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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Jan. 14, 1974)
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At the end of the film Dirty Harry, Clint Eastwood takes
off his detective's badge and throws it into the water along
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just killed. He is disgusted at the hindering legal system that
had given him so much trouble in apprehending his criminal.
But in Magnum Force, a sequel to Dirty Harry, the badge is
back on and Detective Harry Callahan once more is on the job
amid stranae characters anH wnmoH rhiincrr.h;Qr i,r,A : ,
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San Francisco background. Except for Eastwood and a lot of
S action, the films have little in common.
Magnum Force finds Harry up against a group of killers,
dressed like oolicemen who
city's biggest crime leaders. Harry is still his independent self,
plagued by a hounding police supervisor (Hal Holbrook) who
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cuetiive, dux violent, metnous.
The arrangement of the forces of good and evil are much
more complex than in Dirty Harry. That film was almost a
piece of propaganda against the liberals and their choking off
o an effective means for the police to combat crime. The evil
there was a maddened killer, released on a legai technicality
and finally eliminated only by the frowned-upon methods of
Harry. Evil was easily defined and identifiable. It killed
innocent young persons, and the audience was manipulated to
desire only one end-to see this contemptible rot hurt and
In Magnum Force things are not so easy. The film is
meaningful in terms of contemporary politics and seems not so
much a product of its director (Ted Post, a rather mediocre
filmmaker with past credits like Hang 'Em High, Bsneath the
Planet of the Apex and The Harrod Experiment) as it does of
its screenwriter and author, John Milius. Milius perhaps is the
foremost figure in a recent trend that has seen young, brash,
film schooled and coltecjo-bred writers emerge as a strong force
The movie soon lets us know that the villains are a small
group of rookie traffic cops. They a;e well trained end deadly
shots who are working for a corrupt high official in the police
force. When we first see them, they are nice
guys well-groomed and likeable All-American types. They
seem a reflection on the Watergate era when some of the real
villains arc within the system and not so easily identified or as
easy to hate.
But they are brutally efttctive nonetheless, easily stopping
cars on the highway and then simply firing slug after slug into
the bodies of criminal bi(j shuts. In Dirty Harry, the poiico
were getting killed-now the police are the Killers.
Where he had previously cione outside tho legal system,
Hurry now seems to sink back into it. "You hate the system",
he says, ' but until some one comes up with some changes like
something he would have said in Dirty Harry,, but situations
have changed. Thot film was propaganda for police power, arid
this one shows where it has led."
Harry as an independent also uses that power, but he is stil!
the incorruptible, brave protector of the people. Eastwood is
perfect for the part. He is ihe cjreat stone face of the '70s; a
cool daring, rugged character whose style reflects his hug
box office appeal. Kids in the film love him, anct tho young
woman who lives down the hall asks him point blank, if she
can go to bed with him.
He is not dynamic superhero. He is tho type who c;n boatd
a hijacked airplane impersonating a pi!ot, even though ho has
no idea how to fly. A few minutes later he will walk away, th
hijackers dead and the passengers safe. Cool and unemotional,
he is, as Eastwood himself put it, "a dream character for most
The ending is not as satisfying as the test of the film.
Instead of the hunter, it finds Harr being chased by the
young policemen trying to kill him because he knows their
secret. It is worth noting that here is not seen handsome
smiling faces of young men. All that is visible is the grim
determination hidden behind the sunglasses, helmets and
But Magnum Force remains, above ali this, a very good
action entertainer that holds the moviegoer on the edge of his
chair for an exciting, fast -paced ride.
It is probably not as technically manipulative ;s Dirty
Harry, but it is equally as meaningful. Especially during times
when criminals are being found in unexpected places and the
mean?, perhaps, do riot always justify the end.
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Clint Eastwood takes airu in Mdynum Form.
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Your toughest professor just caught you
in his bedroom with his daughter.
He's grading your final exam right now.
Good luck, ''7?
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Coupon Expires Jan. 21
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TOWARDS PURCHASE OF ANY
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