Film 344 in the ‘1001 Films to See Before You Die’ challenge is 1971’s “The French Connection”. Directed by William Freidkin and based on Robin Moore’s non-fiction novel entitled “The French Connection: A True Account of Cops, Narcotics, and International Conspiracy”, this action crime thriller is about a pair of NYC cops in the Narcotics Bureau who stumble onto a drug smuggling job with a French connection. First of all, I had no clue what was happening. All these scenes were happening so fast that I can’t focus on anything. One second we’re Italy then the next we’re in Brooklyn. Then you have the fact that I barely caught anyones name. The only one’s I got were Popeye (Gene Hackman), Boca (Tony Lo Bianco) and Filly… Or Angie. Either way it’s Arlene Farber. I didn’t have a clue why we kept cutting to these French man. At no point did they talk about drugs. All they talked about was the possibility of building an extension to a harbor. Also, none of these characters are likeable. Especially Gene Hackman. He just comes across as a womanizer who likes arresting black people because… well… Overall, I found this film hard to watch throughout and could barely keep up with it. I managed 32 minutes before my head exploded. In 1997, director William Freidkin had this to say about the film, “The way that film was cast, it was like The Movie God took care of it”. Fun Fact – Fernando Ray was cast after being mistaken for one of the gangsters in “Belle de Jour”. The actor they confused him with was Francisco Rabal. If you have seen this film then let me know what you thought of it in the comments. Here is what I had to say while watching 1971’s “The French Connection”
P.S. – Doesn’t the poster give away a vital part of the film?
Film – The French Connection
Year – 1971
Director – William Friedkin
Written by – Ernest Tidyman
Based On – “The French Connection” by Robin Moore
Staring – Gene Hackman, Roy Scheider, Fernando Rey
IMDb Rating – 7.8/10
My Rating – MY HEAD JUST EXPLODED
Length – 98 min (1h 38min)
Genre – Action, Crime, Thriller
This music’s a bit dramatic
We open with a man having a slice of pizza next to a telephone pole
That is a horrible looking Cadillac
Are we in Italy?
So… Are we just following this guy’s everyday life of buying a baguette?
Doesn’t matter now as someone just shot him in the head
Brilliant!! That evil man just stole his baguette
Cut to Santa in Brooklyn entertaining kids outside a bar
Wait… Santa’s a cop?
Why is there a random burning tyre in the middle of the alleyway?
Fancy a trip to Poughkeepsie?
“Pickin’ your feet in Poughkeepsie” – What does that have to do with what’s happening now?
Cut to two French men who want to build a new harbor
Are we back in Italy again? Or is this Monaco?
You bought your girlfriend a camera? Ok then
And she bought him a coat with a fur collar
And we’re back in Brooklyn
Did he just tell him to drink semen?
Now for a Diana Ross tribute act
Don’t you hate it when you find the one person you hate drinks at the same bar as you
Not really made clear why they keep showing us this guy?
All I’ve got out of these first 15 minutes is that Gene Hackman likes perving on women
And now it’s morning all of a sudden
What jewellers opens at 7am?
Getting a little bored of them tailing his guy
And we’re back with his French guy who I haven’t a clue who he is
Did he just pick up poo from a puddle with his bare hand?
Also…. WHY IS HE IN A CASTLE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SEA?
Right.. His name’s Alain
And we’re back in Brooklyn as these two give us details on the couple they’ve been tailing – Boca and Filly who won a cafe
Cut to Lou sorting out trash
Ok… Where did he get a postman outfit from?
Ward Island? Sod that. Let’s leave the guy alone
So… They’re randomly raiding a bar full of black people for their drugs
This scene makes no sense. What does this have to do with the plot
Wait… All that to find one guy who knows everything about Boca? What was the point?
So… Are they admitting that these two only arrest people for the numbers?
AND MY HEAD JUST EXPLODED!!!!