Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Tuesday's Overlooked Film: The French Connection (1971)

I don't think anyone with sane mind would be able to say that William Friedkin's The French Connection is an overlooked movie. It's a classic crime film, and it's a classic in its own right. Everyone knows the hectic chase scenes, everyone knows Gene Hackman as Popeye Doyle, the narc cop prone to violence.

But you should see the film on big screen. I'd seen the film I think twice before yesterday, but now I had the chance to see it projected on silver screen from 35 mm print. The print was faded and scratchy, but boy, did the movie deliver! All the cinematic stuff in The French Connection was designed to work on the big screen, not on television. I remember that I had really not liked the film when I saw it earlier, but now I realized it was because of the wrong media. Friedkin uses lots of pans and zooms that don't work well in television. There are few close-ups, so we don't really get inside the characters. It's more like a documentary we are watching, even though it's a very entertaining and exciting documentary.

The soundtrack by jazz trumpetist Don Ellis is also great. I like the way Friedkin uses music and other sounds in the film, mixing them rather freely with each other.

More Overlooked Films at Todd Mason's blog.


Elgin Bleecker said...

Juri – This is one of the all-time great movies. Even though it is 46 years old, watching it can still get your blood pounding. I agree, the music was well done, and I also liked the group, The Three Degrees, who were singing in the club when Popeye and Cloudy first spot the bad guys. Film Producer Philip D’Antoni should get some of the credit for the film’s success. D’Antoni produced three police films with three of the greatest car chases ever: Bullitt (1968), French Connection (1971), and The Seven-Ups (1973).

jurinummelin said...

Didn't he also direct The Seven-Ups? I've never seen it myself, though I know it by reputation. Before I die, I really want to see Bullitt on big screen.