A hard but mediocre cop is assigned to escort a prostitute into custody from Las Vegas to Phoenix, so that she can testify in a mob trial. But a lot of people are literally betting that they won't make it into town alive.
As the film opens on an Oklahoma farm during the depression, two simultaneous visitors literally hit the Wagoneer home: a ruinous dust storm and a convertible crazily driven by Red, the ... See full summary »
Coogan, an Arizona cop, is sent to New York to collect a prisoner. Everyone in New York assumes Coogan is from Texas, much to his annoyance. To add to Coogan's problems the prisoner isn't ready, so he decides to cut a few corners. In the process the prisoner escapes, and Coogan is ordered home. Too proud to return home empty handed, Coogan sets out into the big city to recapture his prisoner. Written by
Near the start of the film, when Coogan first meets Julie he has a cigarette held firmly in his mouth. In the next shot, the cigarette disappears. See more »
[while holding a broken bottle in Wonderful Digby's face]
All right now, I don't like violence, Mr. Wonderful whatever your name is. You better drop that blade, or you won't believe what happens next, even while it's happening.
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Walt Coogan (Clint Eastwood) an Arizona deputy sheriff is sent to New York to collect a prisoner (Don Stroud). After learning that it might take a while before he can get his prisoner he decides to take it in own hands to bring him back, but while doing so he is jumped at the airport and the prisoner escapes. So now it's personal and he uses his western methods to recapture his man, but the city cops don't share his ways.
Before they teamed up for the classic cop film "Dirty Harry" (1971) - Don Siegel directed Clint Eastwood in an earlier and under-appreciated cop drama "Coogen's Bluff". I came across this film only knowing that it starred Eastwood and that's about it. But to my surprise it had more to it than Eastwood's strong persona, but it was engaging and clever entertainment by director Don Siegel. What it generates is a violent and hard-hitting police story that has superb attention to detail and is particularly well crafted. There's so many things going for it that you may or may not notice all the small hints that the film possesses on the clash of two different cultures (city vs. western) and the protagonist being dragged into the wicked and dirty side of the hippie drug circuit. This is when he learns that he is out of his league and that he has to adapt to this city way off life to get his man, sometimes with dire consequences because he grows slowly attached to it. Add in some psychedelic overtones and a spaced out feel to evoke the carefree era. The whole setup is naturally staged and doesn't feel forced. Siegel seems to have a knack of creating a gritty mood, but also capturing the life of the unique surroundings, from the Arizona deserts (excellent opening sequence) to the harsh city life. This was helped by fluid camera-work with its high shots and smooth pans that are well staged. The location photography and dashing settings are two of the strong points of this production. Another is the rousing score that mixes some western tang into the equation. Throw in edgy and sharp dialogue, with also scathing humour and an abundance of Texas gags against our protagonist. Siegel's paces the film perfectly and generates tension in some well-designed action scenes, one being the bike chase scene through the park. Though, this film isn't overtly filled with just action and violence. It's an amusing watch with a set-up that has more to it! Eastwood gives an iconic cool-as-ice performance as the Texas, ah I mean Arizona deputy sheriff who adapts his hunting techniques for the big city and who's quick with a sharp reply. Lee J. Cobb is good as the arrogant Det. Lt. McElroy, NYPD who has no time for Coogan or his antics. Susan Clark plays Julie Roth a probation officer and possibly Coogan's love interest. A superb Don Stroud weaselly plays James Ringerman the criminal who Coogan's after and Tisha Sterling plays Ringerman's hippie girlfriend. There's also a small role by a feisty Betty Field as Mrs. Ellen Ringerman.
Actually, it's hard to find one thing that I didn't actually like about the film. Highly recommended!
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