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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
Coogan's Bluff marked the first of six films that Clint Eastwood was to do with director Don Siegel, the most famous of them being of course Dirty Harry. The film will also contain no shots of the former location of the legendary Polo Grounds which were at that spot on Manhattan island.
Clint Eastwood's charisma is what carries this film through because he's playing one of the most dislikeable characters he ever essayed on the right side of the law. He's a deputy sheriff from Piute County, Arizona who has his own way of doing things. When we first meet him instead of following sheriff Tom Tully's orders and staying at a roadblock, Eastwood follows a hunch and captures fugitive Indian Rudy Diaz in the inimitable Clint fashion.
That he got the man doesn't cut it with Tully. He sends Clint on assignment to New York to extradite Don Stroud wanted in Arizona. When he gets to New York, Stroud is in Bellevue Psych Ward. There are procedures to get him out says Police Lieutenant Lee J. Cobb, but Clint cuts through them and while Stroud's in custody, he effects an escape.
Seduce them for clues is Eastwood's investigative technique as he works on parole officer Susan Clark and Stroud's girlfriend Tisha Sterling. Tisha proves to be a formidable adversary and bed partner, yes she's both. Tisha's pretty unforgettable as the amoral hippie chick from the era.
Also unforgettable is Betty Field in what proved to be her final big screen role as Stroud's tramp of a mother. Clint doesn't quite have to get down and dirty with her, but I think he would have been up to it if needed.
A lot of attitudes that were later exhibited in Dirty Harry are in Coogan's Bluff. Walt Coogan has the same attitude towards criminals and the rules that prevent him from dealing with them as he'd like.
Some nice location shots of New York, including an unforgettable chase scene through Fort Tryon Park in the upper reaches of Manhattan. Not as good as some of Clint Eastwood's other films, still Coogan's Bluff is a must for his fans.
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