Watched: August 20 2022
Director: Peter Yates
Starring: Steve McQueen, Jacqueline Bisset, Robert Vaughn, Don Gordon, Robert Duvall, Simon Oakland, Georg Stanford Brown
Runtime: 1h 54min
Happy New Year guys. It’s been a minute. For reasons. But like us, Edgar has been busy editing the list and adding lots of new titles! Loads of juicy bits for us to bite into. Yummy! Thus, we shall once again pick up the mantle of chronicling our odyssey through the list (provided we don’t get too distracted by side quests again). Allons-y!
We’ll pick up (sort of) where we left off, with Peter Yates’ Bullitt (although it has jumped from #305 to #349. Which means that while you may have thought we took a year’s hiatus, we actually managed to do 44 films. In a strange, but also very real, way. For an explanation of how we deal with numbering, read here).
In San Francisco, Lt. Frank Bullitt is tasked with keeping star witness and former mobster Johnny Ross safe for the next 40 hours, until he is scheduled to testify in a hearing which is supes important, for a dodgy politician named Chalmers. It’s a whole thing.
Bullitt and his men fail miserably and Ross is shot on the first night. He survives for a bit in hospital, but when he finally bites the dust Bullitt teams up with his surgeon to hide the body for a bit so that he can keep investigating the murder. With both Chalmers and Captain Bennett putting the pressure on him, our hero must solve the mystery and complete his investigation while he avoids being murdered and stuff.
Bullitt is a violent action thriller, and the violence comes in short, quick increments, making it all the more effective. It also has an iconic car chase (some might even say it “surpasses any within recall”) in the hilly streets of San Francisco (where both the good guy and the bad guys are inexplicably outrun by an unassuming green beetle on several occasions), and a climactic foot chase in an airport to round it all off. Steve McQueen, a personal favourite of Sister the Youngest, is perfect in the title role. Very much the strong, silent type, his intensity makes him believable as a cop who will stand up to his superiors and do what’s right.
We loved McQueen’s cardigan game (cardigame?), the very ’60s soundtrack, the nurses’ headgear (how did anyone ever think that was practical?), Eddy’s entire look (choices!), the African American surgeon (progressive for the time? Or do we only think it is because things are still so shitty in the world? God, that’s a very depressing thought, isn’t it..?) the chases, the murders, the mystery and the mayhem. And Steve McQueen’s absolute coolness. That man really knew how to work the silences.
What we learned: You work your side of the street and I’ll work mine.
Next time: Coogan’s Bluff (1968)