Thursday 29 July 2021

Dirty Harry 50th Anniversary: Unearthing the roots of Dirty Harry

Dirty Harry 50th Anniversary: Unearthing the roots of Dirty Harry-
Unearthing the foundations of Dirty Harry is a rather complex affair. It's a foggy picture to say the least, and one that hasn't really been explored to any satisfying degree. Instead we have always been provided with bits and pieces of the story, a cluster of virtual cuttings in order to try and piece together a fuller, more conclusive picture. In many ways, it remains a jigsaw of a puzzle - a puzzle that is seemingly and consistently missing a few vital pieces. This written piece is not intended to be a definitive or conclusive account of the Dirty Harry story, but instead an attempt to construct a rough timeline or guide by using the information that has emerged over the passing decades. It's a history that really needs (and deserves) a far greater and more accurate account. 

Terrence Malick and Martin Sheen on Badlands

The script, titled Dead Right was written by the husband-and-wife team of Harry Julian Fink and Rita M. Fink. Joyce Heims (1930 - 1978) (whilst working at Universal) was also uncredited for co-writing the story of Eastwood's character. Harry Julian Fink (July 7th, 1923 – August 8th, 2001) was a television and film writer known for Have Gun – Will Travel (1957-1963) and as one of the original writers who created Dirty Harry. Fink wrote for various television shows in the 1950s and 1960s, and also created several, including NBC's T.H.E. Cat, starring Robert Loggia, and Tate starring David McLean. His first film work was the Sam Peckinpah film Major Dundee (1965). He also worked on Ice Station Zebra (1968), and, with his wife Rita on Big Jake (1971), Dirty Harry (1971) and Cahill U.S. Marshal (1973). Sometime in the late 1960's, agent turned producer Mike Medavoy entered the picture. Medavoy worked in obtaining freelance work (in revising scripts) for a young and talented writer Terrence Malick. Malick spent some 5 weeks writing several early, uncredited drafts of Dirty Harry. 
Jennings Lang
A total of 4 drafts of the script were produced in 1970. Universal Studios had optioned the screenplay from the Finks and Jennings Lang had actually sold the rights to ABC Television with the idea of producing a TV movie of the week. It is hard to pinpoint at this stage if anyone (actors or director) were attached to the project. However, Eastwood first saw the script back in 1969 when Jennings Lang presented it to him (while the project was still at Universal). So Eastwood was already intimately familiar with the early stages of the Dirty Harry project. 
At this point it is worth taking a look at what was typically involved in these early drafts. Originally it was based on a hard-edged New York City police inspector, Harry Callahan. The story began with an opening scene that has Harry lecturing a class of police cadets on "stopping power," demonstrating by firing various guns at a row of watermelons. Callahan is determined to stop Travis, a serial killer, even if he has to skirt the law and accepted standards of policing, blurring the distinction between criminal and cop, to address the question as to how far a free, democratic society can go to protect itself. 
Within these scripts, Travis's victims are not innocent people, like the women in the rooftop swimming pool or the young black boy Charlie Russell in the finished version of Dirty Harry, but instead powerful criminals, the kind the police can't touch, as in Magnum Force (1973). It seems that the seeds of what would eventually become the sequel to Dirty Harry were first sown here.
The ending takes place at the airport, where the killer, Harry and Chico shoot it out after Travis has killed one of the police snipers stationed there and shot down a helicopter. Some versions even demoted Harry to a cameo by the last reel of the film as Marine snipers instead took out Travis! Another earlier version of the story was also set in Seattle, Washington. The story was rapidly becoming a mess. 
Draft after draft was attempted as the Finks and their production cohort Jennings Lang was also attempting to find the perfect actor to fill the role of Harry Callahan. Whilst all of these attempts to solidify a script (and a cast) continued, the screen rights were quickly running out of time. Eventually, the amount of violence in the script was deemed too excessive for television and the rights were  returned to the Finks. 

Warner Bros: A New Home
Rare Warner Bros. Trade brochure
Warner Bros. purchased the script with a view to casting Frank Sinatra in the lead. Sinatra was 55 at the time and since the character of Harry Callahan was originally written as a man in his mid-to-late 50s (and Eastwood was then only 41), Sinatra at least fit the character profile. Initially, Warner Bros. wanted either Sydney Pollack or Irvin Kershner to direct. Kershner was eventually hired once Sinatra was finally attached to the title role. It was during this time that James Caan was also tentatively pencilled in as Travis. For anyone who had seen Caan, and in particular his performance as Randall O'Connell in Lady in a Cage (1964), it wasn’t too hard to understand how this young actor (in his first substantial film role) couldn’t successfully play a psychopathic killer. 
Whilst the project seemed to be gathering pace at Warner Bros, It was still far from a smooth transition. It was around this period that upcoming writer John Milius entered the frame with a written script that was submitted on September 23rd 1970. Like Malick, Milius was also part of the New Hollywood scene. A group of young maverick filmmakers and writers who would completely reshape modern cinema throughout the 1970's. Malick's involvement with Dirty Harry seemed to have come to an end. In Paul Maher Jr’s book One Big Soul: An Oral History of Terrence Malick, it was cited that ‘Malick, in his own words, was eventually fired by Warner Bros, it was evident that he was far too talented for just rewrites, in fact by 1970, Malick, at age 27, was already working on his own screenplay for Badlands (1973) and was the first feature film that Malick had written for himself to direct.’ Most of Malick’s written material for Dirty Harry was carried over and used in Magnum Force. 
John Milius
Rare advance Ad with Irvin Kershner and Frank Sinatra as Harry
John Milius claimed that he was given three weeks to write a screenplay for Sinatra. He said his main contribution to the film was "a lot of guns and the attitude of Dirty Harry, being a cop who was ruthless. I think it's fairly obvious if you look at the rest of my work what parts are mine. The cop being the same as the killer except he has a badge. And being lonely ... I wanted it to be like Stray Dog; I was thinking in terms of Kurosawa's detective films. In my script version, there's just more outrageous Milius crap where I had the killer in the bus with a flamethrower. I tried to make the guy as outrageous as possible. I had him get a police photographer to take a picture of him with all the kids lined up at the school – he kidnaps them at the school, actually – and they showed the picture to the other police after he's made his demands; he wants a 747 (which is where the Airport ending probably first came into play) to take him away to a country where he'll be free of police harassment, terrible things like this. And the children all end up like a graduation picture, and the teacher is saying, ‘what is that object under Andy Robinson?’ and a cop says, ‘That's a Claymore mine.’ Teacher asks, ‘What's a Claymore mine?’ And we hear the voice of Harry say, ‘If he sets it off, they're all spaghetti.’ Chief says, ‘That's enough, Harry.’ Everybody said, ‘that’s too much, John; we can't have Milius doing this kind of stuff.’ I wanted the guy to be just totally outrageous all the time, and he is. I think Siegel restrained it enough.”

The young James Caan suggested as Travis
Another ending of a Milius script took place in a slaughterhouse, where the killer is employed, and ends not with gun-play (Travis fights Harry and eventually disarms him of his own gun), but with Harry and Travis duelling on a catwalk, Harry wielding a knife and Travis a 2" by 4". Harry stabs Travis in the solar plexus and he topples over the railing and falls forty feet down the sluice onto a pile of bones, while Harry, who is seriously hurt but, it should be clear, will not die, topples off the catwalk  into a pen of sheep. After a moment, he collects himself and sits down in a feed trough, overcome by a new surge of exhaustion and the sheep surround him.

A "Rev. Final" draft dated November 17th 1970 was submitted featuring the combined writing of Harry Julian Fink, Terrence Malick and John Milius. (below)
Meanwhile, elsewhere in pre-production, things seemed to be going from bad to worse. Despite some early publicity (above) announcing Sinatra as star and Irvin Kershner as director, Sinatra eventually left the film after a reported wrist injury which had left him unable to handle the heavy Magnum gun. Once Sinatra left the project, Kershner quickly followed. 

Once Sinatra had left the project, the producers started to consider younger actors for the role. Burt Lancaster turned down the lead role because he strongly disagreed with the violent, end-justifies-the-means moral of the story. He believed the role and plot contradicted his belief in collective responsibility for criminal and social justice and the protection of individual rights. Marlon Brando was considered for the role, but was never formally approached. John Wayne and Robert Mitchum were approached but both declined. In his 1980 interview with Playboy, George C. Scott claimed that he was initially offered the role, but the script's violent nature led him to turn it down. Both Steve McQueen and Paul Newman turned down the role. McQueen refused to make another "cop movie" after Bullitt (1968). Newman believed the character was too "right-wing" for him, but did however suggest that the film would be a good vehicle for Eastwood. 
Warner Bros. offered Eastwood the part whilst he was still in post-production with his directorial debut film Play Misty for me (1971). By December 17, 1970, a Warner Bros. studio press release announced that Clint Eastwood would star in Dirty Harry as well as produce the film through his company, Malpaso.

Eastwood was handed a number of scripts, but he ultimately reverted to the original as the best vehicle for him. Believing that the rewrites had ruined the point of the entire story and proclaimed "I'm only interested in the original script" and he also demanded rewrites. Another of Eastwood’s provisos was that Don Siegel direct the film. Ironically, Siegel was locked into a contract with Universal Studios (the studio that previously owned the rights to Dirty Harry). Eastwood went back to the studio heads at Universal and made a request that Siegel could be loaned to Warner Bros for the project. Universal agreed and Eastwood (and Warner Brothers) had secured their helmsman.

Siegel further agreed with Eastwood on the scripts and both star and director rejected them all. The villain, now renamed "Scorpio", was to be a mindless killing machine who committed psychopathic murders simply because he liked to. Terrence Malick had written the killer as an anti-heroic vigilante who killed wealthy criminals who had escaped justice. Siegel hated the idea and Eastwood agreed that it wasn’t right for this film, but the story stuck with him and he decided later to revisit the concept in Magnum Force. 

Writer Dean Riesner
Eastwood and Siegel hired Dean Riesner (November 3rd, 1918 – August 18th, 2002) to rewrite the screenplay. Riesner had already worked successfully with Eastwood and Siegel on Coogan's Bluff (1968) and on Eastwood's recently completed Play Misty for me (1971). At Eastwood’s instructions, Riesner reverted back and used the original Fink and Fink script as the basis for the film with some biting (and quotable) dialogue from the John Milius version kept in and reshaped the plot and Scorpio into a retelling of the real-life saga behind the Zodiac Killer.

The real-life Zodiac Killer was an unidentified serial killer who had committed five murders in the San Francisco Bay Area several years earlier. Elements of Gary Stephen Krist were also worked into the characterisation, as Scorpio, like Krist, kidnaps a young girl and buries her alive while demanding ransom. In a later novelisation of the film, Scorpio was referred to as "Charles Davis", a former mental patient from Springfield, Massachusetts who murdered his grandparents as a teenager. 

There are significant differences between the novelisation and the film. Among the differences are: Scorpio's point of view — in the book he uses astrology to make decisions (including being inspired to abduct Ann Mary Deacon); Harry working on a murder case involving a mugger before he is assigned to Scorpio; the omission of the suicide jumper; and Harry throwing away his badge at the end. The paperback tie-in novels were by Phillip George Rock (July 30th, 1927 - April 3rd, 2004) and based on the screenplay by Harry Julian Fink, Rita M. Fink and Dean Riesner. 
The UK paperback                     Phillip Rock                     The US paperback
Audie Murphy was initially considered to play Scorpio, but he tragically died in a plane crash before his decision on the offer could be made. The part eventually went to a relatively unknown actor, Andy Robinson. Eastwood had seen Robinson in a play called ‘Subject to Fits’ and recommended him for the role of Scorpio; his unkempt appearance fit the bill for a psychologically unbalanced individual. Siegel told Robinson that he cast him in the role of the Scorpio killer because he wanted someone "with a face like a choirboy". Robinson's portrayal was so memorable that after the film was released he was reported to have received several death threats and was forced to get an unlisted telephone number.

February 8th, 1971 script
In a 2009 MTV interview, Eastwood said "Since they had initially talked to me, there had been all these rewrites. I said, 'I'm only interested in the original script'." Looking back on the 1971 Don Siegel film, he said "The rewrites had changed everything. They had Marine snipers coming on in the end. And I said No. This is losing the point of the whole story of the guy chasing the killer down. It's becoming an extravaganza that's losing its character." Eastwood would also reflect that "Warner Bros. had just had a cop film come out, with McQueen (Bullitt) and the whole climax here again was taking place at an airport. They said, 'OK, do what you want.' So, we just went ahead and made it." 

It is known that at least one prior Fink / Riesner draft was submitted (on February 8th, 1971), but on April 1st, 1971 the official Final Draft of the screenplay for "Dirty Harry", written by H.J. Fink and Dean Riesner was completed. The screenplay consisted of 124 pgs., 546 separate shots and served as an excellent example of what has universally come to be viewed as one of the great crime films of the 1970's. 

It's fair to conclude that Dirty Harry's story - from the printed page to the big screen - was a varied and diverse journey. Whilst it wasn't perhaps the smoothest of landings, it nevertheless catapulted Eastwood from the realms of mere stardom into the upper echelons of superstardom. A critical and commercial success, the film has endured for over half a century. Its influence laid the foundations for a new breed of cop movie, often imitated, rarely equalled, and never surpassed. 50 years on, Dirty Harry remains the original, and the very best of its genre.     


Above: Page One from the Feb 8th 1971 script and the very rare final script from April 1st 1971
Below: Eastwood celebrates Dirty Harry with SCREEN columnist Yani Begakis

Tuesday 27 July 2021

Every which way but Loose Rare Photo

Every which way but Loose Rare Photo

From the recent collection of photos I acquired, I came across this rather unusual still. The scene is from Every which way but Loose (1978). Something was just different about this still – I just couldn’t put my finger on it? However, I decided to pull the Blu-ray of Every which way but Loose, just to refresh my mind, and where all became clear. It was from the confrontation scene between Philo and Lynn when he follows her out of the nightclub after finally catching up with her in Jackson. It was only then that I noticed what was different. Take a look what Sondra Locke is wearing in the Photo compared to a screen capture from the movie. It’s something entirely different. Her hair is up and the same, the street background is the same and Clint’s costume is the same. Obviously, it is either a rehearsal that was captured (and Locke was wearing an extra layer) or perhaps a completely different alternative take…. 

Either way, it’s a nice rare shot.

Thursday 22 July 2021

Meet Mr. Jeremy Joe Kronsberg

Meet Mr. Jeremy Joe Kronsberg
Here at the Archive we like to try and produce a few surprises from time to time – stories that perhaps might not appear to be obvious or which initially passed our notice the first time around...  And for that reason - here's how this little story of interest suddenly came about. 
It was about 3 weeks ago when I was kindly offered a private collection of Clint Eastwood stills. They were all glossy, 10” x 8” b/w and totalled some 200. It was an interesting collection actually. Obviously there were some dupes as to be expected. However, from the small sample images I had been sent, there was certainly enough there to get me interested.  The vast amount of this collection consisted of stills from Magnum Force (1973), The Gauntlet (1977) and Every which way but loose (1978). There were also a selection from Bronco Billy (1980) and Any which way you can (1981). From the sample photos that were sent to me, I became more and more focused on a couple of really cool shots of Clint casually chatting with one of the Black Widows gang. 

At first I thought it was simply a nice, on location candid that someone had captured. It was only when I received the collection that I began to take a closer look at these two images. They’re very cool shots, no doubt about it, but I began to wonder, was there any significance behind these two photos? Why Clint with this particular gang member?
That night I pulled the Blu-ray of Every which way but loose – if only to refresh my memory. As it turned out, it was the character of Bruno, a very low key gang member who in fact only had a single line of dialogue throughout the whole movie – and, as a result, really made these photos seem even more insignificant?
It was only after delving deeper into the full cast and credits that everything suddenly became very clear. There on the cast list was Bruno, played by…. Jeremy Joe Kronsberg! Yes, the writer of Every which way but loose.
After all these years I can honestly say I had never made the connection. It’s just a nice little cameo appearance by the author. Sadly, by the time of the sequel, Any which way you can (1981) Mr Kronsberg didn’t revive his role – but it remains a wonderful touch and suddenly the two photos now take on a very special meaning. Unfortunately, there is very little to be found on Jeremy Joe Kronsberg. From what I did manage to find out, it seems that he did move into a bit of teaching and is otherwise happy to lead a very simple and quiet life alongside his wife. Nevertheless, it did provide a nice opportunity to share these very rare photos and a great chance to honour the man who provided us with such an original and hugely successful Eastwood project - and of course, became a pivotal element of that golden decade.
Below: A more recent photo of Jeremy Joe Kronsberg and his wife.

Rare Magnum Force posters:

Rare Magnum Force posters:

Here are a couple of incredible and very rarely seen Magnum Force posters from 1973. The first being an original campus poster size 17”x 27”. For those who may be unfamiliar with the concept of campus posters, in the late 1960s and 1970s, it became fashionable for colleges to show classic movies on campus. The studios would sometimes produce special posters for these college showings, and they would usually have wording such as "To be displayed on campus only" or similar. This could usually be found printed on the bottom of the poster. These posters have now become extremely rare. This Magnum Force design is unlike any other produced – showing Eastwood as Harry and adapted from a still during the shooting competition. Designed in a funky, electric Blue and Pink style, it is certainly a stand out piece of memorabilia. 

The second poster is also a rarely seen example. Produced for the theatrical release of Magnum Force and also dated from 1973, this is the 60”x 40” poster. Produced and printed on card (as opposed to paper stock), this contains the stunning design of Eastwood as Harry posing with the huge .44 barrel in the foreground. A completely different design to that used on the 1 sheet and the half sheet versions, it’s a striking image, as were all of the concepts used for the movie’s U.S. marketing campaign. 

Saturday 10 July 2021

Any Which Way You Can actor William Smith dies at 88

Any Which Way You Can actor William Smith dies at 88
William Smith, the action star who tussled with Clint Eastwood in Any Which Way You Can, made a lasting impression as the evil Falconetti on TV miniseries Rich Man, Poor Man and was a regular on the final season of Hawaii Five-O, died July 5 at the Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital in Woodland Hills, CA. He was 88. His wife Joanne Cervelli Smith confirmed the death. 
A cause of death was not disclosed.

Smith was born in Columbia, MO, in 1933 on his family’s cattle ranch where he grew up surrounded by many beloved horses. Although the Smith family moved to Southern California before he was 10, it was his time spent on the ranch that influenced the roles he’d take during his more than seven decades-long career in TV and film.
He began his career in entertainment as an extra in 1942’s The Ghost of Frankenstein when he was eight years old. Though he played a small uncredited role, more opportunities would follow in Meet Me in St. Louis and The Song of Bernadette.

Before playing a fictional tough guy, he played one in real life after enlisting with the Air Force during the Korean War in 1951 where he flew secret missions. During his service, he made time for higher education he studied at institutions in Syracuse, Munich, and Paris before graduating Cum Laude from UCLA where he earned a master’s degree.

Smith intended to work for the government before agreeing to a contract with MGM in mostly western and biker-themed films and TV shows like Gunsmoke, The Virginian, Perry Mason, Batman, Lassie, and The Mod Squad. In 1965, Smith nabbed the lead role in NBC’s Laredo, where he portrayed Texas Ranger Joe Riley for two seasons until its cancellation in 1967.

He played a lawman again in 1979 when he joined the final season of Hawaii Five-O as Detective James “Kimo” Carew, one of three newcomers to come on board after James MacArthur’s departure. Smith, who was known for playing mostly bad guys, really enjoyed being able to play a hero on the popular CBS procedural. He followed with appearances in Batman, I Dream of Jeannie, Kung Fu, The Rockford Files, The A-Team, The Dukes of Hazzard, Six Million Dollar Man, and Knight Rider.
Perhaps his most memorable TV role came in 1976, when he played Anthony Falconetti in Rich Man, Poor Man, later reprising the role in the sequel Rich Man, Poor Man Book II. The bloodthirsty Falconetti was the archenemy of the series’ central family headed by the Jordache brothers (played by Peter Strauss and, in the first instalment only, Nick Nolte).

Smith rumbled with Eastwood in Buddy Van Horn’s Any Which Way You Can in 1980. Although Roger Ebert said the Any Which Way but Loose sequel was “not very good” in his two-star review at the time, he did enjoy the pairing of Smith and Eastwood.

 “It was to my immense delight that I immediately recognized the actor playing Jack Wilson,” Ebert wrote. 
“He was William (Big Bill) Smith, who played a lot of motorcycle gang leaders in films of the late 1960s and still looks as fearsome as ever. He and Eastwood meet while out jogging one morning, and then he falls off a cliff and is rescued by Eastwood, after which he beats up a lot of guys who insult Eastwood’s girlfriend in a bar.”

The film’s trailer described the fight between Wilson and Philo Beddoe (Eastwood) as “the most knuckle-busting, gut-wrenching, brain-scrambling, butt-bruising, lip-splitting brawl of all time.”
“It has to be one of the longest two-man fights ever done on film without doubles,” Smith said in an interview for Louis Paul’s 2014 book, Tales from the Cult Film Trenches.  “We shot it in Jackson, Wyoming, which is about 8,000 feet high in altitude, and I was smoking so hard at the time.” Smith had also said that “It was very well choreographed. It was a very mobile fight in the fact that it moved from one area to the next. Clint was great to work with. He was quite an accomplished on-screen fighter.” 

Speaking of smoking, Smith was the last actor to portray the Marlboro Man in commercials before they were banned from television, according to The Hollywood Reporter. 

Smith, an avid bodybuilder, appeared in 1982’s Conan the Barbarian as the titular character’s father opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger. He also played the Soviet Colonel Strelnikov in John Milius’ Red Dawn (1984). His final appearance in a film was in Steve Carell’s 2020 comedy Irresistible.
Smith is survived by his wife of 31 years, Joanne Cervelli Smith, son William E. Smith III, and daughter Sherri Anne Cervelli.

Thursday 1 July 2021

Dirty Harry 50th Anniversary Picture Gallery

Dirty Harry 50th Anniversary Picture Gallery

To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Dirty Harry I thought it was about time to take a scan of some of my Dirty Harry Press Stills in order to make a new gallery. Consisting of 112 images, I have begun with 2 colour stills that were personally signed for me by Clint, one of which is dedicated and one which is not. The next section are all black and white 10” x 8” inch stills which around 95% are original and were issued by Warner Bros for the film’s original release. Some are a little later for re-release or have come from Broadcast companies such as NBC etc. The final section is colour 10” x 8” glossy photos which are of the commercial variety. They are of course not as valuable or collectable as the original stills, but are often very nice shots are very much worth buying if you are a collector. This section does not include Lobby Cards or FOH stills, just original stills that were handed out to the Press, Magazine publications or found in Press Kits for the film’s initial release. These were never available for commercial sale. Today, these stills have largely been replaced by Digital Media, a CD-Rom or simply a Digital file sent to editors. The end of genuine Photographs marked the end of a Golden era. 
I should also point out that the watermark does not appear on the original photographs.