The French Connection

"Did you ever pick your feet in Poughkeepsie." Popeye
"Did you ever pick your feet in Poughkeepsie." Popeye

☆ Masterpiece 

The French Connection (1971) is a tandem virtuoso performance of directing and acting.

Directed by William Friedkin.

Starring Gene Hackman, Roy Scheider and Fernando Rey among many others.

Watching the French Connection I'm captivated by both Friedkin and Hackman's fearless and reckless work that earned them both Academy Awards. William's maverick approach to film making helps Gene completely submerge, explore and create a brutally honest and realistic cop who will do anything to bring down his felon. Whether its Hackman's character unexpectedly shooting a fleeing criminal in the back or Friedkin's realistic car chase, I was left breathless and in awe.  William Friedkin and Gene Hackman's teamwork reminds me of  Olivier Assayas and Edgar Ramirez's directing and acting partnership in their film Carlos (2010). My favorite story about Friedkin's devil may care style involves the casting of Fernando Rey. William had asked his casting director to hire the actor from Buñuel's film, Belle de Jour. His casting director thinking Friedkin wanted Fernando Rey hired him instead of William's choice of Francisco Rabal. Later when it was found that Rabal neither spoke English or French, Friedkin stayed with Rey never having met or auditioned him. 

In the scene below Hackman utters the famous lines, "You ever been to Poughkeepsie?" Gene is terrifying and funny at the same time. The actor in the scene has no choice, but to answer his absurd question. The real detective Popeye Doyle used this line of questioning to get the truth out of his victims. 

Trivia - "William Friedkin cut the car chase scene to the tempo of Carlos Santana's, Black magic woman, although no music was used.