|dc.description.abstract||Dirty Harry was released in 1971. Starring Clint Eastwood, the movie (and its sequels) were of paramount importance in his climb to stardom. The personae of rogue cop Harry Callahan quickly became popular, but it was also heavily critiqued. For many, Dirty Harry was considered a fascist movie, it was claimed that it promoted police violence and that it simplified important sociological dilemmas such as crime-control and the rights of criminals. For others, it was a long sought-after break away from the political correctness that arose at the end of the 60 s. For the rest, it was a great action movie.
My main concern in this thesis is to establish how the music works in Dirty Harry. By this I mean how the music interacts with the visual narrative and how it constitutes a major part of the filmatic text as a whole.
It is an underlying premise in my thesis that the music is of paramount importance for Dirty Harry (as well as in films in general). I do not consider it to be the topping of the cake; rather I will claim in this thesis, that in order to provide a reading of Dirty Harry, the music has to be acknowledged the role it actually has. This will of course be thoroughly discussed in the course of the thesis.
Another one of my main concerns is to provide tentative and possible answers to the ideological aspects of Dirty Harry. Is it simply an action movie, if there is such a thing? Is it a fascist police movie? Also in the investigations of these questions, the role of the music can help. Often things are implied rather than stated, and my task is to unveil the strategic use of music, the ideological undercurrents as well as pointing to how this entertainment text can be read as a part of American propaganda.
I shall admit that this wealth of analytical angles at first can seem confusing, since the role of the music in films usually has been analysed in pure descriptive terms. To the music scholars, this thesis might seem a bit too pre-occupied with the ideological side of the movie. The media scholar might think the transcriptions and syntactical analysis are of little interest in gaining an understanding of the film. To this I will state that this thesis clearly is inter-disciplinary, since film is an interdisciplinary medium. This thesis might as well have been written at the Institute for Media and Communication; as a matter of fact, I know of at least one person who is working on a film music thesis right now.
Bottom line is that I hope the reader will follow my line of thought with an open mind and that she will bear over with me as I walk into the dense and confusing jungle of interdisciplinary approach.
The music for Dirty Harry is composed by the successful Argentinean-born composer Lalo Schifrin. Although not as famous as his colleagues John Williams and Jerry Goldsmith, his still ongoing career has spanned over 100 feature films. His most known work is the theme for the TV-series Mission Impossible, a blazing 5/4 piece, which incorporates many of the elements that have inspired him. After all, this is the man who has both studied with Messian in Paris as well as played piano and written arrangements for Dizzy Gillespie.
The music for Dirty Harry also reflects his command of a multitude of styles. The music changes with ease from 70 s Jazz-Funk, performed by a rhythm section, to modernistic soundscapes played by symphony orchestra.
In this thesis, I will lay great emphasis on the way Schifrin s use of groove music is of crucial importance for both the narrative as well as the ideology of the movie. I will however not try to speculate in his motives, nor will I claim that the ideology presented in Dirty Harry represents him personally. My reading will be interpretive, I will focus on the text the way it appears to me and I will try to share it in an inter-subjective dialogue, with all the intertextual references it opens during the process of reading itself. As a little inspiration before reading my analysis, I will simply quote Inspector Harry Callahan s famous words: Do you feel lucky? Now do you, punk? ||nor