August 29, 2011
Frank Sinatra's Dirty Harry: Make My Day, Melon
By Phil Bourjaily
To follow up on last week’s buckshot post, here’s some buckshot movie trivia. As you can see in the poster, Frank Sinatra was originally cast as Dirty Harry, before he backed out of the role due to a hand injury. Clint Eastwood took the part and made Inspector Callahan an icon and made the .44 magnum famous as the (then) “most powerful handgun in the world.”
However, in the Sinatra version, Harry’s chosen weapon was the shotgun. There was apparently a scene in one of the earlier screenplays where Harry Callahan explains why he prefers a 12 gauge, then demonstrates graphically by shooting a cantaloupe first with a .38, then with buckshot. As a service to movie and buckshot buffs alike, here are two clips that give you an idea of how that scene might have played:
.38 Special Vs. Cantaloupe
Buckshot Vs. Cantaloupe
It seems the scrapped scene was recycled in a way for the final Dirty Harry film, Sudden Impact, this time pitting Harry's new (at the time) AMT .44 Auto Mag 180 against a Smith & Wesson 3000 Shotgun, weilded by Horace King (played by Albert Popwell in his fourth appearancein the Dirty Harry series. You may remember him as the recipient of Harry's famous "Do I feel lucky" speech in the first film.) Of course, Harry prefers the .44 despite the damage done by the shotgun.