French Connection [Blu-ray]
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"The French Connection" is a fantastic time capsule of a film; a solid crime drama enhanced tremendously by great performances, crackling dialogue, terrific stunt work and wonderful location shooting in and around NYC that captures The Big Apple during its 1970's heyday as a scummy, gritty cesspool of a town. It's a fine example of 1970's American cinema, a classic of its type and a must-see, if not a must-own, for fans of crime dramas and police procedurals. Without question, a five star film (out of five).
Regarding specifically the 2009 2-disc blu-ray release, Director William Friedkin has apparently decided that the gritty, documentary-like feel to the original cinematography of his film was not gritty and documentary-like enough; instead of taking advantage of the latest technological advances to clean up or restore an original master of this classic film, director Friedkin decided that he would revisit his 39-year-old masterpiece so as to make it look decidedly worse. Using various digital filters, he has amped up the noise and graininess, distorted and smeared the color scheme with a bizarre "pastel" look, and blown out the contrast, all to give "The French Connection" an (intentionally) worn-out, distorted look that really does change the visuals of the film.
Unfortunately, rather than giving the film a more "cinéma vérité" feel (as was the director's intention), this inexplicable digital makeover adds absolutely nothing to the film's impact save for scads of fake film grain, alternately faded and dull hues and crappier contrast.Read more ›
In the end, somewhere between 100 - 300 kilos of pure heroin were seized, the ring was smashed, two cops sprung to fame by making the big case ("Went through The Door", in NYPD Narc lexicon), and the soon-to-be legendary NYPD Special Investigations Unit was created. But at what cost, and to what end?
This is what the film version of "The French Connection" examines, changing the names of the players (to Popeye Doyle, played by the great Gene Hackman, and Cloudy Russo, played by the criminally underrated Roy Schieder, respectively) but leaving the basic facts of the story intact. Very few movies have attempted to show the methodology and mind-set of Narc detectives without either glamorizing them or apologizing for them; "TFC" does neither. Doyle is a truly disgusting human being, but a [darn] good cop.Read more ›
How can a film be better than this one? It deservedly won five Oscars including best picture, best actor (Gene Hackman), its script and editing. Film editing is probably the most common downfall of a movie that is the least understood by the average filmgoer. aside from inane scriptwriting, it is editing that either turns individual scenes into something larger that its parts or robs those scenes of their vigor and value by misplacing them in the overall sequence of events.
There are so many good things going on in this film -- the action, ultra-intelligent script based on a real life incident, the acting, the locations, the searing score using knife sharp high strings and bellowing lower strings, and William Friedkin's monumental direction that included the unplanned train chase scene that is now considered the greatest chase in film ("We didn't ask anyone for a permit," Friedkin said. "We just did it.") -- that it is somewhat foolhardy to identify one element as the key to this masterpiece. Still, I believe the editing is what transforms "French Connection" from five stars to masterpiece.
I first saw this movie in 1971 during a matinee at an old big city theatre, now bulldozed, the kind of theatre that used to exist before malls took over the industry. While the chase scene was just as riveting then as now on the big screen, it was an earlier scene that more captivated me.
In the second scene, Hackman and Scheider go to a drinking establishment where a Supremes-like trio is singing.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Love this movie. William Friedkin, Gene Hackman in his prime. What's not to love? It's an instant classic, imitated frequency but never rivaled. Long live Popeye Doyle!Published 15 days ago by Jarred N.
Very poor sound quality. My wife and I watched about 20 minutes and dumped it. Is it possible to get a credit toward a future selection? Thanks
Dreadful picture quality. Heavily pixelated, at times the picture was unrecognizable. A problem common to all Amazon streaming videos.Published 1 month ago by History buff
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