The Enforcer (1976)

R | 96 mins | Drama | 22 December 1976

Director:

James Fargo

Producer:

Robert Daley

Cinematographer:

Charles W. Short

Production Designer:

Allen E. Smith

Production Company:

Malpaso Company
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HISTORY

The summary and note for this entry were completed with participation from the AFI Academic Network. Summary and note were written by participant Shay Cornelius, a student at the University of California, Los Angeles, with Jonathan Furner as academic advisor.

       Referring to the film by its working title, Dirty Harry III, a 1 Oct 1975 Var news item announced that Warner Bros. was developing a third film in the Dirty Harry series to follow Magnum Force (1971 and 1973, see entries). On 4 Mar 1976, HR stated that screenwriter Stirling Silliphant had left the project due to a conflicting “pressing commitment” and Dean Riesner, also known as Dean Reisner, was hired to polish the script. Riesner had worked on several previous Clint Eastwood films, including Dirty Harry. According to a 3 Sep 1976 LAT article, the original script for The Enforcer, titled Moving Target, was written by U.C. Berkeley drama student Gail Morgan Hickman and his friend, Scott Schroers, who presented their work to the maitre d’ at Eastwood’s restaurant in Carmel, CA. Hickman loosely based the story on student riots he witnessed at Berkeley, but he noted that the script was essentially derived from “the old Western formula.”
       Var production charts on 25 Jun 1976 announced that principal photography for Dirty Harry III began 14 Jun 1976 in San Francisco, CA, and a 30 Jun 1976 Var news item reported that a title change was imminent. On 9 Jul 1976, Var production charts listed the picture ... More Less

The summary and note for this entry were completed with participation from the AFI Academic Network. Summary and note were written by participant Shay Cornelius, a student at the University of California, Los Angeles, with Jonathan Furner as academic advisor.

       Referring to the film by its working title, Dirty Harry III, a 1 Oct 1975 Var news item announced that Warner Bros. was developing a third film in the Dirty Harry series to follow Magnum Force (1971 and 1973, see entries). On 4 Mar 1976, HR stated that screenwriter Stirling Silliphant had left the project due to a conflicting “pressing commitment” and Dean Riesner, also known as Dean Reisner, was hired to polish the script. Riesner had worked on several previous Clint Eastwood films, including Dirty Harry. According to a 3 Sep 1976 LAT article, the original script for The Enforcer, titled Moving Target, was written by U.C. Berkeley drama student Gail Morgan Hickman and his friend, Scott Schroers, who presented their work to the maitre d’ at Eastwood’s restaurant in Carmel, CA. Hickman loosely based the story on student riots he witnessed at Berkeley, but he noted that the script was essentially derived from “the old Western formula.”
       Var production charts on 25 Jun 1976 announced that principal photography for Dirty Harry III began 14 Jun 1976 in San Francisco, CA, and a 30 Jun 1976 Var news item reported that a title change was imminent. On 9 Jul 1976, Var production charts listed the picture for the first time as The Enforcer. The film made its final appearance in Var production charts on 1 Sep 1976 and on 15 Sep 1976, Var noted that the picture was “just finished.”
       The film received mixed reviews. The 27 Dec 1976 WSJ described the film as formulaic and inferior to the prior two films in the series, while the 22 Dec 1976 LAT stated that it was “arguably the best Dirty Harry movie.”
       On 6 Jun 1980, LAHExam reported that Eastwood, the Malpaso Company and Warner Bros. were acquitted of charges filed in a lawsuit by novelist Andrew Sugar, who claimed that the picture’s title was lifted from his science fiction paperback series, also titled The Enforcer, and that the movie’s release damaged his chances of selling film rights to the book series. Eastwood argued that he derived the title from The Enforcer, a 1951 Warner Bros. release starring Humphrey Bogart.
       The Enforcer marked the feature film directorial debut of James Fargo.
       The Enforcer is the third of a five-film series. To see more information on the Dirty Harry series, please see the entry for Dirty Harry (1971). More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
19 Jul 1976.
---
Daily Variety
8 Jul 1976.
---
Hollywood Reporter
2 Mar 1976.
---
Hollywood Reporter
4 Mar 1976.
---
Hollywood Reporter
22 Dec 1976
p. 3, 21.
LAHExam
6 Jun 1980.
---
Los Angeles Times
3 Sep 1976.
---
Los Angeles Times
22 Dec 1976
Section IV, p. 15.
Los Angeles Times
30 Dec 1976
p. 2.
New York Times
23 Dec 1976.
---
Variety
1 Oct 1975.
---
Variety
25 Jun 1976.
---
Variety
30 Jun 1976.
---
Variety
9 Jul 1976.
---
Variety
1 Sep 1976.
---
Variety
15 Sep 1976.
---
Variety
22 Dec 1976
p. 22.
WSJ
27 Dec 1976
p. 9.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Malpaso Company Film
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
Asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Cam asst
Cam asst
Cam asst
Key grip
2d grip
Best boy
Still photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Const coord
Prop master
COSTUMES
Cost supv
MUSIC
Mus ed
SOUND
Sd eff ed
Re-rec mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Titles and opticals
MAKEUP
Makeup supv
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Asst to the prod
Casting
Transportation capt
Transportation capt
First aid
Catering
Prod secy
Auditor
Secy to the prod
Secy to the prod
STAND INS
Stunt coord
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on characters created by Harry Julian Fink and R. M. Fink.
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Dirty Harry III
Moving Target
Release Date:
22 December 1976
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 22 December 1976
Production Date:
14 June -- early September 1976 in San Francisco, CA
Copyright Claimant:
Warner Brothers Entertainment, Inc.
Copyright Date:
22 December 1976
Copyright Number:
LP46851
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Color by Deluxe®
Lenses/Prints
Filmed in Panavision®; Prints by Technicolor®
Duration(in mins):
96
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
24716
SYNOPSIS

A beautiful hitchhiker, Miki, entices two Western Gas & Electric servicemen to a remote cabin in Mill Valley, California, where they are both killed by a radical militant named Bobby Maxwell. In San Francisco, California, Inspector Harry Callahan and his partner, Frank DiGeorgio, respond to a hostage standoff at a liquor store. Held at gunpoint, Harry agrees to the thieves’ demand for a police car, then speeds his vehicle through the store window and shoots the assailants. Back at the police station, Capt. McKay reprimands Harry for “excessive use of force” and transfers the inspector to the personnel department. Harry grudgingly saunters into an examination board for hopeful inspectors, where a representative from the mayor’s office, Mrs. Grey, announces that she is monitoring the board to ensure affirmative action. When Harry grills applicant Kate Moore about her inexperience, Mrs. Grey accuses him of intimidation. That night, Bobby Maxwell and his militant organization, which includes Miki the hitchhiker, drive the stolen Western Gas & Electric truck to the Hamilton Firearms Co., planning to rob the arsenal to for the sake of “the people.” After killing a security guard, the group loads weapons and U.S. military Light Anti-Tank Weapon (LAW) rockets into the truck, but DiGeorgio and his new police partner arrive to investigate. As Maxwell stabs DiGeorgio in the back, the officer misfires and hits Miki. Although Maxwell’s minion, Lalo, tries to save Miki, Maxwell shoots her dead. The group steals off with the contraband, running over DiGeorgio’s partner in the process. Harry and his colleague Lt. Bressler rush to the hospital, where DiGeorgio reports with his dying ... +


A beautiful hitchhiker, Miki, entices two Western Gas & Electric servicemen to a remote cabin in Mill Valley, California, where they are both killed by a radical militant named Bobby Maxwell. In San Francisco, California, Inspector Harry Callahan and his partner, Frank DiGeorgio, respond to a hostage standoff at a liquor store. Held at gunpoint, Harry agrees to the thieves’ demand for a police car, then speeds his vehicle through the store window and shoots the assailants. Back at the police station, Capt. McKay reprimands Harry for “excessive use of force” and transfers the inspector to the personnel department. Harry grudgingly saunters into an examination board for hopeful inspectors, where a representative from the mayor’s office, Mrs. Grey, announces that she is monitoring the board to ensure affirmative action. When Harry grills applicant Kate Moore about her inexperience, Mrs. Grey accuses him of intimidation. That night, Bobby Maxwell and his militant organization, which includes Miki the hitchhiker, drive the stolen Western Gas & Electric truck to the Hamilton Firearms Co., planning to rob the arsenal to for the sake of “the people.” After killing a security guard, the group loads weapons and U.S. military Light Anti-Tank Weapon (LAW) rockets into the truck, but DiGeorgio and his new police partner arrive to investigate. As Maxwell stabs DiGeorgio in the back, the officer misfires and hits Miki. Although Maxwell’s minion, Lalo, tries to save Miki, Maxwell shoots her dead. The group steals off with the contraband, running over DiGeorgio’s partner in the process. Harry and his colleague Lt. Bressler rush to the hospital, where DiGeorgio reports with his dying words that the attacker was a pimp that he and Harry questioned in an unsolved murder years earlier. Back at the police station, Capt. McKay receives a cassette tape from Maxwell’s group, which identifies itself as the People’s Revolutionary Strike Force and threatens to blow up buildings around the city unless they are paid $1 million. McKay, who believes the Strike Force is composed of black militants, reinstates Harry to the homicide division to work the case. Harry notes that Miki, who was found dead at the crime scene, was a known prostitute, and argues that the killer is a pimp, as DiGeorgio reported. Harry is chagrined to discover that his new partner is Kate Moore, the young woman he interrogated at the inspector interview. When the partners attend a LAW rocket demonstration, Harry pulls Kate away from the launcher’s backfire, saving her life. The inspectors then visit the coroner’s office to learn that DiGeorgio’s murderer used killing techniques indicative of Special Forces servicemen in the Vietnam War. As Kate grows squeamish and runs outside, a bomb detonates in the building’s bathroom, prompting Harry and Kate to chase a Strike Force operative named Henry Lee Caldwell, whom Harry vaguely recognized on his way inside. During the pursuit, Caldwell drops his briefcase in a dumpster, but Kate retrieves it as Harry follows the militant across apartment rooftops. Caldwell falls through a skylight, lands on the set of a pornographic film and gets away until Harry detains him at a church. Sometime later, Harry delivers the dynamite that was stashed in Caldwell’s briefcase to Lt. Bressler, who reports that the “suspect” is a member of the black militant group Uhuru, lead by Big Ed Mustapha. Harry and Kate visit Mustapha’s headquarters, where Kate fends off aggressive men while Harry learns that Caldwell left Uhuru to “go white,” joining the criminal organization of a fellow Vietnam veteran. Noticing that Mustapha’s office is filled with stolen artifacts, Harry threatens to bust the radical leader for robbery unless he provides information about Caldwell’s organization. Mustapha negotiates for the prison release of an Uhuru member, then reviews Harry’s list of names which includes all of the pimps that he and DiGeorgio once interviewed; Mustapha identifies Bobby Maxwell as Caldwell’s new leader. After Harry and Kate leave, Capt. McKay, Lt. Bressler and a SWAT team surround Mustapha’s building and load Uhuru members into a paddy wagon. Later, McKay strategizes with the mayor to credit Harry and Kate to for the Uhuru arrests, noting that the commendation of a female inspector will impress the electorate. When Harry realizes that Uhuru is being blamed for Hamilton Firearms Co. theft, as well as the ensuing threat of violence and the blackmail, which has now been increased to $2 million, he refuses to participate in the publicity stunt. As Harry states his case to the mayor, McKay suspends him and Kate runs after her partner, offering support. Harry lets down his guard, reporting that Maxwell, their primary suspect, will be impossible to find without Mustapha, and Kate suggests they post Mustapha’s bail. Sometime later, Maxwell’s Strike Force kidnaps the mayor after a San Francisco Giants baseball game by ambushing his limousine and raising the China Basin Bridge so he cannot escape. That evening, Maxwell’s girl friend and second in command, Wanda, telephones a local radio station to announce the Strike Force’s demands, leaving a cassette tape in the phone booth. After listening to the tape, which sets a $5 million ransom for the mayor, Capt. McKay and Lt. Bressler find Harry in a pool hall and demand cooperation, but Harry refuses their plan to negotiate with the terrorists. Harry later meets with Mustapha, who identifies the Strike Force and leads him to Wanda, a masseuse. At the massage parlor, which fronts as a brothel, Harry learns that Wanda has left her job to become involved with a church, lead by Father John. Kate later briefs Harry about the militant, radical priest, who gave rehabilitation seminars at San Quentin State Prison while Maxwell was an inmate. At John’s church, Harry bullies the priest for information as Wanda, dressed as a nun, aims her gun from behind; however, Kate appears in the pews and shoots Wanda dead, saving her partner’s life. Distressed by the violence, Father John tells the detectives that the mayor is being held hostage at Alcatraz. The inspectors take a boat to the abandoned prison island and a gunfight ensues. After finding the mayor and shooting his captor, Kate shields the politician from Maxwell and his henchmen. As she reunites with Harry, she warns her partner that Maxwell is aiming from behind and is caught in the crossfire, herself. As Kate dies, she urges Harry to carry on without her. Although Maxwell resumes control of the mayor and leads him up an observation tower, Harry pursues them from a distance with a LAW rocket. As Maxwell leaves the mayor on a lower floor to look for Harry from the top, Harry launches the rocket and kills Maxwell. Disinterested in the mayor’s promise of commendation, Harry stands over Kate’s body as Capt. McKay arrives by helicopter. Unaware that the standoff has ended, McKay announces to Maxwell that he is delivering the Strike Force’s $5 million ransom. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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