Coogan’s Bluff (1968)

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 4 out of 10

4-Word Review: Cowboy in the city.

            Coogan (Clint Eastwood) is an Arizona Sheriff sent to the Big Apple to extradite a convict back to the desert. The story focuses on the western lawman’s difficulties at adjusting to the big city ways.

One cannot help but compare this film to Dirty Harry. There are vast similarities, but the problem is that Dirty Harry is way better. This film lacks the edge is just plain bland and formulaic. The bad guy here (Don Stroud) doesn’t have the intriguing menacing quality of Andrew Robinson the memorable villain in the Harry film. The villain character is also poorly fleshed out and panics too easily and conveniently. The supporting characters are equally uninteresting and the whole thing seems too much of a showcase for Eastwood and nothing more.

The opening sequence where the viewer is given a bird’s eye view of the majestic desert as Coogan tries to ferret out a renegade criminal is by far the best part of the whole film. One almost wishes that the action had been kept here and not transplanted to the big city as the change of venue really doesn’t create enough intriguing situations.

Tisha Sterling’s performance helps as she does have a few good moments as the deceptive and conniving girlfriend of the convict. David Doyle is also memorable even though his part is quite small. His green corduroy pants is an amusing eye sore and when he unwisely thinks he can beat up Coogan in a barroom brawl it is pretty funny.

I overall like Eastwood and think he has made many superb films in his legendary career, but this one is his most undistinguished and it is easy to see why. It borrows too many elements from his other films without adding anything new in the process. It’s a tired formula the whole way.

My Rating: 4 out of 10

Released: October 3, 1968

Runtime: 1Hour 33Minutes

Rated PG

Director: Don Siegel

Studio: Universal

Available: VHS, DVD, Amazon Instant Video

2 responses to “Coogan’s Bluff (1968)

  1. Interesting, I like Don Siegel’s movies generally and this sounded like a great concept. Too bad they didn’t do anything with it. I’ll probably end up seeing it some time.

  2. Siegel’s fish out of water story is drawn out and amatuerishly directed. Eastwood is a parody of himself here. Even Dirty Harry had a sly sense of humor. Watchable B movie.

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