Watched Journal: May 2024


It's been said that Tightrope is Clint Eastwood's Cruising. 

Clint Eastwood plays Wes Block, a pervy New Orleans detective on the hunt for a serial killer with a taste for sex workers. But as Block pursues the killer, he's being stalked by the murderer himself, whose next victims all have one thing in common: they've been naughty with Detective Block.

Tightope isn't in the same league as William Friedkin's gay slasher mystery Cruising, it's neither as stylish or as sleazy. It doesn't have the mind warp of Al Pacino's Detective Steve Burns submerging himself into New York's fetish underworld in Cruising. The claims that Tightrope is the best 'Dirty Harry' film are baseless. The original Don Siegel movie is a masterpiece, a classic San Francisco film that reinvented the police procedural as a deliciously depraved machismo fantasy. Aside from his sexual escapades, Block follows the book, unlike the trigger happy Detective Callahan. 

Sudden Impact, the first Eastwood directed Dirty Harry entry released a year before Tightrope in 1983, is a much better sex thriller, with Sandra Locke playing a twisted femme fatale lusting for revenge against the men who gang raped her and her sister. It also features Eastwood muttering one of the all-time great movie quotes, "Go ahead, make my day," which was recently resurrected by President Biden of all people.

What Tightrope does have going for it is the unsettling killer, who wears creepy masks and later dresses up as a scary clown during a parade in which he hands one of Block's daughters a red balloon that floats away in one of the film's eeriest scenes. Several effective shots focus on his sneakers, with a slashing reverb number to emphasize the impending terror. The cat and mouse between Block and the killer represent the most inspired elements of Tightrope. While the lewd killer isn't as flamboyant as Andy Robinson's Scorpio or an enigmatic evil like the slasher in Cruising, he's an excellent foil for Detective Block; naughty for sure, but not a dirty cop.

What I watched in May:

5-2: Code 46 [Freevee], OctoGod [Criterion]

5-4: Eileen (Oldroyd, 2023) [Blu-ray - Videodrome]

5-5: The Fall Guy [AMC Madison Yards], The Nice Guys [Blu-ray]

5-6: The Beauty Inside (Baik, 2015) [Blu-ray - Videodrome]

5-7: Green Ice [Imprint Blu-ray]

5-10: Little Darlings [Blu-ray - Videodrome]

5-12: Poolman [Landmark Midtown Art]

5-14: Dark Passage [TCM]

5-15: Tightrope [Blu-ray]

5-16: Dirty Ho [Arrow Blu-ray]

5-19: Planet of the Apes (Schaffner, 1968) [Hulu] 

5-20: Beneath the Planet of the Apes [Hulu]

5-24: Unfrosted [Netflix]

5-28: The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial [Delta]

5-29: Pretty Poison (Noel Black, 1968) [Criterion]

5-30: The Insider [Criterion]

5-31: Ticket to Paradise [Peacock]


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