( I had this post stored, but not posted)
First things first Harry is but the latest in the lengthy history of San Francisco vigilanteism. One of the major streets in South of Market (Brannan) is named after one of the first lynch mob leaders. So it’s the right city, right, time, right actor.
I never thought anyone looked good in a brown suit - to me it visuall smacks of sleazy used car salesman (although that genre of individual seems to prefer polo shirts and khakis these days) - but big bad Clint pulls it off.
And really, just how badass is Clint Eastwood. He can look like a mean dude in a powder blue windbreaker and sunglasses. Not many people can pull that off.
He’s bad. Bad like Gene Hackman as Popeye Doyle bad.
This period of late 70s, San Francisco, total nihilist, cinema was really quite a movement. In Harry everyone dies - the hero doesn’t rescue anyone from Scorpio - the only thing that’s worth anything is retribution and vengeance. Even at the same time Gene Hackman’s character in The Conversation is moving into a state of total paranoio but a few districts away as the watchers become the watched and trust melts into oblivion.
I suppose this is the natural consequence of the Vietnam era, blood and distrust were the only vocabulary for the masses. How sad. I suppose this is why the “Morning in America” schtick of Reagan and the rise of the next generation on the silver screen (i.e. the John Hughes / Ringwald / St. Elmo’s fire juggernaut) was so successful when it came…