Film Review – THE BEGUILED (1971)

Beguiled, The (1971; USA; Technicolor; 109m) ∗∗∗∗  d. Don Siegel; w. John B. Sherry, Grimes Grice; ph. Bruce Surtees; m. Lalo Schifrin.  Cast: Clint Eastwood, Geraldine Page, Elizabeth Hartman, Jo Ann Harris, Darleen Carr, Mae Mercer, Pamelyn Ferdin, Melody Thomas, Peggy Drier. A wounded Union soldier who has been taken in at a Southern girls’ school. The girls become curious and then sensuous. But when jealousy sparks, the anger is ultimately focused on the soldier. Haunting tale with Eastwood playing against type. Themes of repression, sodomy and sexual frustration are well-handled by Siegel and Page is excellent as a headmistress with her own secrets. Based on the novel by Thomas Cullinan. [15]

Film Review – DIRTY HARRY (1971)

Dirty Harry (1971; USA; Technicolor; 102m) ∗∗∗∗½  d. Don Siegel; w. Harry Julian Fink, Rita M. Fink, Dean Riesner; ph. Bruce Surtees; m. Lalo Schifrin.  Cast: Clint Eastwood, Harry Guardino, John Mitchum, Reni Santoni, Andrew Robinson, John Larch, John Vernon, Josef Sommer, Woodrow Parfrey, Mae Mercer, Lyn Edgington, Woodrow Parfrey, William Paterson, Maurice Argent. When a mad man calling himself ‘the Scorpio Killer’ menaces the city, tough as nails San Francisco Police Inspector Harry Callahan is assigned to track down and ferret out the crazed psychopath. Influential, efficient and effective crime thriller with Eastwood establishing the blueprint for all maverick cop characters that followed. Siegel handles it all with style. Dynamite jazz rock music score from Schifrin. Sommer’s first film. The first of five movies starring Eastwood as Inspector “Dirty” Harry Callahan. Followed by MAGNUM FORCE (1973). [18]

Film Review – COOGAN’S BLUFF (1968)

Coogan’s Bluff (1968; USA; Technicolor; 93m) ∗∗∗½  d. Don Siegel; w. Herman Miller, Dean Riesner, Howard Rodman; ph. Bud Thackery; m. Lalo Schifrin.  Cast: Clint Eastwood, Lee J. Cobb, Susan Clark, Don Stroud, Tisha Sterling, Betty Field, Tom Tully, David Doyle, James Edwards, Louis Zorich, Melodie Johnson, Rudy Diaz, Meg Myles, Seymour Cassel, Marjorie Bennett. An Arizona deputy goes to New York City to escort a fugitive back into custody. First collaboration between Eastwood and Siegel is a pointer to things to come with Eastwood’s economic and laconic approach  perfectly complemented by Siegel’s efficient direction. Cobb is excellent as world-weary NYC lieutenant and the script is both punchy and witty. Inspiration for the TV series McCloud starring Dennis Weaver. [15]

Film Review – EDGE OF ETERNITY (1959)

EDGE OF ETERNITY (1959, Thunderbird Productions, Inc., USA, 81 mins, Colour, 2.35:1, Mono, Cert: U, Crime/Drama) ∗∗∗∗∗
      Starring: Cornel Wilde (Les Martin), Victoria Shaw (Janice Kendon), Mickey Shaughnessy (Scotty O’Brien), Edgar Buchanan (Sheriff Edwards), Rian Garrick (Bob Kendon), Jack Elam (Bill Ward), Alexander Lockwood (Jim Kendon), Dabbs Greer (Gas Station Attendant), Tom Fadden (Eli Jones), Wendell Holmes (Sam Houghton).
      Producer: Kendrick Sweet; Director: Don Siegel; Writer: Knut Swenson, Richard Collins (based on a story by Ben Markson and Knut Swenson); Director of Photography: Burnett Guffey; Music: Daniele Amfitheatrof; Film Editor: Jerome Thoms; Art Director: Robert Peterson; Set Decorator: Frank A. Tuttle; Costume Designer: Izzy Berne, Edna Taylor.

edge-of-eternity-x28-1959-x29-cornel-wilde-victoria-shaw-1212-p[ekm]221x336[ekm]The stunning photography in and around the Grand Canyon is the real star of this taut crime drama directed by Don Siegel. Guffey’s aerial swoops (courtesy of Skymasters International) and widescreen vistas add an extra dimension to the familiar greed-driven murder plot.

Wilde is a deputy sheriff looking to atone for his past mistakes in the hunt for a killer driven by a desire to unearth un-mined gold deposits in a ghost mining town. As the murder count rises and Wilde gets close to the wealthy miner’s daughter (Shaw) we are taken on a twisting journey toward an excellent fight finale on a transport bucket hanging from a cable stretched across the Canyon.

The acting is solid at best with Buchanan the most impressive as the aging sheriff. Siegel keeps the plot moving and the editing is tight. But those stunning image of “Filmed at one of the Wonders of the World: The Grand Canyon”, as the titles proudly announce, are what lift this neat thriller above the routine.