Saturday, March 28, 2015

Coogan's Bluff

Coogan's Bluff; action/ crime, USA, 1968; D: Don Siegel, S: Clint Eastwood, Susan Clark, Don Stroud, Lee J. Cobb, Tisha Sterling

Coogan is a crude and raw Sheriff in Arizona who catches outlaws and criminals using very direct methods. One day, he is sent to New York to escort a criminal, Ringerman, to Arizona. Coogan is confused by the big city and all the rules, since he has to wait for days to get an official document approving him to pick up Ringerman. Tired of waiting, Coogan tricks the jail guard into handing him Ringerman anyway. However, on his way back, Ringerman escapes. Too humiliated to return home empty handed, Coogan stays in New York searching for the criminal. Using Ringerman's girlfriend, he finds the outlaw, arrests him and the two return back to Arizona in a helicopter.

The first collaboration between director Don Siegel and actor Clint Eastwood, "Coogan's Bluff" is not their best film, since it is obvious the scrambled script rushed the production too often, yet the basic premise - a rudimentary rural Arizona Sheriff who cannot cope with all the "fancy" rules and regulations in a big city, and feels like a 'fish-out-of-water', which is why the movie was translated in some parts of the world simply as "A Sheriff in New York" - gives it some genuine charm and helps carry the entire notion. The humorous situations and possibilities were not exploited to the fullest - at best, they are the most abundant in the first half when Coogan is annoyed that people always confuse him for a Texas man due to his cowboy hat, or when he has a comical exchange with a greedy taxi driver ("That's 2.95$, including the luggage." - "Tell me, how many stores are there named Bloomingdales in this town?" - "One, why?" - "We passed it twice." - "It's still 2.95$, including the luggage." - "Yeah, well here's 3 dollars, including the tip."), yet the reminder of the film is just a standard criminal flick, with a few ferocious moments (the most questionable being when Coogan pushes Ringerman's girlfriend around to force her to tell him where he is). However, the methods and manners with which Eastwood's character acts to solve the case, foreshadowed Siegel's future film "Dirty Harry", whereas a very similar concept was 16 years later used in a far more comical edition, in "Beverly Hills Cop".


No comments: