Other things I got from it:
- The sixties aren't over: Dirty Harry was released in 1971, still essentially the sixties. It shows, and not just in the disc's Pop Art cover. Scorpio, based on the never-caught Zodiac Killer, comes off as an evil flower child, yes. But Harry himself is rather shaggy, not just in his hair but also his lanky movements. He comes off as a hippie cowboy who took to actual gunslinging. Unlike Clint Eastwood's friend Ronald Reagan, he seems to be telling the young of the time that they had won a victory in the cultural battle. After that it's back to brutal business, though.
- The bosses are paper tigers. Harry's methods raise hackles from the mayor, the DA, his superiors on the force. It doesn't make a great deal of difference. They need him, and they don't have any better ideas, so he's gonna do what he does.
- Who wins? Scorpio may be a giggling psychopath who enjoys hurting people, but what is he really after. The script depicts him as one step up from homeless, allowed to live under the bleachers of a football stadium by the caretaker's kindness. If he were a good citizen, he'd very quickly be forgotten. What's apparent to me is that while he's shaking down the city for 200 grand, his goal isn't money, sex, or even the pleasure of killing others. He wants his miserable life to have a splashy end. Not to spoil anything, but he is dealing with Dirty Harry Callahan.
- A spoonful of sex helped the violence go down. There's a surprising amount of nudity in DH. First Harry accidentally peeps on a BBW prostitute, then he delibartely spies on the opening stages of an orgy while on rooftop stakeout, then a dead girl is dug up naked, and finally Harry follows Scorpio to a nudie bar. If the movie were made now, I'm guessing the violence would be much less visceral and the nudity would be gone. For whatever reason, the studio would want a PG-13.