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French Connection, The Filmmaker Signature Series Blu-ray
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Popeye Doyle and Buddy Russo get wind of a big shipment of Heroin and begin a tail of the suspects; and their French Connection; two French nationals who are the european link. As money troubles begin for the hoods they decide to kill Popeye and Buddy to give them enough room to bring in the Heroin. A combination of police procedural and action/car chase.
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Beyond this, the movie has not dated well, and suffers from too much jumping around before you can really figure out what's happening. (I suspect I would have gotten into it earlier if I weren't so distracted by the poor quality of the video and audio.) If they ever come out with a cleaner transfer, I'll give this "Best Picture Oscar Winner" another try.
Popeye Doyle is a Narcotic Cop after drug dealers headed up by an elusive Frenchman and his brutal sidekick. Hackman is helped along in his chase by Roy Scheider, who plays his detective partner. Great chemistry between the two, a lot of sardonic wit from Hackman. While Scheider's character is underplayed, he does a great job, going on to superstardom in Jaws a few years later.
This is Hackman's vehicle, however, and his Popeye Doyle is as relentless as The Terminator in his pursuit of the villains. Hackman, whose acting teachers epic failed by telling him that he would never amount to anything, are probably turning in their graves now, as he has indeed retired as one of the best film actors in the history of the profession. For this reason, I probably would watch him reading the phone book and still be impressed.
The movie's climax is somewhat unsatisfying, and even the score seems to reflect this. Perhaps it's the director's way of saying, "this is what's going on and maybe we need to be doing something about it in real life!"
The sound mix, given thunder by the Dolby 5.1 treatment on this 2-disc DVD set, is outstanding, especially in how things move about in the stereo field. I definitely plan on getting French Connection II.
By the way, I bought this from an Amazon vendor who only charged a penny for this set and it was in Near Mint condition! What a gem! Here's another Amazon The French Connection (Five Star Collection) product link in case this one is unavailable.
Hackman won his first Academy Award in this spectacular film which netted five Oscars overall, including Best Picture for 1971. The tension builds slowly throughout the movie as Doyle and fellow detective Buddy Russo (Roy Scheider) stalk the villains. Judicious use of dramatic music heightens the suspense, and the portrayal of New York City is so gritty that the Big Apple of the early Seventies ends up being another star in the film. The chase scene is legendary (one of the pleasures of the film is seeing all of the period cars), and the movie culminates in a shocking ending.
If you like adventure films, you simply have to see this movie at some point in life. Nearly four decades after its release, "The French Connection" is not simply one of the best crime/adventure films ever, it is one of the best films ever, period.
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