"Dirty" Harry Callahan was one of the first screen characters to embody contemporary fears about crime--and the uncompromising response to it that much of the audience would liked to have seen. Clint Eastwood's laconic rogue cop became an instant screen icon; his catchphrases ("Do you feel lucky?", "Make my day") were and still are endlessly quoted, and he even inspired a futuristic comic-strip counterpart in the person of Judge Dredd. Made at the time when the real "Zodiac" serial killer was terrorising San Francisco, the original Dirty Harry struck a frighteningly realistic note in 1971: aside from Eastwood, director Don Siegel's taught, pacey direction, Lalo Schifrin's nervy jazz score and Andrew Robinson's cackling psycopath "Scorpio" all make a strong impact. Such was the film's success that it gave rise to no less than four sequels, none of which are its equal but all of which get by on the charisma of Eastwood's anti-hero, even when he's increasingly trapped by the character's one-dimensional persona.
This five-disc box set contains all the "Harry" movies: Dirty Harry (1971); Magnum Force (1973, with David Soul as a vigilante bike cop); The Enforcer (1976, with Tyne "Lacey" Daly as Harry's new and reluctant partner); Sudden Impact (1983, the weakest of the lot costarring Eastwood's then-partner Sondra Locke) and The Dead Pool (1988, a surprisingly upbeat end to the series). --Mark Walker