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Coogan's Bluff


Three years before they teamed up to create "Dirty Harry", Director Don Siegel and Clint Eastwood crafted the 1968 fish-out-of-water cop thriller COOGAN'S BLUFF.

Eastwood is Arizona deputy sheriff Coogan, his boots still covered with dust as he arrives in New York City to pick up a murder suspect and bring him back to the desert.

Arizona and New York City have both come a long way from 1968. Manhattan seems more like an Austin Powers flashback, with plenty of tie-dye, hippies, beads and groovy music.

Don Stroud (Django Unchained, The Amityville Horror) is the murder suspect, who manages to escape custody and lead Coogan on a trail through most of NYC.

Like most films of that day, you'll see a lot of the Universal backlot pretending to be NYC, along with plenty of location shots for Coogan's arrival and the final chase.

Lee J. Cobb (On the Waterfront, The Exorcist) is terrific as the lead NYC detective, Susan Clark (Night Moves) is a police psychologist and gorgeous Tisha Sterling is a young hippie chick (groovy baby) whose loyalty is as short as her mini skirt.

Eastwood is having a hell of a lot of fun bringing his western morals to the big city, bedding every babe in town like Bond in a cowboy hat while saving time for bar room brawls and lots of broken cue sticks over bad guys heads.

The police station scenes play like something out of a time warp. I counted at least 8 people that would be fired for sexual harassment in the first ten minutes. It was definitely a different time.

Eastwood's still a blast. Siegel (Telefon, Escape from Alcatraz) keeps his camera and his star moving at a rapid pace and it all wraps up faster than you can put your boots back on.

Audiences also loved the opening sequence in Arizona, with Coogan tracking a killer through the desert before making a quick pit stop on the way back to jail for a 007 like visit with a beautiful blonde. It's a pretty great opening ten minutes.

Later adapted into the long running "McCloud" TV series starring Dennis Weaver, COOGAN'S BLUFF is a retro blast from the past with plenty of laughs dropped into the action.

I'll give it a B-.

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