After the previous film I felt like a double feature, so I chose this 1973 crime drama thriller.
It stars the excellent Roy Scheider, and is directed and produced by Philip D’Antoni who produced Bullitt and The French Connection, so of course there was an epic car chase. This was the only film he directed.
The story involves a group who kidnap higher echelon mafia bosses for random. Roy is a member of a renegade police team called “The Seven-Ups” who bust crims so well that they are sent to the joint for at least seven years (had they been busted by regular cops they would have gotten off lightly). Roy and his team set about finding out who the kidnappers are, and it becomes personal when one of their team is killed by one of the kidnappers, played by Richard Lynch, a superb villain actor.
The plot is pretty good, and while there is not a lot of action, it is still engaging enough, and the acting is decent. The cinematography too was good.
Roy Scheider was great in his role, as he was in all of his films. He was quite the accomplished amateur boxer in the mid to late forties. He died in 2008.
Roy did some of the driving in the car chase scene, which was coordinated by a chap named Bill Hickman. He worked with James Dean, and was first on the scene after Dean’s accident, holding him in his arms as he died. The chase had elements of Bullitt (the cars jumping over bumps a downhill road). It ended thus (Jerry Summers was the stunt driver):
The end of the chase was Hickman’s “homage” to the death of Jayne Mansfield, where Scheider’s car (driven by Summers) smashes into the back of a parked tractor-trailer, peeling off the car’s roof. – Wikipedia
The scenes of early seventies New York were great to see. It was quite grimy, and parts of it were a crumbling mess, but it certainly had character.
This was a very worthy watch. In fact, watching this in a triple-feature along with Bullitt and The French Connection sounds like a good idea for a future rainy day (like today… it has been bucketing down all morning so far).
Date watched: June 30th
Film count 2017: 75