Friday, September 7, 2007

Movies: The French Connection

I know I saw this movie, and it was only five days ago (I'm sorry for being so far behind), but I can't for the life of me remember anything about it. Perhaps missing the opening credits while in the popcorn line did me worse than ever before—curses, Film Forum, for never showing trailers, except during the Noir Festival when I had to see the same No End In Sight trailer twenty times in a row, even after having seen the movie.

I do remember that Gene Hackman was very young, and played a narcotics cop with a drinking problem, obsessed with a hunch while the rest of his department mocked him, and that his hunch turned out to be right: a young corner store owner and his wife are breaking into the drug game by brokering a huge cocaine import. Hackman and his partner spend a long night in their car trailing the couple, then another long night watching a car parked under the highway that they believe has the goods inside. They find the goods in the car after a long search, and then set up the bad guys so that they get caught. The bad guys scatter, though, and Hackman wanders around a trashed warehouse trying to track them down. He thinks he sees one and shoots—killing one of his colleagues. Somewhere in there, I'm afraid I can't remember where, there is a "car chase" scene that is much talked about (even my doorman, who is younger than I am (that is, not even conceived when this movie was made) told me that there was an awesome car chase in this movie), which actually consists of Gene Hackman trashing a vehicle he borrows from a civilian whilst driving at break-neck speed through two-direction traffic chasing a subway train, on which the bad guy is riding. I guess it was an okay chase scene, for 1971. Oh, the spoiled, jaded youth of today!

Before the credits role, there are a few summations screens that sum up what happened to everyone. Basically, everyone who got caught got off with a light sentence or no sentence, and the most important bad guy was never caught at all. Seems folks were pretty jaded in 1971, too.

1 comment:

Jim said...

In the script, the chase scene was written as "There is a chase."
Friedkin improvised it and shot it w/o permits or permission from NYC authorities.