Don Siegel’s cop movie was received as a right-wing fantasy on its release in 1971, and it probably made a lot of money on that basis. But now that the political context has faded, it’s easier to see the ambiguities in Clint Eastwood’s renegade detective—who, in the usual Siegel fashion, is equated visually and morally with the psychotic killer he’s trampling the Constitution to catch. A crisp, beautifully paced film, full of Siegel’s wonderful coups of cutting and framing. With Reni Santoni, Harry Guardino, Andy Robinson, and John Vernon.
R • 1 hour 42 min • 1971