Lloyd Billingsley, Dirty Harry turns 50 in 2021.
“I know what you’re thinking. Did he fire six shots or only five? Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement, I’ve kinda lost track myself. But being as this is a .44 magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you’ve got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?”
2021 will mark 50 years since Clint Eastwood laid down that challenge as Inspector Harry Callahan, also known as Dirty Harry because he takes on any dirty job that comes along. In this 1971 film, the “Scorpio Killer” is on the loose in San Francisco, and Callahan must track him down. Sounds simple, but fans and critics have lost sight of the high concept.
Dirty Harry is the first movie to call out the pro-criminal left and openly defy political correctness. For example, in the early going Callahan gets a new partner, Chico Gonzalez (Reni Santoni), a sociology major at San Jose State. “Sociology?” quips Callahan. “Oh, you’ll go far.”
Callahan tells the mayor of San Francisco (John Vernon) that Scorpio will kill again “because he likes it,” not because he is poor and oppressed, mentally ill and so forth. In Dirty Harry, criminals are responsible for their actions and the police are responsible for protecting the public.
While chasing Scorpio (Andrew Robinson) in Kezar Stadium, fellow cop Frank DiGiorgio (John Mitchum) wants to help but can’t climb a fence. “Go on out and get some air, fatso,” says Callahan, who wounds the killer with a blast from the .44 magnum.
“Please! No more! I’m hurt! Can’t you see I’m hurt?” Scorpio says. “You shot me! Please, don’t, don’t! Let me have a doctor, let me have a doctor. Please, get me the doctor! Don’t kill me!”
“The girl, where is she?” Callahan says.
“You tried to kill me!”
“If I tried that, your head would be splattered all over this field. Now, where’s the girl?”
“I want a lawyer,” the killer whines, “I have the rights to a lawyer!”
Callahan is more concerned about the rights of victims, particularly their right to life. That put Dirty Harry at odds with liberals and leftists who championed the rights of criminals. By 2020, the left had taken that reversal to new depths. Consider San Francisco, where the streets are now plastered with excrement.
The district attorney is Chesa Boudin, spawn of Weather Underground terrorists and named after Joanne Chesimard, a cop-killer and fugitive. As Katy Grimes explains in the California Globe, Boudin was “magically elected after four days of counting ballots.” Boudin will not prosecute public defecation, but he also “believes in freeing criminals while prosecuting police and ICE agents for doing their jobs.”
Boudin’s predecessor George Gascón rode more than $2.5 million in George Soros’ funding to displace anti-crime Jackie Lacey, an African American, as district attorney in Los Angeles. Gascón wants to eliminate cash bail and do away with enhancements for violent crimes, including prior felonies.
Gascón and Boudin would doubtless free Scorpio on some technicality and prosecute Inspector Harry Callahan, who would also be subject to cancel culture. For their part, the people should understand the more nefarious dynamic that drives the pro-crime left. As in Orwell’s Animal Farm, rats are comrades, victims of unjust capitalist society. More important, they are willing to inflict violence on those who resist the leftist agenda.
In 2020 Black Lives Matter and Antifa did not challenge powerful establishment forces such as the FBI or National Guard. Instead they targeted the most vulnerable, innocent civilians, small businesses, not to forget churches and synagogues. Primary targets include any person who sees any merit in their nation, civilization or self, with special hatred for elderly people of pallor and police officers.
In the 1973 Magnum Force, Callahan went after dirty cops, and Eastwood played Dirty Harry in The Enforcer, 1976, Sudden Impact, 1983, and The Dead Pool in 1988. In due time as a director, he turned to cinéma vérité.
In 2015, Islamic terrorist Ayoub El Khazzani boarded a French train determined to kill as many people as possible. American passengers Spencer Stone, Anthony Sadler and Alex Skarlatos disarmed and tied up the terrorist then saved the life of the man he shot.
“By their courage, they saved lives,” proclaimed French President François Hollande. “They gave us an example of what is possible to do in these kinds of situations.” In 2018, Clint Eastwood cast the Americans as themselves in The 15:17 to Paris.
Eastwood also spotted the FBI’s attempt to frame security guard Richard Jewell for a bomb at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. Eastwood told that story in the 2019 Richard Jewell, a film that exposes the same tactics Comey, Strzok, McCabe et al deployed against candidate and President Trump. So nearly half a century after Dirty Harry, Clint Eastwood was still throwing down with the bad guys, even if they wore suits and worked for the FBI.
To tell you the truth, in all this excitement, it’s easy to lose track of Clint Eastwood’s long career. Did he appear in more than 60 movies, or was it only 59? Clint Eastwood turns 91 on May 31, and it’s time he got the recognition he deserves.