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Coogan's Bluff

Coogan's Bluff

UPC: 025192053528

Format: DVD

Release Date: Jun 01, 2004

Rating: R

Regular price $10.95 USD
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This U.S. release of Don Siegel's Coogan's Bluff is doubly welcome -- for some reason, the movie was available in Australia (of all markets) three years earlier. And except for a short-lived laserdisc release sometime in the '90s, Don Siegel's Coogan's Bluff hasn't been seen in its R-rated version, or in its proper non-anamorphic widescreen aspect ratio, since its original release in 1968. The opening sequence depicting a chase and duel between two armed men on the Arizona desert benefits from the 1.85:1 aspect ratio, but even better are the vistas of New York City that fill the screen at 12-and-a-half minutes in. The whole movie is something of an exercise in visual nostalgia, and not just cultural nostalgia-- the Cloisters and Fort Tryon Park haven't changed too much, but the Pan-Am building is no longer called the Pan-Am building, and they stopped landed choppers on its rooftop heliport about five years later when one of the helicopters cracked up during a seemingly routine maneuver and left some people dead. The R rating was the result mostly of the introduction of a virtually nude female dancer and a mostly nude model at the Pigeon-Toed Orange Peel club, inspired by the Electric Circus on St. Marks Place, and the violence of the fight in the pool room, which did help set a new standard for stunt work and movie violence at the time -- all this is back in style, and if some of the blood looks a little fake, the surrounding mayhem doesn't. There are also a lot of faces in here that subsequently became a lot more familiar and some character players who were still recognizable (pinup queen Meg Myles in the small role of Big Red, Tom Tully among other '50s figures, veteran black actor James Edwards as an undercover cop [in an excellent scene with Clint Eastwood and Lee J. Cobb], Louis Zorich as a larcenous cab driver, David Doyle as a sinister pool hall owner, and Albert Popwell and future Byrds member Skip Battin as denizens of the East Village). The 18 chapters break the 95-minute movie down more than adequately and are keyed as much to different locales around the city as they are to various plot elements. The optional subtitles include French, Spanish, and English, and the whole disc opens up automatically on a simple, easy-to-use menu -- the only thing missing is a trailer and maybe an ad or two, which would have told us how the movie was originally sold to the public, and how much of the R rating showed up in theatrical and television spots. Incidentally, the name "Coogan's Bluff" has a dual meaning, referring to the plot of this film and Eastwood's character, but it's also referring to a specific location in northern Manhattan in Highbridge Park, near where the old Polo Grounds stood (home of the baseball Giants when they were based in New York), where part of the movie's final chase takes place.
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