Dirty Harry at 80? Make His Birthday

Warner Bros NZ and Sky TV will celebrate Clint Eastwood’s 80th birthday with only half the HD gusto it deserves.

The veteran filmmaker becomes an octogenarian on May 31, two days before the Blu-ray release of the most recent movie he’s directed, Invictus.

June also is when Warner Bros will release for the first time on Blu-ray Absolute Power, Kelly’s Heroes, The Rookie and Where Eagles Dare ($24.95 each), along with re-packaged and temporarily re-priced Blu-rays of The Gauntlet, Every Which Way But Loose and Pale Rider ($19.95 each).

However, Warner Bros isn’t releasing in NZ or Australia the Blu-ray box sets, The Clint Eastwood Collection and Essential Eastwood: Director’s Collection.

The latter showcases Gran Torino, Letters From Iwo Jima, Million Dollar Baby, Mystic River and Unforgiven; the former combines them with The Rookie, Kelly’s Heroes, Where Eagles Dare, Absolute Power and Dirty Harry.

Inexplicably, Warner Bros also doesn’t plan to release Dirty Harry here on Blu-ray, even though three of its sequels came out in HD two years ago: Magnum Force, The Enforcer and Sudden Impact. The final in the series, The Dead Pool, also has been nixed for Blu-ray.

Of the 15 other Eastwood movies awaiting a Blu-ray debut, expect the pick of them, The Outlaw Josey Wales, in 2011.

Meanwhile, Sky TV will screen a two-week, 8.30pm Eastwood retrospective across its movie channels from June 1.

But only a handful will be in HD: Gran Torino (June 1), The Changeling (June 2), Mystic River (June 3), Blood Work (June 4) and Unforgiven (June 5).

The rest will screen in SD on MGM: Escape From Alcatraz (June 6), Hang ‘Em High (June 7), Thunderbolt & Lightfoot (June 8), A Fistful of Dollars (June 9), For a Few Dollars More (June 10), The Good, the Bad & the Ugly (June 11), The Outlaw Josey Wales (June 12) and Dirty Harry (June 13).

The season will be capped with Time magazine critic Richard Schickel’s documentary, The Eastwood Factor, on June 14.

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