Tuesday, January 17, 2006

The only Clint I've met in New York is a gay guy who writes for "Woman's Day": "Coogan's Bluff"

Every time I heard this title I thought of a Western. Just say it out loud ... "Coogan's Bluff." Sounds like a land formation in Arizona.

Actually, it's a sheriff's deputy in Arizona, played by the former Man With No Name, Clint Eastwood ("Pink Cadillac"). Again, you'd think it'd be a Western, right? But while we start out in the Arizona desert, our story soon takes us to Manhattan, where Coogan has been dispatched to bring back a prisoner. Wait a minute ... a cowboy hat-wearing Arizona lawman set loose on the mean streets of New York? That can mean only one thing. You guessed it ... hijinks ensue!

This movie came between Eastwood's turns in the "Dollars" trilogy and his iconic performance in "Dirty Harry" -- still an amazing movie. "Coogan" also was entertaining, most obviously with all the fish-out-of-water stuff. Sure, it's not as nutty as "Crocodile Dundee," but it's kind of fun to watch Mr. Squinty deal with everyone thinking he's from Texas, plus other things, i.e. shifty cab drivers and liberated women.

Oh, and did I mention this came out in 1968? That means we get some primo Summer of Love stuff, including a scene later in the movie where Coogan goes looking for people in a psychedelic dance club. It's been a few weeks since I saw this, and I forget the name of the club, which is funny because the song playing during this scene kept saying the name over and over again. Let me see if I can find it on "the Internet" ... nope, nothing. It was "Electric Disco Banana Peel" or something like that.

Anyway, by this time the "get a load of this guy" stuff was getting a little old, but it was still fun to watch Eastwood stride around Manhattan while trying to catch his prisoner. Nothing amazing, but not bad. And bonus points for not focusing on all the obvious New York landmarks. I may be wrong, but I don't recall seeing the Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge of even the Empire State Building. Instead, Coogan kicks it on the Upper West Side and ultimately ends up in the Cloisters, a park area waaaaay uptown.

(Amusing aside: My uncle lives near the Cloisters, and when I lived in Queens, my place was a lot closer to midtown than his. Still, I was a dreaded bridge-and-tunneler, and he was a Manhattanite. Whatever.)

Bottom line: If you need a break from Director Clint and want a taste of Tough Guy Clint, this isn't a bad movie. Sure, it's no "Dirty Harry," but it's also no "Bronco Billy."


At 12:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This, of course, also inspired the TV series "McCloud" (although how they got from Clint Eastwood to Dennis Weaver is a real head-scratcher), in which the hick sheriff stuff is so overdone that our hero ends up galloping through Manhattan on a horse.

"Coogan's Bluff" -- geographically, it's a piece of land that overlooked the old Polo Grounds on the Harlem River -- is a fun movie on several counts. I loved the Texas-Arizona running joke and Clint's classic Bloomingdale's exchange with the cab driver. Great cast, too: A pre-"Webster" Sharon Clark (hot), Trisha Sterling as a psycho hippy chick (hotter), David Doyle of "Charlie's Angels" fame as a bad guy and, of course, that quintessential thug, Don Stroud.

Finally, I believe the name of the club was the Pigeon-Toed Orange Peel.


At 5:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, Inwood is going to be a really hot neighborhood and I'll be sitting in my rent controlled apt with a sweet 212 area code so take that 718er hater.

At 7:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice job on movie selection and review, Big J. Any softening of stance regarding reviewing The Knights Tale?

No real surprise that soo pad rey got the name of the club. Dangerously close to showing off.

The "212" Seinfeld episode truly enlightened those who didn't reside in The Known World of New Yorkers.

At 10:32 PM, Blogger Jefferson said...

For the record, I knew all of the above -- even that the one guy was Bosley from "Charlie's Angels" -- except the club name. Nicely done.

Also, when it comes to the women, nobody had anything on Coogan's girlfriend in Arizona. Yowza.

As for Inwood, is that the apartment with 87 cats and almost as many pictures of Myrna Loy?

At 3:36 PM, Blogger chris carmody said...

"Coogan's Bluff" was alot of fun to see again. It was nice to hear Clint Eastwood speak like he didn't have an advanced stage of throat cancer.

At 4:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

agreed on the arizona girlfriend


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