Saturday, February 5, 2011

30 Days of Oscar Day 9 - The French Connection

Movie: The French Connection
Year: 1971
Nominations: Best Actor (Gene Hackman), Best Director (William Friedkin), Best Film Editing (Gerald B. Greenberg), Best Picture, Adapted Screenplay (Ernest Tidyman) Supporting Actor (Roy Scheider), Cinematography, Sound.
Wins: Picture, Director, Actor, and Screenplay, Scheider was beat out by Ben Johnson for The Last Picture Show and Cinematography went to Fiddler on the Roof.

This was a great 1970s movie.  Shown with the gritty lens and movie-making style of the time (with a tinge of racism and sexism to really put it in the time period, I guess), a great drug/cop thriller.  Hackman plays a NYC narcotics cop partnered with a young Roy Scheider.  They work toward figuring out how a big drug cartel is going to smuggle in their next shipment.  The neat thing this movie does well is show you almost exactly who all the bad guys are and what they plan to do.  It felt a lot like the TV show The Wire, both in its dialogue and realism (though The French Connection had the polish of French baddies).  Terrific writing, perfect violence that makes you unsure whether to like the cops or the bad guys, and then the bad guys getting what's coming to them at the last minute.  Overall, I was really impressed with the film (thanks Fletch!) and noticed the Sound and Score much more than I usually do, they set the pace and really drove the film well - doing a good job heightening tension and adding whimsy when necessary.  Oh, and I finally saw the scene from Big in context and it's a much better scene than the 10 seconds you see in Big would lead you to believe.  Not surprised it won Best Picture - trivia - it was the first R rated film to win (since the MPAA started rating movies).


The Mad Hatter said...

Such glowing praise, but not even a passing mention of one of the best car chases in cinema history???

David Bishop said...

I used a screenshot from the car chase for my game, and nobody guessed it. Even with the hint "elevated train."

The car chase is easily my favorite reason to watch the movie.

Jess said...

How else was I going to ensure comments unless I didn't mention the thing that made the movie famous? The car/train chase is awesome, of course.

Fletch said...

Trivia: It might the first R, but Midnight Cowboy was the first (and only, I believe) X.

You're welcome - glad you enjoyed it!