Last night was the second phase of our warmup for the upcoming Oscar awards. Ed and I watched The French Connection, the 1971 action thriller about two New York narcotics detectives in pursuit of a French heroin smuggler. It won best picture (the first R-rated film to win the award), best director for William Friedkin and best actor for Gene Hackman. The role of vicious, obsessed Popeye Doyle catapulted Hackman to stardom.
The hair-raising chase scene in which Hackman follows an elevated train from the Manhattan streets below it, and the subway scene where Doyle tries to follow the French badass (Fernando Rey), then loses him, are as good as filmmaking gets.
A cop classic based on real people and real events. It leaves you a little queasy.