Classic Movie Themes: Coogan’s Bluff
Coogan's Bluff was the first of many movie collaborations between Clint Eastwood and legendary director Don Siegel. The film is a traditional “fish out of water” tale that still rings true today. Arizona cop, Coogan, is sent to New York to collect a prisoner. Unfortunately, he escapes, forcing Coogan to search through the weirdest and most dangerous place he's ever experienced; New York in 1968.
Lalo Schifrin's score for Coogan's Bluff, is a hip contemporary score (for its time) that has all the composer's trademark funk material. The music encompasses a variety of idioms from western to eastern, with elements of jazz, rock and funk. It really captures the mood of the times tapping into the sixties motif, with use of such instruments as tabla and sitar.
One of the most memorable scenes in the movie is Coogan's visit to a night club. Nothing dates a film more than the inclusion of popular music or concert footage. Coogan's Bluff exemplifies this with its depiction of late sixties counter-culture. Viewers are treated to liquid light shows, psychedelic music, sexual liberation and drugs. The icing on the cake is the song played by the band, Pigeon-Toed Orange Peel. It’s a formulaic number that somehow manages to tread a fine line between cliché and satire, whilst still being devilishly catchy.