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Author Topic: MAGNUM FORCE: Audience Reaction 3: Why Is Dirty Harry So Successful?  (Read 3760 times)
mgk
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« on: December 28, 2003, 12:04:15 AM »

Quote
Men in the audience look up at the screen and think, "That's what I'd be like if I didn't have a wife, kids, responsibilities."

Henry Kissinger understood this. He knew Clint Eastwood's appeal and what he touched so deeply in Americans. In an interview with Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci, he told her, "The main point ... in the mechanics of my success comes from the fact that I have acted alone."

Some say the greatest American novels are Moby Dick and Huckleberry Finn, and here, again, the central characters act alone. Eastwood goes Captain Ahab one better: he gets his whale and survives. And as for Huck, Eastwood embodies the same calculating innocence.
(From "Pumping Gold with Clint Eastwood, Hollywood's Richest Actor" by Jean Vallely, Esquire, March 14, 1978, p. 42)

How do you perceive Harry Callahan's independent nature? Do you feel there is an innocence about him as well? Why, or why not?
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« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2004, 05:12:33 PM »

I think Harry’s character (referring more to the man Callahan – not what the writers concocted on paper) – was honed from a combination of deep pain (loss of his wife), his abhorrence and distrust of a current law system (protecting the criminal), and a deep-rooted sense of right and wrong. I think the latter is what balanced him out. He didn’t always go with the flow among those he served under or worked with, although they were on the same team. He didn’t break the law….just ‘bent’ it a little at times, if need be, to get the job done; but he never made himself a criminal by doing so. That morality within him to keep a stable society safe from going completely into chaos was his driving force, and I think also one ingredient of his innocence. If asked point blank why he did what he did, we already know his answer: “I don’t know…..I really don’t.” Even if he didn’t completely know, he was driven to do what he did. I don’t think you can separate the independence from the deep-seated morality within him.  

About the closest real-life example I can think of an independent, against-the-system cop is Frank Serpico, who ultimately retired and left the country – I believe for his own survival and protection…and out of disgust. It appears the only way to mete true justice or not get sucked in the normal corrupt system (and live) is to do it on celluloid. And Dirty Harry is just the man to do it.

All I know is the Ray-Ban corporation certainly isn't complaining. 8)
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"I tried being reasonable, I didn't like it." - Clint Eastwood
vik
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« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2004, 10:39:13 AM »

but itsn't there also the wry humour

wouldn't you like to be cheeky to the mayor the da the judge

and still they all admire him

even the mayor after the bit about the knife etc. - says he's got a point and says it with an acknowlegement that this guy's got somthin
« Last Edit: February 19, 2004, 10:40:41 AM by vik » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2004, 11:10:58 AM »

Yeah the humor definitely adds to the success of the DH movies, no doubt.
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Matt
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« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2004, 06:02:43 AM »

Thanks to everyone for participating in this discussion. This topic is now closed, please post any additional thoughts in the Dirty Harry forum.
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The Schofield Kid
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« Reply #5 on: July 24, 2011, 08:51:46 PM »

This topic has been temporarily unlocked.  Feel free to post any additional thoughts or discussion here.
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