Unshakable Gotham Vibe


How quaint and bristly—like a plain-talking, bourbon-stinking grandfather who won’t close his robe—these quintessential ’70s policiers seem, today, fragrant with bigotry, bad New York weather, foul hygiene, cold-blooded cop behavior, and car chases that actually involved automobiles and gravity, not pixels. William Friedkin’s The French Connection (1971), however lauded then, has become one of the unsung landmarks of the American New Wave—when else has such a nasty, dyspeptic film ever had a chance of landing a Best Picture Oscar? Gene Hackman established himself as an axiom of the era: utterly convincing as a real-life ignoramus cop, yet burning with watchable life. Philip D’Antoni, Friedkin’s producer, directed The Seven-Ups (1973) from a story by the detective that now star Roy Scheider played in the first film, and it’s just as thick with the sort of unshakable Gotham vibe modern film stock is simply too clean to reproduce. Supps include widescreen alternate versions, making-of docs (how to shoot a nerve-wracking car chase in five easy lessons), deleted scenes, and for Connection, an audio three-way between Friedkin, Hackman, and Scheider.