Coogan's Bluff (1968)
Don Siegel and Clint Eastwood's dress rehearsal to Dirty Harry touches upon some of the same crude crime elements, but Coogan's Bluff is a muddled and flawed film in everything from thematic content to narrative presentation. There's an unattractive backwardness to how Eastwood's rural character imposes his persona and culture on the urban environments he visits. He feels entitled for all the wrong reasons, like an old grandfather who curses, insults and disrespects just because he thinks nobody will stop him. Eastwood is young here, but he has rarely seemed older or more out of touch. And if Siegel thinks he sets him up as a contradictory anti-hero, the sentiment is too vague in an otherwise rather unsubtle film. There's a particularly queasy segment from inside a club in which Siegel tries to pose homosexuality as a symptom of what he perceives as the immoral debauchery of the urban hippies. And when Eastwood ends up in bed with one of them (Tisha Sterling), it's about as unsexy as party politics. The film's only really interesting aspect is the relationship between Eastwood and Susan Clark, which alas is too soon cast aside. Lalo Schifrin's score is not among his best, but it's endlessly better than the film's lousy sound production.