Have I Overlooked A Classic?

I've been on one of my periodic swans round that internet and stumbled across this article in The Independent -to save you the trouble of ploughing all the way though I shall summarise. Once upon a time there was a very bad man called Clint Eastwood who made immoral films then got a bit older and started making moral films because America is becoming a nicer country.

Anyway the article goes on at some length about 'Dirty Harry'. I'd always been aware that there was something vaguely disreputable about the film but as I'd never fancied seeing it I hadn't bothered to investigate and filed it under 'things for weirdos' in my highly organised brain filing system. Actually I may publish my list of 'things for weirdos' on this very blog so my readers can advise me if I've missed out on any other potential treats.

The thing is having read this denunciation of the allegedly 'fascist' film I am forced to consider the awful possibility that my blind prejudice may have deprived me of a rather entertaining treat. Why in God's name did no one tell me that the baddie was a homicidal hippy nonce? As far as I can make out the hero Harry is a bit like me in that he wants to kill everyone and is irked by the rules that prevent him from doing so, where we part company is that he actually does it. I, having spent time with criminals as an adolescent fear being locked up with hundreds of self pitying, sub normal adult babies.

I have to say the homicidal hippy nonce sounds like the sort of baddie you retain a sneaky admiration for. He's called Scorpio for a start! Thank God I wouldn't have taken him at all seriously if he was called something mundane like Steve or Jeff. Oddly the hippy character is supposed to be 'a pansy-parody of the peace movement: a long-haired, androgynous, lisping hippie who wears the peace logo'. One hates to review a film unseen but as parodies go this one is a bit rubbish -a murderous paedo peacenik? Sounds more like a maverick CIA plot than a person to me but this is the wonderful world of film and if there is a message there, I suspect it's just that the makers of the movie hate hippies in much the same was as every other normal well adjusted person on the planet.

This being Hollywood of course Scorpio gets offed by Harry in the end after he makes Harry really, really angry by suffocating a fourteen year old and hijacking a bus full of children. Incidentally just where was Garry Glitter when all this was going on? Personally I'd have done something a bit unpredictable at the end like have the Vietcong appear kill everyone and install Scorpio as dictator of the USA except they haven't quite killed everyone........paving the way for Dirty Harry 2 -He's back and this time he's filthy!

Apologies for the digression, the point I'm strolling towards is that I find the whole idea of this immoral film highly entertaining and more than a bit funny. I don't know why but the notion of a mad hippy being pursued by a bent cop makes me grin from ear to ear. Will I be disappointed? How funny is it really? Is it any good at all? Or is our Mr Hari making it out to be a lot better than it is. Answers below please.


Billy said...

You're right, Dirty Harry is a classic unintentional comedy masterpiece.

Second only to Lolita.

iLL Man said...

Not sure I would read as much into Dirty Harry as Johann Hari has. It's a hard-boiled cop flick of it's time, it's not meant to be terribly pleasant.

He's still a dyed-in-the-wool Republican as far as I know. He is a decent actor, a very good director and an intelligent man who is able to see things from more than one perspecive.

Eastwood is obviously able to examine the world from angles that oppose the inhbuilt beliefs and ideals of the people who share his party politics. This confuses poor Mr Hari.

It shouldn't.

iLL Man said...

Oh yeah, Dirty Harry..........

Worth a look. Simplistic plot and all that, comic-book stuff really.

I wouldn't buy it or anything, just look out for it on TV. Even funnier when yr drunk.

Clairwil said...

Which Lolita are you referring to? I always suspected the remake looked hilarious. Mind you anything in which the main character has a name like Humbert Humbert is bound to be good for a giggle. It's such a billiant name for a kiddie fiddler.

Ill Man,
It sounds ace. It'll turn up cheap on DVD somewhere and I shall snap it up unless it appears on telly first.

Having perused Mr Hari's other articles he strikes me as a man easily confused by things.

Anonymous said...

Is there a political message in Dirty Harry? Other than lets shoot criminals and, er hippies? I had it down as an alpha-male fantasy and thought little else of it.

Small point to raise, Scorpio wasn't a nonce, he was a bad character in every sense of the word. As for Hari, he is confused, but he changed his mind about the Iraq war, unlike many on the decent side.

Clairwil said...

I'm actually feeling rather sheepish about being snide about Hari. He is a good writer and I think a well intentioned fellow if at times a wee bitty over serious.

I was being deliberately silly in calling our Mr Scorpio a nonce. It is, I'm afriaid a rather bad habit of mine, like the other day when I was ranting on about the plague of shit music and described Coldplay as music for nonces by nonces.

Still we shouldn't overlook the fact that Scorpio did harm LITTLE KIDDIES!!!!!

On a totally different subject how are things with you these days David?

Anonymous said...

No Job, but no complaints. No point in moaning about things that you can't change (credit crunch).

Clairwil said...

That's rough. If you like I'll get my colleague of mind to tweak your c.v for you. She's very good at that sort of thing. You can email me a copy and I'll have it back to you in a week or so.

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