The next film in my tracing back of past Academy Award Best Picture winners is ‘The French Connection’. Featuring Gene Hackman in his Best Actor award winning role, ‘The French Connection’ is commonly known for having one of the best car chase scenes of all time, and one that has been parodied many times over in the forty plus years since.
Based loosely on true events, ‘The French Connection’ centers on a heroin drug smuggling operation from France, one that allows director William Friedkin, who won the Best Director Oscar for this film, to show how singularly focused police officers can become in pursuing leads of the nature shown in the film.
I will admit that the opening to ‘The French Connection’ is a tad dry, but as you get introduced to main protagonists and antagonists, the film does start to pick up, and never is this better seen than when Hackman’s character, “Popeye” Jones trailing his mark, the affectionately known “Frog One” and gets made at a subway.
As for the aforementioned car chase scene, the use of multiple angles, chasing of an elevated train, and the cramped confines that entailed all make it one of the greatest car chases ever put to film.
In the end, ‘The French Connection’ is a product of its era, limited in what it could do when compared to films today, but a major success as a result. Telling a point a to point B story that didn’t worry about trying to throw the audience for a loop, it only deviated at the end to leave those watching guessing as to the end.
All in all, I was quite entertained by ‘The French Connection’, but I feel I won’t be venturing into the sequel, for I have heard it is nowhere near the original.
As always, for all this and more, feel free to follow me on Twitter at @kymayer. Cheers.