Reviews of movies from my giant DVD tower, and more.
One of the great things about my local multiplex cinema, besides the fact it’s just a six-minute walk from home, and offers the best-tasting theater popcorn on Earth, is their weekly screening of classic movies, called Tuesday Night Classics. I go once every few months, and it’s a real kick to be able to watch a favorite movie—or one I’ve never seen, for that matter—on the big screen for just five bucks a pop. And that’s what I did last year with the Clint Eastwood renegade cop thriller Dirty Harry, one of five revival screenings I went to at the Harkins Arrowhead Fountains 18 back in 2016.
This was my first time seeing Dirty Harry at an actual theater, and once again the Arrowhead chose to show it in their largest auditorium, and with a flawless print that I could only guess was either digitally-presented in 4K or projected from a Blu-ray disc. What was also nice about this particular visit was that I wasn’t going alone: my sister Kelly was joining me, and since she’d never seen a Dirty Harry movie before, I was looking forward to introducing this film and, eventually, the rest of the series to her.
For those of you not familiar with the story, Eastwood plays ‘Dirty’ Harry Callahan, an SFPD homicide inspector who not only plays by his own rules, but backs them up with a Smith & Wesson .44 Magnum revolver, “the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off.” A serial killer going by the name of Scorpio is terrorizing the city, and Harry is assigned to handle the case. After a succession of chases, confrontations, and mind games are played out between the two, Scorpio kidnaps a busload of children and takes them to a remote quarry, where he waits for the city to deliver $200,000 in ransom money and a flight out of the country. Harry, of course, has other plans for him.
I’ve watched Dirty Harry many times over the years, from television to tape to disc, so I pretty much know it by heart, but viewing it again in this giant format made it seem like a brand new experience for me…as if I’d traveled back in time and was seeing it during its first theatrical run back in 1971. Like my big-screen viewing of Jaws, there was just so much more to see, and so many new things to find within the camera frame that I hadn’t noticed before. Also, for a film made in the early 1970s, I was surprised at how sharp and vibrant the picture was, even projected to that size. And of course, the sound of that Magnum kabooming in a theater setting was just plain cool.
As I mentioned, it was a blast having my sister there that night, sharing in the fun; she and I were able to see two more of these Harkins TNC screenings before she packed up and moved to Indiana later that year. I figured our trips to the cinema were over, but several months later she decided to move back, and we’ve continued with our monthly—and sometimes weekly—movie get-togethers ever since. And with the Arrowhead currently being retrofitted with luxury seating, it’s possible that our Tuesday evenings will be booked solid until the end of 2018; now, if I can only get them to screen Magnum Force and The Enforcer…