Dirty Harry

Siding with ‘Dirty Harry’ on the Use of Violence in Movies

Think anyone in the history of movie-watching ever felt sorry for serial killer “Scorpio” in the 1971 Don Siegel policier Dirty Harry? What, no one at all? Not even when Clint Eastwood’s Inspector Harry Callahan tortures the guy by stepping on his injured leg after shooting him on a football field? Or when he stabs…

By Simon Hardy Butler

The Color of Blood: Why Gore’s Hue Might Affect Cinematic Believability

Does the color of blood in a violent scene affect a movie’s credibility? I’ve been asking this question for a while after mulling a variety of great films that feature unrealistic-looking hemo-splatter yet remain some of the most believable pictures of all time. The Godfather (1972) has a scene in which the crime-family head Vito…

By Simon Hardy Butler
Good Morning Vietnam

Powerful Put-Downs: 8 Downright Devilish Onscreen Insults

A well-written, expertly relayed verbal barb can be one of the most satisfying things to hear in a movie—especially when it’s proffered to a character who deserves it—and even the smallest throwaway line can be most effective when delivered at the right moment. I’ve heard a lot of celluloid jibes in my day, and I…

By Simon Hardy Butler
American Sniper

American Sniper: Chris Kyle, Clint Eastwood, American Manhood

American Sniper, an account of the life and times of Chris Kyle (Bradley Cooper), the most lethal sniper in American history, bears the classic marks of a Clint Eastwood film. Eastwood’s career, intentionally or unintentionally, has always been deeply entangled with ideas of masculinity – ideas which cumulatively seem to suggest an overarching vision of…

By James Curnow
game of death action film

20 Great Action Heroes: Defending the indefensible (Part One)

I have a problem: an inescapable attraction to a breed of cinema that would seem to run counter to my self-proclaimed status as a cinephile. The beginnings of this problem are easy enough to trace – liberal parents with a penchant for Friday night TV screenings of American movies loaded with endless depictions of entertaining…

By James Curnow
robocop dirty harry

Unnoticed Injustice: Dirty Harry and the RoboCop reboot

What a difference 43 years makes. That is the time between the on-screen birth of Harry Callahan, Clint Eastwood’s iconic protagonist in Don Siegel’s brilliantly controversial Dirty Harry (1971), and the screen rebirth of Alex Murphy, freshly minted drone-with-a-heart-of-gold in Jose Padilha’s RoboCop reboot. Harry, for those who don’t remember, was the American conservative middle…

By Jonathan Eig

Dirty Harry: The quiet apologies of Clint Eastwood

Clint Eastwood has always been a paradoxical guy. Throughout his entire life he has presented himself as a bizarre point of convergence for seemingly contradictory liberal and conservative ideals. He is a man whose cinematic endeavours have oscillated between almost fascistic or misogynistic perspectives (High Plains Drifter, The Beguiled) and seemingly progressive views on the…

By James Curnow