Siegel could almost be taking the cowboy persona of Clint Eastwood, ready to release ‘Hang ‘Em High’ and fresh from the “Dollars” trilogy, and dumping him the gritty, urban world of New York ready for his transformation into maverick cop Harry Callahan for future films. The tough talking Sheriff is out of his depth in New York, but Eastwood makes the transition easily and uses his trademark tough-guy image with heavy fists, flirtation smiles and witty one-liners to be entertaining as he does.
The only issue I found is the developing romance between Coogan and Roth, which provides the foundation developing and seeking out information to locate the fugitive. There isn’t much time spent out in New York itself, which was something that was heavily marketed as the “fish out of water” scenario seen in many future films.
Coogan spends a good portion of the film talking and thinking about what to do next rather than just doing. This probably comes from expecting too much of Eastwood’s hero from his future films, so as one of his first major releases, his template as a tough cop is evident here and great fun to watch.
New York is seedy, dirty and dangerous in the peak of the 1960s, and it looks great as the backdrop for the latter half of the film in comparison to the opening scenes in the dusty, sparse Arizona desert.
Stroud (who would later play CIA Agent Heller in the Timothy Dalton James Bond movie ‘Licence To Kill’) does a decent job as Ringerman, but never has much time to shine as he’s there one minute, and hiding away the next until the final few scenes. A shame, as the cat and mouse story could have been developed more between him and Eastwood to maintain the menace.
Still, it’s entertaining enough but nothing sadly that excites or provides anything new to the table, and I feel a wasted chance to do something even bigger (as this lasts for only 88 minutes).