wasn’t ready to see Clint losing and dying in a movie.
Many fans liked and still like the violent side of Clint movies.
So, with Sudden Impact, he gave them that they wanted: punch lines, action, violence, blood, revenge.
Rape and revenge movies were quite fashionable in the 80’s:
for instance, Abel Ferrara’s Ms.45 or Extremities starring Farrah Fawcett.
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« Reply #32 on: November 07, 2018, 08:06:43 PM »

Hocine, I edited the first of your two posts above just to show where the quote from AKA23 ended and your post began. :)

In Sudden Impact, unlike Clint's other films where rape features in the plot, rape is really central to the story, specifically the effects of rape on the survivors. True, it's a commercial vehicle for Clint, and "rape and revenge movies" were fashionable at the time (I haven't seen the two you mention). But among Clint's own movies, Sudden Impact still stands out because of how it portrays the devastating and indelible effects of a rape on one of the main characters. Jennifer is shown as a bitter, vengeful caricature of the vibrant young woman she once was (as we can see in the flashbacks, and in her self-portrait), while the same act has virtually ended her sister's life, reducing her to a catatonic shell. (Similar, interestingly, to one of the perpetrators: the police chief's son, who couldn't live with his own guilt and was crippled and brain-damaged in a suicidal car accident.)

This is a large part of the movie, along with the punch lines and more typical "Dirty Harry" kind of action scenes.

I can still sympathize with Aline's opinion that the rape didn't need to be shown so graphically. But I can understand why it was done that way.
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« Reply #33 on: November 08, 2018, 12:52:19 AM »

Thank you, KC !
I agree with you. Many violent scenes in Sudden Impact can be disturbing.
Moviegoers have to take some distance.
I was a teenager when I saw Sudden Impact on TV for the first time.
Of course, I was focused on Harry Callahan character.
I especially enjoyed the Make My Day scene and all the action scenes involving Harry Callahan, the final sequence when Harry suddenly appeared and Lalo Schifrin’s music score.
Jennifer Spencer character was quite fascinating and weird because, as a young teenager, it was unusual to see a woman attractive and violent at the same time.
Before meeting and killing her targets, Jennifer Spencer recalled the bad time spent with them (the flashbacks).
Quentin Tarantino did the same thing in Kill Bill movies: before meeting and killing her targets, Uma Thurman’s characters briefly recalled the bad time with them.
Of course, there are many female characters like that (femme fatale) in film noir genre played by Ava Gardner, Lauren Bacall, Barbara Stanwyck, Lana Turner or Rita Hayworth for instance.
Jennifer Spencer character is also similar to Charles Bronson’s character in Death Wish, Paul Kersey. They were simple citizens who became vigilantes, mostly because of their pain and police forces’ inefficency.
After Sudden Impact, some critics declared Clint Eastwood a feminist director.
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