EDITORIAL – Santa picks his feet in Poughkeepsie. Which is exactly why William Friedkin’s The French Connection is a better Christmas movie than Die Hard. Everyone talks about Die Hard as being the first action Christmas movie. But Friedkin’s The French Connection is also a great Christmas movie as well as a balls to the wall action thriller. And Santa picks his feet in Poughkeepsie in it. What more do you want?
Here’s Why The French Connection Is A Christmas Movie
It’s obvious when you think about it. The whole film is about a friendly man with a beard from far, far away trying to bring presents to everyone in America. What could be more festive than that? Nothing, that’s what. It’s got more festive spirit than some f*cking Coca-Cola truck trying to force sugar down the necks of already morbidly obese children.
Santa Picks His Feet In Poughkeepsie
The film also boasts cuddly Gene Hackman playing everyman racist, Popeye Doyle. Popeye even dresses up as Santa to surprise one of his friends as part of a jolly Christmas prank. Once he’s caught up with his buddy, they share a laugh and a joke about picking their feet in Poughkeepsie. This scene is full of festive cheer as they giggle and prance through the junk-strewn waste grounds of New York, avoiding the used needles and rats as they go. Ho-ho-ho!
Father Christmas Has Happy Little Elves
But Fernando Rey’s real Santa isn’t working on his own. He has his happy little elves in the shape of New York mob goodfella, Sal Boca and mysterious, psychotic hitman Pierre Nicoli. With lots of hard work, they want to help Santa distribute little presents in nickel and dime bags to all the happy children of New York who have been good this year. And luckily for them, Popeye ‘Grinch’ Doyle is a lousy shot.
Next – Why The French Connection II Is An Easter Movie About The Resurrection
In our continuing series of 47 Films to see before you’re murdered in your dreams, we look at William Friedkin’s Sorcerer.
Sorcerer – William Friedkin‘s remake of Henri Georges Clouzot’s Wages of Fear – was a lumbering ego ridden production nightmare and on its release a big budget disaster at the box office which effectively ended Friedkin’s post-Exorcist wunderkind reputation and put him in the naughty corner, soon to be joined by Michael Cimino, but the film is an amazing sweaty feast of male angst and explosive tension. A group of disparate renegades – a stick up man, a French swindler, a hit man and a terrorist – wind up in a South American mining town. When a fire breaks out in the mine, they seize the high risk job of transporting boxes of nitroglycerin through the jungle in a pair of beaten up monster trucks. Friedkin throws everything at the men: rickety bridges, felled trees, roaring rivers and gun-toting banditos. The mutually suspicious men must learn to put aside their distrust and work together.
Following his rocket to stardom with Jaws, Roy Scheider gives perhaps his best performance, and the film is full of intense furrow-browed seriousness and elemental . But coming as it did in the immediate wake of Star Wars with an opening quarter of an hour without any English dialogue and featuring a host of unsympathetic characters doing an apparently ludicrous thing, Sorcerer – oh and the f*cking title was a mistake as well – went directly down the box office toilet without touching the sides and was roundly thrashed by a critical community who were already hostile to the idea of a jumped up yank remaking a classic of French Cinema. A remastered version is due out next year and a revival will deservedly be afoot by then.
For more of our 47 Films series CLICK HERE.
Hidden Gems brings to light little known film gems which have somehow slipped through the collective cinematic consciousness. You’re welcome. This week Jaws.
In Jaws, a sleepy seaside community is terrorized by kids karate chopping fences. Fortunately, a shark turns up. This little known revenge of nature drama sunk without trace when it was first released in 1975, partly because of its ponderously simplistic score by classical guitarist John Williams.
Either Rob Schnieder or Roy Scheider or Rod Steiger plays Chief Brody, a water phobic New York cop new to the job of policing on an island. And yet it falls to him to defend a community not only from the shark but its own venal short-sightedness. Shark Fisherman Quint (Robert Shaw) and oceanographer Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) are the unlikely allies who join him to hunt and kill the Great White. The commercial and critical failure of the film condemned promising TV director Steven Spielberg to a lifetime of obscure historical dramas such as 1941, Amistad and Jurassic Park.
The comedy shark – nicknamed Bruce – however was the only cast member to make a real impact and went on to star in a number of sequels, including an appearance (as himself) in Finding Nemo.