Dirty Harry

Featured In Issue 133, July/August 2008

WSR Score4
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
Warner Home Video
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Don Siegel
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Dolby TrueHD 5.1, Dolby Digital 5.1
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Filmed on location in San Francisco, "Dirty Harry" is a riveting action thriller dedicated to the police officers "who gave their lives in the line of duty." Harry Callahan (Eastwood) is a tough, streetwise cop assigned to find a vicious rooftop sniper, known as Scorpio (Robinson), who is demanding a ransom with the threat of killing again. Callahan's desperation to catch the ruthless killer leads him to disregard the Bill of Rights—and their cat-and-mouse game becomes more deadly. (Suzanne Hodges)

Special features are on Disc One of the two-disc DVD set is a feature commentary track by Eastwood Biographer Richard Schickel; the 30-minute Dirty Harry: The Original and seven-minute Dirty Harry's Way featurettes; an Interview Gallery featuring interviews with Patricia Clarkson (two minutes), Joel Cox (four minutes), Clint Eastwood (six minutes), Hal Holbrook (one minute), and Evan Kim (two minutes); and the original theatrical trailers for all five of the Dirty Harry films. On Disc Two there is a 26-minute featurette The Long Shadow Of Dirty Harry and a 1993 58-minute TV special The Man From Malpaso.

The anamorphically enhanced 2.39:1 DVD shows quite good resolution for a film this old, but it isn't as sharp as other recent re-releases. Compared to the DVD reviewed in Issue 56, this is a marked improvement, though. Shadow detail and black levels are solid, and source element artifacts are cleaned up significantly. Still, dirt specks and heavy noise can occasionally be a distraction. Minor compression artifacts can be recognized from time to time, and a digital harshness can detract from the movie. Colors are much more naturally saturated than the Issue 56 version, and while still noticeable, edge enhancement has been tamed considerably. The VC-1-encoded Blu-ray Disc appears dated and soft, with some black crush noticeable. Fleshtones have overly pumped highlights, with high overall contrast. Colors are fairly well saturated, but generally appear dated. (Danny Richelieu)

The Dolby® Digital 5.1-channel soundtrack is very basic, with little surround integration or deep bass, and sounds very similar to the audio encoding on the DVD reviewed in Issue 56. Bass definition and fidelity all around sound somewhat dated, although both are adequate for the film's age. Spatial dimensionality is likewise dated, sounding constrained and lifeless. Dialogue sounds smeared at times, but the noise floor is low, and distortion is cleaned up some over the previous release. The Blu-ray Disc's lossless Dolby TrueHD encoding improves fidelity slightly, but is still noticeably dated. (Danny Richelieu)