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The French Connection and other great film-making stories


Toto
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Oct. 7th will be the 50th anniversary of the police detective film that won 5 Oscars "The French Connection" starring Gene Hackman and directed by William Friedkin.  This article from the NY Post highlights some of the amazing story behind how this movie was made with scenes that included a traffic jam on the Brooklyn Bridge, a highspeed car chase along the route of a NY subway train with speeds up to 90 miles per hour and gritty, real, on location shooting.  A police detective actually rode along in the car driven by the Hackman character and assisted with getting shots in NY.  I recently saw this movie for the first time and was stunned.  It really has an edge and I appreciated the not so happy, more-like-real-life ending.  

https://nypost.com/2021/10/04/secrets-of-the-french-connection-on-50th-anniversary/

How do you feel about The French Connection or do you have any good film-making stories of famous films?

image.jpeg.e3e77c917b99a7850357a5187257cd77.jpeg   the french connection streaming> OFF-64%   The French Connection - Movie Forums

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The greatest chase ever on film. Some will disagree, but that is my opinion, and that includes Bullitt. Doyle was a determined man and it is quite satisfying that he doesn't stop until he gets the guy who was shooting at him.

Since this film was based upon a true story, I guess that's why we get the realistic outcome, where all the higher-ups and many of  the low-level operatives get away with it. I watch The French Connection everytime I run across it.

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2 hours ago, Toto said:

How do you feel about The French Connection or do you have any good film-making stories of famous films?

It is a great movie 9/10.

My favorite story about the making of this film is how Friedkin got that performance out of Gene Hackman. Hackman was a gentle, soft spoken liberal and had to transform into this loud, bigoted violent cop. He went on busts with real life police like Eddie Egan and Sonny Grosso. Egan was very much like the character of Popeye Doyle. After several weeks of seeing what the cops deal with, Friedkin saw the anger coming out in Hackman's performance and you have that brutal and stunning portrayal that you see on screen. After one scene where Doyle roughs up a suspect, Egan said "Hey this guy's worse than me!" , which drove Hackman crazy, stunned at  what he had become.

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1 hour ago, unwatchable said:

The greatest chase ever on film. Some will disagree, but that is my opinion, and that includes Bullitt. Doyle was a determined man and it is quite satisfying that he doesn't stop until he gets the guy who was shooting at him.

Since this film was based upon a true story, I guess that's why we get the realistic outcome, where all the higher-ups and many of  the low-level operatives get away with it. I watch The French Connection everytime I run across it.

Yeah, that chase scene! Wow!

I like the chase scene in Bullitt but I agree Hackman's chase of the train is the best I've ever seen.

I think Bullitt appeals more to the gearhead and tuner fans.  It is an exciting chase and admittedly it does get my heart racing seeing two of Detroit's finest steel monsters screaming down the streets,especially since you can see a Camaro at a red light, appropriately sitting still while the true lord's of muscle roar past in a blur.... but I digress.

The chase in French Connection though? Hackman peering up through the windshield trying to keep the train in view and the street at the same time, narrowly missing the baby carriage, the (real!) collision with the Ford crossing from the side street, and Hackman's expressions and growls of frustration.  Connection had a palpable sense of urgency to go along with it's excitement.

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3 hours ago, unwatchable said:

The greatest chase ever on film. Some will disagree, but that is my opinion, and that includes Bullitt. Doyle was a determined man and it is quite satisfying that he doesn't stop until he gets the guy who was shooting at him.

Since this film was based upon a true story, I guess that's why we get the realistic outcome, where all the higher-ups and many of  the low-level operatives get away with it. I watch The French Connection everytime I run across it.

Not my Fav auto chase. Nor Bullitt. But Quite Easily Top 5 or 7 for me.

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One of the movies I could sneak in the theater to see it despite its Mature rating. It is an excellent movie, and a favorite of mine. The movie has many several memorable scenes besides the car chase, like the subway scene when Gene Hackman and Fernando Rey try to outsmart each other, and when Fernando Rey is dining in an expensive restaurant while Hackman and Scheider eat some hotdogs outside.

 

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8 hours ago, unwatchable said:

The greatest chase ever on film. Some will disagree, but that is my opinion, and that includes Bullitt. Doyle was a determined man and it is quite satisfying that he doesn't stop until he gets the guy who was shooting at him.

Since this film was based upon a true story, I guess that's why we get the realistic outcome, where all the higher-ups and many of  the low-level operatives get away with it. I watch The French Connection everytime I run across it.

The chase in Bulitt is pretty emotionally detached and I think edited with a sort of boredom at the whole thing. The chase in The French Connection is much more grueling and emotionally impactful. Hackman's frustrated pounding at the wheel only adds to the intensity.

It's the ending of this film that really gets me. When the triumph also has an element of castastrophic failure to it, and it sort of shakes up exactly how we're supposed to feel about the whole thing. There were a lot of darkly cynical films in the '70s that I don't think could get made today.

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6 hours ago, Citizen Ed said:

Yeah, that chase scene! Wow!

I like the chase scene in Bullitt but I agree Hackman's chase of the train is the best I've ever seen.

I think Bullitt appeals more to the gearhead and tuner fans.  It is an exciting chase and admittedly it does get my heart racing seeing two of Detroit's finest steel monsters screaming down the streets,especially since you can see a Camaro at a red light, appropriately sitting still while the true lord's of muscle roar past in a blur.... but I digress.

The chase in French Connection though? Hackman peering up through the windshield trying to keep the train in view and the street at the same time, narrowly missing the baby carriage, the (real!) collision with the Ford crossing from the side street, and Hackman's expressions and growls of frustration.  Connection had a palpable sense of urgency to go along with it's excitement.

There is a great Manhattan chase scene in The Seven-Ups  (1973) and another one under the old West Side Highway in the flawed Sexploitation film Massage Parlor Murders! (1973) that is quite good also.
 

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9 hours ago, cigarjoe said:

There is a great Manhattan chase scene in The Seven-Ups  (1973) and another one under the old West Side Highway in the flawed Sexploitation film Massage Parlor Murders! (1973) that is quite good also.
 

I believe that Bullit , The French Connection,  and The Seven-Ups were all stunt work by Bill Hickman.

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2 hours ago, cigarjoe said:

I believe that Bullit , The French Connection,  and The Seven-Ups were all stunt work by Bill Hickman.

Indeed it was!  Hickman was one of if not the best stunt drivers of all time in my opinion.  He knew how to make a chase scene an exciting integral part of the film without it taking over the film.

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12 hours ago, cigarjoe said:

There is a great Manhattan chase scene in The Seven-Ups  (1973) and another one under the old West Side Highway in the flawed Sexploitation film Massage Parlor Murders! (1973) that is quite good also.
 

Yeah, I always remark I like the chase in THE SEVEN-UPS far better than the one in BULLIT,  And "The French Connection" car chase still tops with me too.  

Many "newer generation" guys I know don't like this one much due to the lack of unnecessary  gun play which newer flicks of this type gratuitously throw in.   But then too, some older than me disliked it because they felt it had TOO MUCH gun play!One of my favorite segments is when they're tearing up that Lincoln looking for the dope,  and when the French actor goes to pick it up at the police garage it's put back together looking like it's never been touched.  ;)   But that's just one of the many great segments sewn together in one fantastic motion picture. 

But, when it comes to chase scenes, I always bring up the "grand daddy " of 'em all!  :D 

 

Sepiatone

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22 hours ago, Det Jim McLeod said:

It is a great movie 9/10.

My favorite story about the making of this film is how Friedkin got that performance out of Gene Hackman. Hackman was a gentle, soft spoken liberal and had to transform into this loud, bigoted violent cop. He went on busts with real life police like Eddie Egan and Sonny Grosso. Egan was very much like the character of Popeye Doyle. After several weeks of seeing what the cops deal with, Friedkin saw the anger coming out in Hackman's performance and you have that brutal and stunning portrayal that you see on screen. After one scene where Doyle roughs up a suspect, Egan said "Hey this guy's worse than me!" , which drove Hackman crazy, stunned at  what he had become.

A gentle soft spoken liberal (not sure what that has to do with anything) that bullied co-stars on plenty on film productions.

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1 hour ago, Shank Asu said:

A gentle soft spoken liberal (not sure what that has to do with anything) that bullied co-stars on plenty on film productions.

I still like to imagine at times about how much the tone of the series would have changed had Hackman won out over Robert Reed for the Mike Brady role in the Brady Bunch.

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On 10/5/2021 at 2:20 PM, unwatchable said:

The greatest chase ever on film. Some will disagree, but that is my opinion, and that includes Bullitt. Doyle was a determined man and it is quite satisfying that he doesn't stop until he gets the guy who was shooting at him.

Since this film was based upon a true story, I guess that's why we get the realistic outcome, where all the higher-ups and many of  the low-level operatives get away with it. I watch The French Connection everytime I run across it.

I agree the best car chase on film and Gene Hackman as popeye doyle should be an inspiration to the kind of cop America needs today...

the kind that will take no **** from stinkin' murderous street criminals.

Jimmy Popeye Doyle - Shefalitayal

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19 minutes ago, NipkowDisc said:

I agree the best car chase on film and Gene Hackman as popeye doyle should be an inspiration to the kind of cop America needs today...

the kind that will take no **** from stinkin' murderous street criminals.

Jimmy Popeye Doyle - Shefalitayal

Sorry to say though, in 2021's world Popeye would be accused of police brutality and probably suspended from the force, maybe even jailed.

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2 hours ago, NipkowDisc said:

I agree the best car chase on film and Gene Hackman as popeye doyle should be an inspiration to the kind of cop America needs today...

the kind that will take no **** from stinkin' murderous street criminals.

Jimmy Popeye Doyle - Shefalitayal

Loved that hat, one of the hat styles that  I always have one in my wardrobe.

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11 hours ago, NipkowDisc said:

the kind of cop America needs today...

the kind that will take no **** from stinkin' murderous street criminals.

the kind of cop America needs today... is the kind that will take no **** from  crazy white supremacists

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Bill Hickman is Hollywood's greatest ever stunt driver | British GQ

From IMDb on Bill Hickman:

The actor is better known for his prowess as a stunt driver. His work in Bullitt (1968) is legendary where he drove the black Dodge Charger 440 Magnum that was pursued by Steve McQueen in his Ford Mustang 390 GT. For his reputation earned on Bullitt, Hickman was hired by William Friedkin for The French Connection (1971). He staged a similar chase on the streets of Manhattan but with a greater presence of civilians, an element that had been missing in Bullitt. Doubling for Gene Hackman in the more hazardous stunts, Hickman drove the brown 1970 Pontiac at speeds up to 90mph with Friedkin manning the camera right behind him. Hickman's third spectacle would be captured in The Seven-Ups (1973) where, yet again, he virtually outdid himself driving the car being pursued by Roy Scheider in another landmark car chase.

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On 10/5/2021 at 2:20 PM, unwatchable said:

The greatest chase ever on film. Some will disagree, but that is my opinion, and that includes Bullitt. Doyle was a determined man and it is quite satisfying that he doesn't stop until he gets the guy who was shooting at him.

Since this film was based upon a true story, I guess that's why we get the realistic outcome, where all the higher-ups and many of  the low-level operatives get away with it. I watch The French Connection everytime I run across it.

I also liked the one in The Seven Ups.  Plus it was longer.  Bill Hickman was the stunt driver on that, just as he was in Bullitt.  I think that Bullitt sort of set the stage for car chases since French Connection and Seven Ups came relatively close together - 1971 and 73, respectively.

 

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7 hours ago, cigarjoe said:

the kind of cop America needs today... is the kind that will take no **** from  crazy white supremacists

Is this the place to post Antifa propaganda or about The French Connection?  I deal with them enough in Portland.

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