The French Connection
(William Friedkin, 1971). Fraught with urban decay and racial tension, this bang-bang procedural created a paradigm for the tell-it-like-it-is cop drama; shot almost entirely on the mean streets of Marseilles and New York, it grounded the fantastic exploits of Gene Hackman's Popeye Doyle in a gritty naturalism. With its disaffected cops and adrenaline-pumped action montage, The French Connection originally seemed like glorified Don Siegel. But while Siegel’s Dirty Harry (which appeared almost simultaneously) provided an anti-establishment legal vigilante, The French Connection swept the Oscars with its portrait of a heroic working-class narc.
Wed., March 4, 6 p.m.; Thu., March 5, 5 p.m.; Fri., March 6, 8:30 p.m.; Sat., March 7, 3 p.m.; Sun., March 8, 3 p.m.; Mon., March 9, 5 p.m., 2009