Published On: Wed, Jun 1st, 2022

Clint Eastwood’s fury over ‘politically correct’ Dirty Harry critics: ‘Killing ourselves!’ | Films | Entertainment

Today marks Eastwood’s 92nd birthday, with thousands of messages of goodwill sent to the Hollywood icon on social media. The Californian remains one of cinema’s biggest stars, and has earned a fierce reputation for the steely characters he portrays, in hits such as Million Dollar Baby, the spaghetti Westerns and Gran Torino. The acclaim has been universal, and resulted in Eastwood clinching four Academy Awards, two for Best Director and two for Best Picture.

Eastwood has been outspoken on a number of issues throughout his career, including backing calls for more restrictions on gun control in the US.

But in one outburst, Eastwood attacked woke viewers who slammed his film Dirty Harry, the film that features one of Eastwood’s most iconic roles, released in 1971.

It follows the story Harry Callahan, played by Eastwood, and his time in the San Francisco Police Department, and his attempts to catch a killer — a storyline which drew upon the real life case of the Zodiac Killer.

The film was well-received and became an instant commercial success, and was later included in a number of the American Film Institute’s greatest film lists.

But in 2017, nearly 50 years on, Eastwood acknowledged that while many loved the film, others had immediately criticised the nature of its content.

Speaking at the Cannes Film Festival, he described the film as “far-out” for a Seventies flick, but that he and director Don Siegel “liked it”.

He continued: “A lot of people thought it was politically incorrect.

“That was at the beginning of the era that we’re in now with political correctness.

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“If it works on the first take and you print it, everybody gets in that mood — ‘Okay, we’re going somewhere.’”

Around the time of the film’s release, many people were uneasy with several high-profile murder cases having taken place, like the Zodiac killer in the San Francisco Bay area.

Shortly after Dirty Harry hit cinemas, some copycat crimes took place, including the Faraday School kidnapping in October, 1972.

Astonishingly, among the armed men who kidnapped a teacher and six schoolchildren was one criminal with the surname Eastwood.

The crooks demanded more than what was back then AUD$1,000,000, but the children managed to escape and the kidnappers were jailed.

In 2008, Eastwood discussed the film with MTV, including the possibility of Frank Sinatra playing the title role in Dirty Harry.

He said: “They tried Frank Sinatra and Robert Mitchum and Steve McQueen. Then they finally ended up with Frank Sinatra.

“I was in post production [on Play Misty for Me], and they called up and asked, ‘Are you still interested in ‘Dirty Harry’?’

“I said, ‘What happened to Frank Sinatra?’ And they said, ‘Frank Sinatra’s got some problem with his hand and he can’t hold a gun.’

“That sounded like a pretty lame excuse, but it didn’t matter to me.

“I said, ‘I’ll do it.’ But since they had initially talked to me, there had been all these rewrites. I said, ‘ only interested in the original script.'”

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