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DVD Review

DVD cover

Coogan's Bluff (1968)
(2021 Reissue)


Starring: Clint Eastwood, Susan Clark, Don Stroud, Tisha Sterling and Betty Field
Distributor: Fabulous Films Ltd / Fremantle Media Enterprises
RRP: £9.99
Certificate: 15
Release Date: 19 October 2020

Arizona deputy sheriff Walt Coogan is sent to New York to extradite a killer. On arrival, he discovers that his package is in the prison hospital, following an overdose of LSD. What should have been an easy exchange soon becomes a bureaucratic nightmare for Coogan, but following the rules is not in Coogan's nature...

Coogan’s Bluff (1968. 1 hr, 30 min, 25 sec) is a police drama that would go on to define Clint Eastwood’s career and cop films for a generation. The film was directed by Don Siegel (Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), Dirty Harry (1971)).

The film sits perfectly between Eastwood’s Sergio Leone run of cowboy pictures (A Fistful of Dollars (1964)) and his Dirty Harry persona.

Coogan is essentially a cowboy sent to New York. He is a Stetson-wearing man desired by women with a tendency to solve situations with his fists. It’s a type of man that Eastwood knows how to play well and as he was in his late thirties, he was at the height of his masculinity.

Coogan, not content to go through the system, bluffs his way into the prison hospital to take Ringerman (Don Stroud) back to Arizona to stand trial for murder, but before he can get to the airport the duo is ambushed by Ringman's girlfriend, Linny (Tisha Sterling) and Pushie (David Doyle). The local police Lieutenant, McElroy chews him out for not only losing the prisoner but also losing his gun.

With the trail going cold and hostility from the local police, Coogan realises that the probation officer, Roth, with who he had dinner with, is overseeing Linny and knows where she is.

Given the passage of time and the various films which this movie influenced, sometimes the characters can veer towards caricature. The new Yorkers are all tough and a little bit on the shouty side. Coogan is the epitome of uncompromisingly cool, you just know that he is going to get his man and the girl.

The DVD contains no extras, but the picture quality is very high. The picture is a little soft, but that’s because of the format. There is the option for English subtitles and the main feature is presented with a clear two-channel Dolby Digital track.

While not the best known of Eastwood’s films, it’s worth watching. Overall, it’s a good fish out of water scenario, but it also stands as a link between two of Eastwood’s most important eras as an actor.


Charles Packer

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