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Frank Sinatra's Dirty Harry: Make My Day, Melon

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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.

Comments (28)

Top Rated
All Comments
from 007 wrote 2 years 33 weeks ago

Despite having seen him in "Lady in Cement", I just can't picture Sinatra as Dirty Harry any more than I can picture Clint singing with Dean Martin.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Brian W. Thair wrote 2 years 33 weeks ago

Any paper-puncher knows that target paper folds inwards when hit. F/X "bullet-hits" make the .44 AutoMag target paper explode outwards. BLEEP.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 2 years 33 weeks ago

The sound of displacement of air of a .430 cal bullet in flight and impact is far more dramatic to the audience than buck shot which made the movie a hit. I don’t think Frank Sinatra as Dirty Harry would of made it a hit as the spit in the eye of Clint Eastwood.

The best Magnum handgun I ever shot was owned by the Commander of Civil Engineering at Eielson AFB AK. It was a L.A.R. Grizzly 45 Win Mag. In a Metallic Silhouette Shoot, my 44 Rem Mag did a very good job knocking the rams over at 50 and 100 yards until the Colonel turn with his L.A.R. Grizzly blowing the Rams right off the base plates. We had to ask him to stop shooting and gave him 1st place. Shooting the L.A.R. Grizzly was more tolerable than I expected despite its look of a 1911A1 on steroids!

The 44 Auto Mag is actually loaded less than the 44 Rem Mag revolver.

Comparing the 44 Auto mag to the L.A.R. Grizzly 45 Win Mag, the L.A.R. Grizzly 45 will eat its lunch!

Like a Box Office Sleeper, the L.A.R. Grizzly 45 Win Mag is one of those firearms which came and went without notice.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 2 years 33 weeks ago

BWT

Like exploding gas tanks,

Only in the movies!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 2 years 33 weeks ago

I think Frank would have pulled it off. Frank had swagger that no one else. Note no hearing protection in the movie clip.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jjas wrote 2 years 33 weeks ago

I'm sure Clint Eastwood AND Smith & Wesson are glad that Sinatra pulled out of the film.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from country road wrote 2 years 33 weeks ago

Only Tommy Lee Jones or Charles Bronson could have come anywhere near Eastwood's portrayal of the part, and the .44 mag S&W was a much better choice for the movie because a 12 g. would be too bulky to carry. Great series of movies.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from CHKILCHII wrote 2 years 33 weeks ago

Sinatra would've done well but then Eastwood would've had to go to directing heartfelt movies even earlier. Theres only on dirty Harry.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jim in Mo wrote 2 years 33 weeks ago

Brian T,
not true, it depends on the target backing.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 2 years 33 weeks ago

Sit Phil

Doing the melon busting got me thinking. With all the data on foot pound energy, there's nothing at all for hydrostatic shock. I've noticed on Caribou, the 338 Win Mag entry side under the skin has more grease (blood shot) than the 300 Win Mag.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from 99explorer wrote 2 years 33 weeks ago

I think Sean Connery could have played the part of Dirty Harry as well as Clint Eastwood, if not better. Ditto for Robert DeNiro.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ralph the Rifleman wrote 2 years 33 weeks ago

Yea, I'm with 007 on this one.
Eastwood gave such life to the Dirty Harry character that I can't see old Blue eyes doing the role any justice.
Besides, Frankie had earned enough acting awards at that point in his life,so let the New Blood break their bones in..which seemed to work out very nicely for Mr.E!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from mike55 wrote 2 years 33 weeks ago

Clint must not be a 'gun guy'. "300 gr. cartridge", what's that? If he said, "300 gr. bullet or projectile", then you'd think he knew something about guns. Also, anybody notice he pointed his handgun at his buddy after the initial surprise. Dirty Harry should take a hunters safety course! Other than that nit picking, I don't think anybody could have played the part as well as Eastwood, maybe Bruce Willis along with the other two mentioned.

If you've ever heard him speak in public, he's just the opposite of Dirty Harry. He's soft spoken, almost shy! That's what good acting is all about, playing a character that's totally different than they are and doing an excellent job at it.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 33 weeks ago

Just more Holly-weird gun poo....

The "recoil" in the video was a joke with blanks. He was clearly recoiling the pistol, ot the other way around. If any of you have fired the AMT .44 Automag, you know what I'm saying.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ricardo Rodríguez wrote 2 years 33 weeks ago

The Dirty Harry movies are great, but I prefer the last ones, the one where they played the "welcome to the jungle" song and the ones that followed. For some reason the earlier versions make me feel depressed. The atmosphere, the use of light, I don´t know. The whole thing looks decadent.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from tom warner wrote 2 years 33 weeks ago

Do you all mean that Eastwood actually "acted" in these films? If he did, I could not detect it, unless a poker face and lack of any inflection in his voice constitutes acting. Eastwood has turned out to be a great director, but as far as acting goes,...well, I guess everyone has their own opinion.

-3 Good Comment? | | Report
from ishawooa wrote 2 years 33 weeks ago

If they remade the Harry movies today who would you nominate for the lead role?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Beekeeper wrote 2 years 33 weeks ago

Ron Pearlman would make a good "Dirty Harry" for todays movie market.

007 I have a hard time getting a mental grip on the "The Chairman of the Board" as Harry Callahan. He would have been better in the Godfather.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jbird wrote 2 years 33 weeks ago

Thank God Sinatra hurt his hand.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from NHshtr wrote 2 years 33 weeks ago

I think only Eastwood could make Harry Callahan the icon character he is. It was as TW above said, the lack of inflection and poker face through the whole movie that made the character.

BTW, why would anyone give TW negatives for that opinion?
I corrected one, another should do so.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 2 years 33 weeks ago

Just for you Sir Phil

Man Shoots Grizzly .45 Magnum and one dumb cow!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8svs1DBbbY&feature=related

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from New Age Bubba wrote 2 years 33 weeks ago

Isn't this what "Guns and Ammo" is for or "Soldier of Fortune"? Why not a useful article, something like Peter Capsticks observations on buckshot?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 2 years 33 weeks ago
from dasmith wrote 2 years 33 weeks ago

I think that Clint Eastwood was the best person for the role of Dirty Harry, I can't see Frank Sinatra in the role. The .44 magnum was as much of the character as the actor. Remember Elmer Keith prasied the .44 magnum with a 4" or 5" as the perfect policeman's gun.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Nyflyangler wrote 2 years 32 weeks ago

Sudden Impact the last Dirty Harry movie? I don't think so! Try The Dead Pool in 1988. Someone didn't do their research.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from New Age Bubba wrote 2 years 32 weeks ago

@Clay: A "new age bubba" is a person who owns a set of camo clothing, a bird gun and deer rifle, but is surrounded by vegetarians and birkenstok sandal wearing people driving BMWs, who drink cocktails (!).

Not complaining: good training for stealth techniques like drinking white wine at parties or asking for a cosmopolitan when you know they don't have the ingredients, subscribing to cooking magazines and using tofu occasionaly when having dinner guests (venison hidden in freezer), professing an interest in gardening (hello, food plot experiments), volunteering to 'remove' urban pests with pellet gun (target practice), leaving for the skeet/gun range before sunrise, etc. You get the idea I'm sure.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from O Garcia wrote 2 years 32 weeks ago

Sinatra was OK in "The Manchurian Candidate". How "rough" does one need to get? As the movie "Rashomon" has taught us, even trained samurai look pathetic when the actual fighting starts.

Harrison Ford was an "action" star as Han Solo and Indiana Jones (not to mention as POTUS in "Air Force One"), and yet YouTube is full of videos detailing how awfully he punches. Ford must have based his punching motion on those old Batman comic books or TV shows (Ka-Pow!). That he was a carpenter of [by most accounts] very decent quality, where there is a lot of mechanics involved (hammering, sawing, planing) and yet never quite figured out the mechanics involved in punching, is puzzling to me. Maybe Ford never just got to punch other people because he rarely was in fights.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from O Garcia wrote 2 years 32 weeks ago

Clint Eastwood was never a gun guy. I remember when he was featured in TIME because he was finally attending the Oscars again (he walked out of one Oscars night long ago, vowing he would never return unless he was nominated, then of course, he got nominated for "Unforgiven", and then for a truckload of movies since). I think it was mentioned that the only handgun he owned was one donated to him by the police department of some town (maybe the town where he was once mayor), and that it was obviously a show piece; engraved, etc. and that he's never fired it. That was 1992, of course, but I don't think much has changed.

They say one of the best gun guys in Hollywood was Yul Brynner. If you were a newbie actor, they sent you to Yul to practice firing, because only he could fire without flinching. Plus he will always be Rameses. So it shall be written!

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from 007 wrote 2 years 33 weeks ago

Despite having seen him in "Lady in Cement", I just can't picture Sinatra as Dirty Harry any more than I can picture Clint singing with Dean Martin.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Brian W. Thair wrote 2 years 33 weeks ago

Any paper-puncher knows that target paper folds inwards when hit. F/X "bullet-hits" make the .44 AutoMag target paper explode outwards. BLEEP.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from jjas wrote 2 years 33 weeks ago

I'm sure Clint Eastwood AND Smith & Wesson are glad that Sinatra pulled out of the film.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from country road wrote 2 years 33 weeks ago

Only Tommy Lee Jones or Charles Bronson could have come anywhere near Eastwood's portrayal of the part, and the .44 mag S&W was a much better choice for the movie because a 12 g. would be too bulky to carry. Great series of movies.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ralph the Rifleman wrote 2 years 33 weeks ago

Yea, I'm with 007 on this one.
Eastwood gave such life to the Dirty Harry character that I can't see old Blue eyes doing the role any justice.
Besides, Frankie had earned enough acting awards at that point in his life,so let the New Blood break their bones in..which seemed to work out very nicely for Mr.E!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from mike55 wrote 2 years 33 weeks ago

Clint must not be a 'gun guy'. "300 gr. cartridge", what's that? If he said, "300 gr. bullet or projectile", then you'd think he knew something about guns. Also, anybody notice he pointed his handgun at his buddy after the initial surprise. Dirty Harry should take a hunters safety course! Other than that nit picking, I don't think anybody could have played the part as well as Eastwood, maybe Bruce Willis along with the other two mentioned.

If you've ever heard him speak in public, he's just the opposite of Dirty Harry. He's soft spoken, almost shy! That's what good acting is all about, playing a character that's totally different than they are and doing an excellent job at it.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Nyflyangler wrote 2 years 32 weeks ago

Sudden Impact the last Dirty Harry movie? I don't think so! Try The Dead Pool in 1988. Someone didn't do their research.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 2 years 33 weeks ago

The sound of displacement of air of a .430 cal bullet in flight and impact is far more dramatic to the audience than buck shot which made the movie a hit. I don’t think Frank Sinatra as Dirty Harry would of made it a hit as the spit in the eye of Clint Eastwood.

The best Magnum handgun I ever shot was owned by the Commander of Civil Engineering at Eielson AFB AK. It was a L.A.R. Grizzly 45 Win Mag. In a Metallic Silhouette Shoot, my 44 Rem Mag did a very good job knocking the rams over at 50 and 100 yards until the Colonel turn with his L.A.R. Grizzly blowing the Rams right off the base plates. We had to ask him to stop shooting and gave him 1st place. Shooting the L.A.R. Grizzly was more tolerable than I expected despite its look of a 1911A1 on steroids!

The 44 Auto Mag is actually loaded less than the 44 Rem Mag revolver.

Comparing the 44 Auto mag to the L.A.R. Grizzly 45 Win Mag, the L.A.R. Grizzly 45 will eat its lunch!

Like a Box Office Sleeper, the L.A.R. Grizzly 45 Win Mag is one of those firearms which came and went without notice.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 2 years 33 weeks ago

BWT

Like exploding gas tanks,

Only in the movies!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 2 years 33 weeks ago

I think Frank would have pulled it off. Frank had swagger that no one else. Note no hearing protection in the movie clip.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from CHKILCHII wrote 2 years 33 weeks ago

Sinatra would've done well but then Eastwood would've had to go to directing heartfelt movies even earlier. Theres only on dirty Harry.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jim in Mo wrote 2 years 33 weeks ago

Brian T,
not true, it depends on the target backing.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 2 years 33 weeks ago

Sit Phil

Doing the melon busting got me thinking. With all the data on foot pound energy, there's nothing at all for hydrostatic shock. I've noticed on Caribou, the 338 Win Mag entry side under the skin has more grease (blood shot) than the 300 Win Mag.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from 99explorer wrote 2 years 33 weeks ago

I think Sean Connery could have played the part of Dirty Harry as well as Clint Eastwood, if not better. Ditto for Robert DeNiro.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 33 weeks ago

Just more Holly-weird gun poo....

The "recoil" in the video was a joke with blanks. He was clearly recoiling the pistol, ot the other way around. If any of you have fired the AMT .44 Automag, you know what I'm saying.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ricardo Rodríguez wrote 2 years 33 weeks ago

The Dirty Harry movies are great, but I prefer the last ones, the one where they played the "welcome to the jungle" song and the ones that followed. For some reason the earlier versions make me feel depressed. The atmosphere, the use of light, I don´t know. The whole thing looks decadent.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from ishawooa wrote 2 years 33 weeks ago

If they remade the Harry movies today who would you nominate for the lead role?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Beekeeper wrote 2 years 33 weeks ago

Ron Pearlman would make a good "Dirty Harry" for todays movie market.

007 I have a hard time getting a mental grip on the "The Chairman of the Board" as Harry Callahan. He would have been better in the Godfather.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jbird wrote 2 years 33 weeks ago

Thank God Sinatra hurt his hand.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from NHshtr wrote 2 years 33 weeks ago

I think only Eastwood could make Harry Callahan the icon character he is. It was as TW above said, the lack of inflection and poker face through the whole movie that made the character.

BTW, why would anyone give TW negatives for that opinion?
I corrected one, another should do so.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 2 years 33 weeks ago

Just for you Sir Phil

Man Shoots Grizzly .45 Magnum and one dumb cow!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8svs1DBbbY&feature=related

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from New Age Bubba wrote 2 years 33 weeks ago

Isn't this what "Guns and Ammo" is for or "Soldier of Fortune"? Why not a useful article, something like Peter Capsticks observations on buckshot?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 2 years 33 weeks ago
from dasmith wrote 2 years 33 weeks ago

I think that Clint Eastwood was the best person for the role of Dirty Harry, I can't see Frank Sinatra in the role. The .44 magnum was as much of the character as the actor. Remember Elmer Keith prasied the .44 magnum with a 4" or 5" as the perfect policeman's gun.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from New Age Bubba wrote 2 years 32 weeks ago

@Clay: A "new age bubba" is a person who owns a set of camo clothing, a bird gun and deer rifle, but is surrounded by vegetarians and birkenstok sandal wearing people driving BMWs, who drink cocktails (!).

Not complaining: good training for stealth techniques like drinking white wine at parties or asking for a cosmopolitan when you know they don't have the ingredients, subscribing to cooking magazines and using tofu occasionaly when having dinner guests (venison hidden in freezer), professing an interest in gardening (hello, food plot experiments), volunteering to 'remove' urban pests with pellet gun (target practice), leaving for the skeet/gun range before sunrise, etc. You get the idea I'm sure.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from O Garcia wrote 2 years 32 weeks ago

Sinatra was OK in "The Manchurian Candidate". How "rough" does one need to get? As the movie "Rashomon" has taught us, even trained samurai look pathetic when the actual fighting starts.

Harrison Ford was an "action" star as Han Solo and Indiana Jones (not to mention as POTUS in "Air Force One"), and yet YouTube is full of videos detailing how awfully he punches. Ford must have based his punching motion on those old Batman comic books or TV shows (Ka-Pow!). That he was a carpenter of [by most accounts] very decent quality, where there is a lot of mechanics involved (hammering, sawing, planing) and yet never quite figured out the mechanics involved in punching, is puzzling to me. Maybe Ford never just got to punch other people because he rarely was in fights.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from O Garcia wrote 2 years 32 weeks ago

Clint Eastwood was never a gun guy. I remember when he was featured in TIME because he was finally attending the Oscars again (he walked out of one Oscars night long ago, vowing he would never return unless he was nominated, then of course, he got nominated for "Unforgiven", and then for a truckload of movies since). I think it was mentioned that the only handgun he owned was one donated to him by the police department of some town (maybe the town where he was once mayor), and that it was obviously a show piece; engraved, etc. and that he's never fired it. That was 1992, of course, but I don't think much has changed.

They say one of the best gun guys in Hollywood was Yul Brynner. If you were a newbie actor, they sent you to Yul to practice firing, because only he could fire without flinching. Plus he will always be Rameses. So it shall be written!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from tom warner wrote 2 years 33 weeks ago

Do you all mean that Eastwood actually "acted" in these films? If he did, I could not detect it, unless a poker face and lack of any inflection in his voice constitutes acting. Eastwood has turned out to be a great director, but as far as acting goes,...well, I guess everyone has their own opinion.

-3 Good Comment? | | Report

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