Friday, October 05, 2018

50 Years Old and Still the Greatest

Amidst all the 50th-anniversary celebrations (and mournful remembrances) is the release of Bullitt, whose car chase scene has been hailed as the "greatest":
it’s the nine minutes and 42 seconds in “Bullitt” that changed the landscape....The duel between Bullitt’s Ford Mustang and the 1968 Dodge Charger R/T driven by the villains, in which the hunted (Bullitt) becomes the hunter, took three weeks to film. An Aeroflex 2C, a portable movie camera that had been used by the military during World War II, was mounted by suction cups across the back seat to give moviegoers the driver’s perspective.
The car chase is all real, i.e., it was filmed before computer generated imagery (CGI) had been invented. The entire movie, except for two seconds added post-production, was filmed in San Francisco.
When [Director Peter] Yates and [film editor Frank] Keller were editing the film, they felt something was missing in the chase. Finally, they came up with an answer: Just as the chase revs into high gear, one of the villains fastens his seat belt. Yates and [cinematographer William] Fraker filmed it in a studio in Los Angeles. It lasts all of two seconds.

“There’s a ‘click,’ and then you know something big is about to happen...Then you know you’re in for a ride.”
I liked the chase scene when I saw it in the 1970's and '80's, but I enjoy it even more now that I know San Francisco well and get a chuckle out of watching the cars instantaneously appear in different locations around town. And what's with the all the green Volkswagens?

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