Define "a Life"...

... still searching for a clear definition of that thing people keep telling me I need to get...

Location: Springfield, PA

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Cooler Than A Speeding...

I finally watched Bullitt last night. It was on that small pile of DVDs I've bought but haven't watched yet. Some of them are old favorites I just haven't yet gotten around to on DVD (e.g. Casablanca) and some are things I've bought because they're "classics" of some sort that I've long known about but never seen and feel I ought to (and they were usually a great bargain at the time, so I picked them up). Bullitt was one of those.

I'd known about Bullitt for years (at least, like, twenty years) because of the car chase scene. Kinda the same way people who've never seen Psycho know about the shower scene. The film is actually quite good all around. One of the things I enjoyed most was how underplayed it was. Not just the performances, but the action as well. No dizzying camera from director Peter Yates. And the celebrated car chase contains shots that last for more than five seconds.

The DVD is a two-disc set. The second disc contains three documentaries. One is a great study of editing (I'd show it in an intro cinema studies class), one if a charmingly self-important "behind the scenes" piece made during the location filming in San Francisco, and I haven't yet watched the third (bio on Steve McQueen). Everything looks great. I was happy to see Warner gave the film a good treatment, but a little astonished that they lavished the same attention on the period documentary (or, for that matter, that they had good source materials for it in the first place -- so many of that sort of thing exist now only in random leftover projection prints).

Bullitt isn't leaping to my top ten list (hmmm... I wonder what my top ten list would actually be...) but it's a fine little film. I enjoy a good cop movie from the seventies (or, in this case, late sixties). Guess now I actually need to see Serpico...


Blogger Jeri said...

All I know about Bullitt is that it features a slick '68 Mustang GT. Might be worth checking out some time just for that little bit.


9:46 PM  
Blogger Greg! said...

It's a pretty large bit, actually -- that Mustang is half of the aforementioned classic car chase. (Weep not -- it survives more or less intact. The car was played by a pair of Mustang GTs loaned by Ford to the production before the model was available to the public. The film's stunt team then modified them for safe high speed [100+ mph] performance and stunt driving.)

2:17 PM  
Blogger Rob S. said...

The Bullitt chase scene is justly acclaimed, but for my money, the most breathtaking car chase I've ever seen was in Ronin.

2:24 PM  
Blogger Greg! said...

Yeah, I remember being flat out blown away by the car chase in Ronin.
Again, though, not much in the way of pyrotechnics or flash. Just coherent and utterly absorbing.

Hmmm... I oughta see Ronin again.

3:12 AM  
Blogger Dave said...


what ever became of the movie that is one long car-chase?

and how do the 2 chases mentioned here compare to, say, the French Connection's chase? cuz i haven't seen Ronin or Bullitt.

11:24 PM  

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