Clint Eastwood is Deputy Sherriff Walt Coogan in Coogan’s Bluff. Any serious Clint Eastwood fan will be happy with this movie but it will leave the rest of the public wondering why they rented it. Other than being the clear predecessor to the wildly successful – far more humorous - television series McCloud there is little to recommend Coogan’s Bluff to a modern audience.
The problem isn’t with the story, Coogan’s Bluff has an interesting story, it is the artifacts of the 1960’s around the story which make it almost impossible to watch. This is the Hollywood version of the 60’s in NYC with every possible cliché you can imagine coming into play. There is an interesting little hint of movies to come in one scene when Lee J. Cobb comments to one of his detectives that a search is no good because of a recent Supreme Court ruling: Eastwood fans will be forgiven for thinking they are watching a Dirty Harry movie for a moment.
Other problems with the movie center around the complete lack of acting talent outside of Eastwood himself and the venerable Lee J. Cobb. You can enjoy a movie whether it is dated or not - westerns are dated but those that are enjoyable are enjoyable because they are well directed, scripted and acted. Other than a strong storyline following Detective Coogan in pursuit of a suspect wanted in Arizona for a crime committed there nothing else in this movie works. Other than an artifact of Eastwood’s career give this movie a pass.