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Author Topic: MAGNUM FORCE: Style & Technique 2. The Chase Scene and Finale  (Read 9968 times)
KC
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« on: December 28, 2003, 12:22:35 AM »

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I remember when we did that scene in the car. Frightening!!! I think it....was shot on a Sunday. We were up in San Francisco, you know....with those hills? Clint got in the car and did the driving. I thought, "Well, you know, he won't go too fast. He's not a stunt driver, you know." Well, man alive, I was scared out of my wits because, when we started down that thing back and forth, he was roaring down that thing. I thought, "Good grief, if anybody steps out in front of us, they're a goner." You know? He really handled a car well. I think he got a big kick out of it, probably, he knew he was scaring the living lights out of me. You know, I think he got a big kick out of that.
(Hal Holbrook from Dirty Harry: The Original from the Dirty Harry DVD Special Features)

Holbrook told Richard Schickel (Clint Eastwood, p. 303) that Eastwood actually directed the scene in the car, as well as acting his part and doing the driving, because with all the camera equipment there was no room for the director in the vehicle.

What do you think of the final scenes of the film? Can you name any directing techniques that help keep these scenes interesting and exciting? What do you think of the pace of these last moments of the film? If you were at all dissatisfied with them, how do you think these scenes could have been improved?
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Brendan
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« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2003, 08:10:23 PM »

A scene like that is where good editing comes into play. You need to know when to cut and what to cut to, too make it interesting and exciting.

One thing, well actually two things, I liked about this chase was that there wasn't alot of damage done. In other chase scenes you see cars smashing into each, cars blowing up, crap just getting destroyed.

But in this chase scene, not alot of stuff was destroyed. Harry just nicked that one red car, and he took out some vegetable boxes, but other then that, not alot of city or private property was needlessly destroyed.

The other thing I liked about it was the fact there was hardly any music playing during it. It was just the sound effects and visuals playing. That was nice.
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D'Ambrosia
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« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2004, 01:58:07 PM »

I love this scene.  It’s one of my all time favorite car chase sequences.  That drive down Lombard Street is a classic.  Not to mention Callahan just absolutely goes balls out and hammer down.   Harry’s car is a Ford LTD with a .429 cubic inch engine.  (Had a black ’71 LTD in High school and had a whole lot of fun with it until I fish tailed it into a telephone pole down on campus one night.  We called it the “Bluesmoble” cause at the time we thought it was the same car the Blues Brothers had in the movie.   BTW there is a great shot of my car (The black LTD, in the opening scene of Mystic River when the kidnapping takes place.  I salivated at the mint condition of this beautiful car.  I use to take real pride in being able to rally and stunt drive back in high school.  I was famous for what people call a “bootleggers turn” or a “Rockford” as in Jim Rockford’s famous move he always pulled his gold Firebird.  It’s when you throw it in reverse, gaining speed in excess of 30 mph going backwards, then cut the wheel shapely causing the car to flip around perfectly in a 180’ and while the car is in the mitts of its turn throw in Drive and punch it causing a flawless result.  You really have to do it a few time to get it down.  Clint actually tries one unsuccessfully right after driving head on into one of the motorcycles.  Another failed attempt can be seen in Escape From New York when Snake tries to take the station wagon backwards through the barricade.  The best successful one I’ve ever seen in the movies in The Man With the Golden Gun when Bond steals the AMC Hornet and drives it right through the dealership window.  It’s a great stunt.  DO NOT TRY THIS IN A FRONTWHEEL DRIVE VEHICILE.  

The pacing is excellent and it’s a great segway into the showdown on the Aircraft Carrier.

*Please excuse my personal tangent above... :P
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Brendan
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« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2004, 05:17:24 PM »

DO NOT TRY THIS IN A FRONTWHEEL DRIVE VEHICILE.  

AH!! Now I get why I can't do it.  ;D :D :P
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gwb
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« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2004, 11:41:07 AM »

What I don't understand is why Callahan did not just simply use his .44.  I thought I saw him throw his gun int he back seat, along with some ammo.
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Brendan
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« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2004, 12:48:01 PM »

I believe he threw the ammo out on the street for a young to pick up and smash with a hammer and kill himself.  :-X
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gwb
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« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2004, 01:18:00 PM »

I believe he threw the ammo out on the street for a young to pick up and smash with a hammer and kill himself.  :-X

I thought he tossed the .44 in the back seat after emptying the shells in the fron seat with Holbrook, then tossed the two extra ammo speed loaders into the street.  That means he had the .44 and 6 shots for his use, just waiting....
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Brendan
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« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2004, 02:22:43 PM »

I guess, but he never really had time to load the gun. He was too busy trying to get away from the Death Sqaud, and avoid hitting other cars, which he didn't do to well. Just imagine what would have happened had he tried to load his .44 while speeding away.  :o No more Dirty Harry. Well there would be a Dirty, just no Harry. Eh? EH? ZING!!
« Last Edit: January 12, 2004, 02:23:18 PM by Brendan » Logged
gwb
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« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2004, 07:38:54 AM »

I guess, but he never really had time to load the gun. He was too busy trying to get away from the Death Sqaud, and avoid hitting other cars, which he didn't do to well. Just imagine what would have happened had he tried to load his .44 while speeding away.  :o No more Dirty Harry. Well there would be a Dirty, just no Harry. Eh? EH? ZING!!

No, no... during the time he parked the car and ran up the ramp to the carrier, when no one from the death squad was near, he could've just loaded the gun and waited and shot away.
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Brendan
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« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2004, 03:12:59 PM »

Then I guess it would have just been anti-clamactic.
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KC
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« Reply #10 on: January 14, 2004, 09:58:00 PM »

We had a thread about this in the old, old days ... It's long gone, but it seems to me that we never really cleared up a couple of questions. I just took a really close look at the scene, paying attention to what happens to the guns.

1) Briggs pulls out his gun and levels it at Harry: "Let me have your gun." Harry pulls it out of his holster and hands it to Briggs.

2) Briggs takes Harry's gun and unloads it, dropping the shells on the floor in front of him. Then he tosses it into the back, presumably on the floor.

3) "Now the shells." Harry starts to hand him a speed loader. "Three. You always carry three ... Throw 'em out the window." Harry does as he is told. (It looks to me as if he is taking out and discarding TWO of these items, not three, but Briggs doesn't object, so who am I to complain.)

So, at this point, presumably the only ammunition for Harry's .44 Magnum are the shells scattered on the floor of the car in front. If, when the car finally stops, he were to try to re-arm himself with the Magnum, he'd have to take time to recover the gun from the back seat, and dig around on the floor of the front seat to find the shells. You can already hear the motorcycles of Astrachan and Davis approaching ... Harry doesn't take the time. (I'm sure this all actually happened this way because the screenwriters wanted to make an ironic point: after all the talk about guns and all the demonstrations of firepower and shooting ability in this film, when it comes to the climax, Harry doesn't even need a gun to dispatch three of the killer cops and their leader.)

OK, but what about Briggs's gun?

4) Early in the chase scene, Harry and Briggs struggle for possession of Briggs's gun ...


... and shortly before Harry knocks Briggs out, he succeeds in getting his gun away from him and throws it out the window. I suspect it ended up being the gun with which Warren Russell robbed Pocum's Grocery in True Crime ... at any rate, it's unlikely it ever came back into the possession of the SFPD.

5) The chase continues up hill and down dale and through the vegetable carts, apparently for several miles. Finally, shortly before Harry spins his car around to collide with Grimes's motorcycle, the still-unconscious Briggs is thrown out. The rest of the climax ensues ... With Astrachan and Davis dead, the bruised and weary Harry stumbles back to the shell of Briggs's car, where he finds ... Briggs, who has not only recovered sufficiently from the injuries he received in the car and his fall to confront Harry, he's managed to find his way from where he was thrown from the car to where it ended up (which would seem to be a considerable distance away) ... and he's got a gun ... and it is NOT Harry's .44 Magnum, which is presumably still unloaded in the back of the car.


Where did he get it?  ???
Only place I can think of is the motorcycle wreck ... which means he not only had to recover and find his car, he had to first find the wreck, and get there before any locally patrolling police or concerned citizens ... but where are they through this whole episode, anyway?  ???.

Gun experts, could the gun Briggs is holding in the capture above be Grimes's?  ???
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Brendan
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« Reply #11 on: January 14, 2004, 10:07:31 PM »

About the "three clips of ammo", I would assume it would be the one already in the gun (which was then unloaded), and the two Harry had one him. That would be three.

Also Briggs could have had a second gun on him perhaps?  ??? And when your really after something, or someone, you can do alot. So since Briggs was so mad at Harry and wanted him dead or framed, whatever it be, perhaps he sucked up the all pain and tried to push it out of his head so he could go take Harry down.  :-\
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KC
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« Reply #12 on: January 14, 2004, 10:30:37 PM »

About the "three clips of ammo", I would assume it would be the one already in the gun (which was then unloaded), and the two Harry had one him. That would be three.

Nope. From the script ...
Quote
BRIGGS: Now the shells --

Harry takes out two speed loaders.

BRIGGS (continuing): Three -- you always carry three.

Harry takes out the third one.

The script isn't helpful in the other details. It doesn't explain what Briggs does with Harry's gun after taking it from him, nor what becomes of Briggs's gun, nor does it mention when, or indeed if, Briggs is thrown from the car. But it DOES specify that the gun Briggs is holding in the final scene is "the .44 Magnum" ... and that would have made sense. Assuming he could use his magical mystical movie star powers to recover from his swoon and home in on his vehicle, no reason why Briggs couldn't have recovered Harry's gun and reloaded it while waiting for Harry to return to the car.

But, that is NOT the gun Briggs is holding.
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D'Ambrosia
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« Reply #13 on: January 15, 2004, 03:05:18 AM »

This is my take on it:

Briggs pulls his shoulder gun, a .38 special, on Harry.

Harry gives up the .44 to Briggs.

Briggs unloads the .44  onto the front seat.  They fall out and appear to be individually loaded shells (magazines #1)   then proceeds to throw Harry’s .44 in the backseat.

Briggs: “Now the shells” referring to the other bullets Harry carry’s for back up.

Harry reaches in his right jacket pocket and produces the first speedloader (second magazine) and holds it up…

Briggs: “Three, you always carry three…”  

Harry reaches in his left jacket pocket and pulls out the last speedloader with his left hand while still driving.

Briggs:  “Throw ‘em out the window”

Harry throws both speedloaders out the window leaving some poor kid with a hammer to come along.

At this point the .44 and shells are still in the car.

As Harry is bashing Briggs head into the dashboard the .38 comes flying out.

Clint then proceeds to drive balls out at 110 mph plus and fishtailing at around 80.  Several real jumps and just plain out crazy driving could have sent the still present .44 and shells anywhere, even out of view or out the window.    

Harry fishtails into a pile of tires which sends Briggs out the door and onto the ground.

Harry guns it and about a football fields length away he does a perfect 180 and smashes Grimes up to a pulp.  Harry attempts the bootleggers turn and runs out of steam at the plank of the aircraft carrier with the other two in pursuit.

There is exactly 20 seconds between when Harry pulls up to the plank and Red and Davis do.  You got to ask yourself one question, could you dig through a ’72 Ford LTD and scramble to find your gun not to mention the shells that are god know where in 20 seconds.  The man with no name, yes.  Callahan, maybe.  The average person I don’t think so.  Harry knows how good of a shot these guys are and he doesn’t know exactly how far behind him they are.

In the mean time Briggs has regained conciseness and has proceeded to manage his way down to the docks which is about 200yds away and comes across Grimes mangled mess and takes his .357 and making his way down to his car and the final showdown with Harry.
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D'Ambrosia
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« Reply #14 on: January 15, 2004, 03:13:42 AM »

That was indeed a classic thread KC from way back!!!
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KC
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« Reply #15 on: January 15, 2004, 07:18:13 AM »

That all sounds good to me, D'Amb! Except that the script does specify that Harry gives Briggs three speed loaders, but maybe they were correcting that, considering that the shells in the gun counted as one of the "three ... you always carry three."

Quote
Several real jumps and just plain out crazy driving could have sent the still present .44 and shells anywhere, even out of view or out the window.    

Harry fishtails into a pile of tires which sends Briggs out the door and onto the ground.

Odd that nothing happened to the b-b-b-bomb in all of this, isn't it?  ???
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Brendan
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« Reply #16 on: January 15, 2004, 07:25:53 AM »

It's just best to leave plot holes alone.  ;)
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Christopher
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« Reply #17 on: January 15, 2004, 07:38:49 AM »

Well, the bomb was turned off at least.

I like D'Amb explanation for all of this. And I took it that the first magazine was the bullets already in the gun.

If Briggs didn't have Harry's .44, that means Harry's gun was in the car when it blew up with Briggs. I bet Harry was ticked about that one. :D

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nyna
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« Reply #18 on: January 20, 2004, 04:31:32 PM »

I finally answered my own question. For a long time I was wondering which film had a a chase scene down Lombard street the most zig zag street inthe world, I wrote in IMDb, all they gave me was a list of movies made in San Francisco none rang a bell till I just saw Magnum Force again there it was.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2004, 09:31:32 PM by KC » Logged

nyna
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« Reply #19 on: June 27, 2004, 06:05:55 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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