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Bullitt

Last night I did sleep well. I just woke up a few minutes ago, much later than I usually do.

After seeing Bullitt, we went home and watched an episode of Weeds, then of Law & Order, Criminal Intent. Went to bed at about midnight.

I loved Bullitt. I had not seen it when it came out in 1968. I was a fan of Steve McQueen's - who wasn't? - but I probably put that film in a category of types I didn't need to see. What I am wondering now is what it is that I loved about it, why it made me happy, really.

Well, there was the car chase. Considered the best on film. It has to be. It is extraordinary. I felt lilke I was watching a masterpiece of choreography and photography. I loved the way it started slowly, then gradually built up into madness, all over San Francisco.

And there was McQueen. I don't know why, but I had the impression that McQueen was short, rather slight in stature. He isn't. Wasn't. He didn't exactly establish a character in this film - nobody did - but he was good to watch.

When the producers were trying to convince Robert Vaughan to play the heavy, Vaughan had to be convinced. "No plot," he said. And in a way that's true. There is a plot, enough to hand a movie on, particularly a car chase movie. Clearer than some plots are now. There just wasn't much of a real story that explained some of the behavior. Oh, they did convince him, with more money.

So let's review. No real plot, no character development, but one hell of a car chase.

The lack of any real development may actually be what pleased me. The simplicity of it, the ease of understanding the uncomplicated characters. Normally this makes me mad, but not here, I think because of when it was made. The film, now, is a glimpse back in time. It gives us a good view of a hospital - SO primitive - and of the City at that time. It's a time capsule.

whatever the reason, I loved it. It made me smile.

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
the_fantum
Oct. 5th, 2005 05:07 pm (UTC)
.. speaking of
Bullitt came up in the new Don Johnson drama vehicle this week .. in the second episode of "Just Legal" it is revealed that his character owns the "original" Mustang .. or at least a very good copy thereof .. which rather than driving, gets hocked to pay for an expert witness in the case they are dealing with .. they do actually show the alleged vehicle in a museum setting which they call, "storage"

.. it is still fun to count the lost hubcaps in the chase scene as well
judith
Oct. 5th, 2005 05:27 pm (UTC)
Re: .. speaking of
Yes. The theater director last night mentioned that that Mustang was bought by some guy who refused to sell it to McQueen later, when he wanted it.

And that there are six hubcaps that come off that one car. Apparently because of the use of two views of the same shot - in different parts of the chase.

I didn't know any of this, not being a Bullitt fan. Maybe I am one now, though.
the_fantum
Oct. 5th, 2005 06:07 pm (UTC)
Re: .. speaking of
next you should try McQueen's labor of love .. Le Mans .. the best racing genre movie ever made .. when I cannot find anything on those 257 channels, that DVD is forever ready .. I have even set the machine to repeat and had it running for an entire weekend .. color, motion, action, realism, sound .. and McQueen .. what else does a person need?
judith
Oct. 5th, 2005 06:18 pm (UTC)
Re: .. speaking of
You've got a good point there.

I am normally a "little movie" person - I love the ones with the intense, angst-ridden characters and unintelligible actions. But just as I love the random sounds of birds and airplanes starting up and people talking on streets, I love just about anything well-done. I think that's what sets this apart from the car chases I have generally seen in film - they bore me! With a few exceptions, like The French Connection, of course.

Perhaps Le Mans is in my future.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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