Before there was Cliffhanger, there was The Eiger Sanction, a thrill ride of a movie that largely takes place on an icy mountaintop. The mountaineering is almost beside the point: Eiger's most curious aspect is its setup, which offers Clint Eastwood as a haughty art history professor who finances his art collection by performing contract assassinations for a shadowy group. His final assignment takes him to Eiger mountain in the Swiss Alps, where he has to figure out who on his climbing team is the villain, then dispatch him. Eastwood is at his smarmy best, and a host of memorable supporting players round out the production amiably. Great fun.
The first sequel to Dirty Harry proved a mildly entertaining winner, as vigilantes start offing the unconvicted mobsters of San Francisco. Harry himself isn't much more ethical, creating a moral dilemma... yeah, right! Mindless shooting and car chasing follows, along with the most-ever shots of the Golden Gate Bridge on film. Note that the cinematography is particularly awful in this movie -- most of which happens in the dark.
For his directorial debut, Clint Eastwood opted to make this relatively straightforward but hopelessly dated Fatal Attraction clone (er, precursor), playing a radio DJ stalked by the lovely Jessica Walter (well, I'm sure her character's style was in back in 1971). Walter is way more ballistic than Glenn Close ever was, wielding a machete on tons of hapless fools standing between her and her man. Creepy, but what's with the outdoor concert stuck into the middle of the movie!?
Clint Eastwood's second film as a director -- and his first western -- is a minor classic. High Plains Drifter takes a familiar story (drifter arrives in small town to protect it from outlaws -- and demands a pile of booty in return) and makes it perfectly watchable thanks to Eastwood's smarmy performance and a host of supporting players that acquit themselves well. Forcing the town to rename itself "Hell" and paint everything in it red is just the icing on the cake.
Dirty Harry #3 is undoubtedly the worst of the bunch, with Callahan chasing down a group of hippie radical terrorists, several years after the end of the hippie radical terrorist era. A few minor points for excellent use of such enormous area landmarks as Coit Tower, Alcatraz, and Tyne Daly.