Walt Coogan (Clint Eastwood) - a deputy sheriff from Arizona - is sent to New York City, to extradite convicted killer, James Ringerman (Don Stroud), back into his states' custody.
But do you think that this simple task is an easy thing for him to accomplish? No - I am afraid not.
For a start, Coogan is delayed in this matter, when Detective Lieutenant McElroy (Lee J Cobb) notifies him that Ringerman is currently at Bellevue Hospital, and cannot be moved until the doctors says he’s fit enough to travel – due to substance abuse. And on top of that, after Coogan bides his time in New York City, by instigating a somewhat flirtatious encounter with the probation officer, Julie Roth (Susan Clark), he becomes so frustrated by this 'police procedure', that he then decides to take matters into his own hands.
Wrong move - because even though Coogan is able to get a hold of Ringeman, taking him so far as the airport, to departs back to Arizona. Regrettably, it is at this location, Ringerman’s aide, Pushie (David Doyle), knocks Coogan unconscious - and they both manage to get away Scott free.
Still, undeterred from this 'heavy' turn of events, Coogan next tries to find out where Ringerman's is staying, by confronting Ringerman's mother (Betty Field), whom implies that he is with his hippy girlfriend, Linny (Tisha Sterling).
However, this piece of information comes to no avail - as the NYPD are pissed off with Coogan for 'messing things up'. Plus, in addition to this, the probation officer, Julie, is annoyed with Coogan, when he obtains Linny's address rather shrewdly from Julie's home files - whilst she is making dinner for them both.
Though, I suppose that is why what next transpires is a real rooting tooting set of circumstances I can tell you. As sex is implied - crooks try to hide - Coogan has a plan - and the cops get their man.
'Coogns Bluff' is one of those classic pieces of late 1960’s cinema that has it all: Clint Eastwood - cops - robbers - hippies - violence - implied sex - and a rather scary looking mother too. Moreover, I like to think of this film as a ‘transitional vehicle’ for Clint, as it cinematically plucked him out of the western genre that he frequented back the mid-sixties, before it plonked him down firmly in the modern world again (Well? Modern of the 1960’s, so to speak).
Personally speaking, with my benefit of hindsight, it is a though Coogan was a blue-print for Clint’s next ‘cop project’ – Dirty Harry – allowing him to feel his way within this 'new' crime ridden genre. Also, this was Clint's first time working with the director of his next ‘cop project’, Don Sigel, too - whom he worked with for quite a few films hence (such as 'Escape From Alcatraz').
I feel that Dons lean direction aides this film greatly - because he makes some rather simplistic and artistic choices, within this rather simplistic linear film. Please note, I do say this with all due respect - as ‘Coogans Bluff’ does what it says on the can - delivers a straight forward story in a straight forward way. And, for me, that is what make it what it is - class cinema through and through.
There is no special effects or elaborate plot twists in this movie, oh no, this is a simple hunter verses hunted story - with a little bit of added 60’s style and attitude thrown in for good measure. Plus, for those of you whom like juxtaposing styles, it is a piece which presents a nice perspective on the 'hippy' verses the 'rustic' verses the 'urban' culture. Well, Clint is the 'rustic' lawman who goes to the 'urban' city to get his hands on a 'hippy' felon?
Boy-oh-boy, that is something that I did not think that I would write today! But I did think that I would want to insert this video clip for your viewing pleasure...
Great, isn't it. And illustrates, in someway, what I mean about the juxtaposition of styles in this movie, as well as the way that it has a very simplistic nature to it also.
Class film, and is always worth a watch for the pure nostalgia of the piece.
THE RATING: B+