Who's Up For A DIRTY HARRY Remake?

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Tom Pheby wants to know if you feel lucky?


I'm starting a campaign to remake the classic 'Dirty Harry' films. It's long overdue in my mind. After all Hollywood has gone through many phases over the years and has recycled everything apart from the gummy bears, so why not Dirty Harry?

Lets deal with the first issue, finding someone with the necessary gravitas to play the part. At first glance the options seem rather limited but hold on .... I may have found the solution ... Hugh Jackman. Why not?

He has the presence and stature to rework the character, and could certainly bring something new and exciting to the role (but perhaps minis the adamantium claws). A case could also be made for casting Jackman purely on the basis that he can grow and maintain a magnificent pair of sideburns and sneer freely in almost any situation, merited or not.


The Detective was a prowling, growling mass of anger and aggression, who was just as likely to shoot you for loitering as he were to pop a cap at you for looking shifty, or just for serving him a cold coffee and a stale bagel .

Harry Callaghan was brilliantly bought to life on the big screen by the whispering and quiff wearing Clint Eastwood back in 1971 at a time when political correctness was still being breast fed.

Callaghan's idiosyncratic style of crime solving involved shooting suspects first with a very big gun and then asking pertinent questions whilst they were on life support, a ploy which rarely failed to get results.

Anyone going to the cinema in the 70's expecting a complicated cerebral plot would have been disappointed. Dirty Harry wasn't that type of film, it was an action film that bought out the vigilante in all of us and made us cheer as the bad guy got his comeuppance.


Directed by Don Siegel, it set a style and tone not too dissimilar to the Dark Knight films, where punishment in any shape or form was preferable to a slap on the wrist or no action at all, and elsewhere it has certainly been copied to death over the years in terms of its tone.

At a time when the public wanted an imperfect hero with a broken moral compass to dispatch villains to an early grave rather than processing paperwork and cluttering up prisons, Eastwood conveyed the sceptical San Franciscan Detective perfectly.

The Film came in for heavy criticism on its release with The New Yorker's critic, Pauline Kael labelling it "fascist", whilst others poured scorn on its cavalier style and lack of humanity. But they are probably missing the point and the mood of the time, which was not lost on either its director or Eastwood himself.

Eastwood openly summed up the attraction to the role by saying:
"Of course people built a lot of connotations into the film that weren't necessarily there.

Being a contrary sort of person, I figured there had been enough politically correct crap going around. The police were not held in great favour particularly, the Miranda decisions had come down [forcing police to read arrested suspects their rights], people were thinking about the plight of the accused. I thought, 'Let's do a picture about the plight of the victim.'"
And that is exactly what Dirty Harry is about - pricking consciences. Picking scabs to reveal the feelings of the masses about the law, it's failure to protect those that need it the most, and by putting bureaucracy under the microscope in a brutally honest way.

Eastwood's almost lackadaisical style and sharp delivery ensured it was a hit for people looking for hope in a broken and seemingly lawless society, one where a criminals rights were more important than the crime they committed .

The plot was probably written on the back of a napkin over a hearty lunch between Harry Julian Fink,
R.M. Fink, and Jo Heims (who strangely remained uncredited).

The yarn simply revolves around a vicious psychopath known as the Zodiac killer (Andy Robinson) who goes on a killing spree and holds the city to ransom. Callaghan sets about capturing the lunatic only to find that when he does the law allows him to wriggle free to pick up where he left off.

In any other film that would have been that, but Siegal and Eastwood had an ace up the sleeve which ensured Callaghan would use any means to dispense justice even if it cost him his job.


Andy Robinson is magnificent as the villain (Zodiac) who makes your stomach churn, especially when he abducts a group of school children on a bus and the full extent of his psychotic behaviour is revealed.

The movie's now dated, henceforth my campaign, but it remains one of the very best of its type, stuffed with action and with the ability to provoke thought about what we want from justice or what type of justice we are getting. Sign up Hugh, but don't dare get rid of the catchphrase - "Do you feel lucky?"
"No wonder I'm shooting people , have you seen the jacket I'm wearing?"

Script Writer, Poet, Blogger and junk television specialist. Half English, half Irish and half Alsatian, Tom is well known for insisting on being called Demetri for reasons best known to himself. A former film abuser and telly addict who shamefully skulks around his home town of Canterbury after dark dressed as Julie Andrews. Follow Tom on Twitter

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