Loan sharks accidentally kill a welcher, and a hardnosed Homicide lieutenant has the wrong man.
Springtime in New York
The script also is quintessentially McCloud in some respects, starting several hares in a dramatic way and transcending them all in a dynamic conclusion.
McCloud is in Spanish Harlem on pawn shop detail. There is a young Puerto Rican tough on the verge of a life of crime... There is a Navajo girl and her wealthy admirer from, say, the Hamptons, who has dumped her and left her broke. There is Lt. Easton of Homicide, whose partner was killed in the line of duty, and who is set to retire in a month. There is Vincent, a new low-level mob executive, violent and careless.
McCloud goes undercover as an auto parts dealer short of cash (his company is called Southwestern Consolidated Industries). At the close, he’s taken captive in a twin-engine aircraft out of La Guardia, and Chief Clifford commandeers another in pursuit. The aerial chase is sharply filmed (almost echoing Ulu Grosbard’s Who Is Harry Kellerman and Why Is He Saying Those Terrible Things About Me?), with the same sun on the water and a virtuosic exterior lasting two or three seconds, filmed from the second plane, of McCloud subduing his captors seen through the windows.
Dick Haymes as mob middle management is brought on to demonstrate Vincent’s ineptness in a brief scene.
Swackhamer’s skill is everywhere evident. When Chief Clifford has to talk McCloud through a landing, Swackhamer shows you the field from the roof of a rescue vehicle heading toward the runway, then drops the camera down into the cab to look through the windshield past the uniformed driver and his silver-suited passenger.
Pat Hingle Lieutenant Easton
Story by Stephen Lord
Directed by E.W. Swackhamer
McCLOUD: That’s kind of like a Gila monster.
ARDEN: What’s a reptile got to do with it?
McCLOUD: Well, everybody knows it’s got to eat, but nobody can find a bug who’s a witness.
McCLOUD: Y’know, it’s against the law to
carry a knife.
MORENO: What’s that to you?
McCLOUD: I’m a police officer.
MORENO: Yeah, right. And I’m Pancho Villa.
CHIEF CLIFFORD: (To McCloud.) Now, I assigned you to the pawn shop detail, and anything that doesn’t have three balls over the front door is off limits to you.
McCLOUD: Y’know, it must be a wonderful
education to be partnered with a man like that.
SGT. BROADHURST: Well, he knows his business.
McCLOUD: So does a cobra, but you don’t want to get in his way when he’s conducting it.
(Lt. Easton accosts McCloud, who is undercover and knocks
McCLOUD: Remember the Alamo.
SGT. BROADHURST: Remember the Clifford!
STACEY DECKER: What’s a Clifford?
McCLOUD: You’re too young.
McCLOUD: ‘Preciate y’ confidence, Chief.
CHIEF CLIFFORD: McCloud!
CHIEF CLIFFORD: Stay away from Easton.
McCLOUD: There ya go.
(Slogan on Los Angeles go-go bar marquee:)
THE MOST BEAUTIFUL GIRLS THIS SIDE OF HADES
McCLOUD: You mean he cracked, huh?
LT. EASTON: He confessed.
McCLOUD: So ya won.
LT. EASTON: The state won.
MECHANIC: Hey! Hey!! Are you checked out in this bird?
CHIEF CLIFFORD: You better believe it!
LT. EASTON: You don’t have to worry, I flew for
the Army in the big one.
CHIEF CLIFFORD: I’m not worried, I flew for the Navy in the real one.
(McCloud is in the pilot’s seat.)
STACEY: Have you ever flown a plane before?
McCLOUD: Ahhhhh... (He jerks his thumb over his shoulder.) only in the back.