TV Cream

Films: D is for...

Dirty Harry

If ever a film has been reductively whittled away to one thirty-second sound bite with accompanying Total Film poster image, it’s this one. We bet student unions aren’t resounding to the likes of “When a man’s chasing a woman through an alley with a butcher knife and a hard-on I figure he’s not out collecting for the Red Cross,” are they? Not that we’re necessarily implying they should, of course.



  1. Lee James Turnock

    October 6, 2015 at 6:34 pm

    Sadly, both the DVD and Blu-Ray versions have used a noticeably darker print than the one that used to air late on Saturday evenings on BBC1, with the whole screen being engulfed by darkness on more than one occasion.

  2. Glenn Aylett

    March 28, 2020 at 11:31 am

    Quite possibly featuring the scariest killer in any film before or since, even scarier than Hannibal Lecter. Scorpio just didn’t look like a serial killer, more like an overweight hippyish loser whom you wouldn’t give a second glance to in San Francisco at the time, but this pudgy loser was a dangerous pyschopath who delighted in killing and had an element of racism( shades of the Manson Family). While later Dirty Harry films featured police death squads in dark glasses and terrorists who kidnap the mayor, a fat hippy is an unlikely killer in the first and best of the five DH films.

    • THX 1139

      March 28, 2020 at 11:56 pm

      Erm, don’t know where you’re getting the idea Andy Robinson was fat in Dirty Harry? He was pretty lean and mean. The character was based on the Zodiac Killer – still at large! If he’s not dead. Andy became Andrew and looked a bit more physically substantial years later on Star Trek Deep Space 9. Terrific actor when he got the chance.

      • Glenn Aylett

        March 29, 2020 at 11:38 am

        Maybe looking at poor You Tube videos perhaps, but Scorpio looked like an unlikely serial killer and even had a peace sign belt buckle, which made the character more grotesque.

  3. Droogie

    March 29, 2020 at 5:06 pm

    I read an interview with Andrew Robinson and he said it was the director’s idea to have a serial killer who looked like an angelic choir boy who’d grown up very bad indeed. Robinson is terrific in this – his career probably suffered just like Anthony Perkins for playing such a convincing psychopath. ( he also bizarrely has the lead role in a TV biopic about Liberace! )

    • THX 1139

      March 29, 2020 at 9:39 pm

      The director was the great Don Siegel, who also used Mr Robinson later in the cult classic Charley Varrick. He was good in that too, but not as squirmy.

    • richardpd

      March 30, 2020 at 2:03 pm

      While not mentioned on screen, the backstory of Scorpio being a traumatised Vietnam veteran was put together during production.

      This fits with one of the theories of the Zodiac killer being a ex-soldier, as some of the killings seem to have been carried out by someone with military training.

      • Glenn Aylett

        March 30, 2020 at 8:28 pm

        I wondered if Scorpio had some kind of military training as he seemed quite clued up with a sniper’s rifle, and sounds like someone who could have been traumatised by Vietnam, or maybe someone who was rejected for service and had a grudge. Rather more interesting than the obvious villains in Magnum Force, a bunch of vigilante cops in fascist style outfits, even if the film was just as entertaining.

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