Film Review – THE FRENCH CONNECTION (1971)

French Connection, The (1971; USA; DeLuxe; 104m) ∗∗∗∗½  d. William Friedkin; w. Ernest Tidyman; ph. Owen Roizman; m. Don Ellis.  Cast: Gene Hackman, Roy Scheider, Fernando Rey, Tony Lo Bianco, Marcel Bozzuffi, Frederic de Pasquale, Bill Hickman, Ann Rebbot, Harold Gary, Arlene Farber, Eddie Egan, Patrick McDermott, Andre Ernotte, Sonny Grosso, Alan Weeks. A pair of NYC cops in the Narcotics Bureau stumble onto a drug smuggling job with a French connection. Brilliantly filmed, gritty and absorbing crime thriller with a superb performance from Hackman as single-minded cop. Shot on streets of New York during a cold winter adding to authentic feel. Winner of five Oscars including Best Film, Actor (Hackman), Director (Friedkin), Adapted Screenplay (Tidyman) and Editing (Greenberg). Based on the book by Robin Moore. Followed by FRENCH CONNECTION II (1975) and POPEYE DOYLE (1986) (TV). [18]

Film Review – ABSOLUTE POWER (1997)

Absolute Power (1997; USA; Technicolor; 122m) ∗∗½  d. Clint Eastwood; w. William Goldman; ph. Jack N. Green; m. Lennie Niehaus.  Cast: Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman, Ed Harris, Laura Linney, Scott Glenn, Dennis Haysbert, Judy Davis, E. G. Marshall, Melora Hardin, Ken Welsh, Penny Johnson, Richard Jenkins, Alison Eastwood, Kimber Eastwood. A career thief witnesses a horrific crime involving the U.S. President. Highly implausible and lacking in pace, this is made watchable by the quality of the performers – although Davis chews the scenery somewhat in an eccentric portrayal as private secretary to Hackman’s president. Based on the novel by David Baldacci. Marshall’s final appearance in a theatrical film. [15]

Film Review – MISSISSIPPI BURNING (1989)

Mississippi Burning (1989; USA; DuArt; 127m) ∗∗∗∗  d. Alan Parker; w. Chris Gerolmo; ph. Peter Biziou; m. Trevor Jones.  Cast: Gene Hackman, Willem Dafoe, Frances McDormand, Brad Dourif, R. Lee Ermey, Gailard Sartain, Stephen Tobolowsky, Michael Rooker, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Badja Djola, Kevin Dunn, Frankie Faison, Robert F. Colesberry, Frederick Zollo. In 1964, when three civil-rights workers, two white and one black, mysteriously disappear while driving through Mississippi, two FBI agents (Dafoe and Hackman) are sent in to investigate. Shocking, gripping and brutal. Parker delivers a hard, but essential watch. The conflicts between Dafoe’s by-the-book agent and Hackman’s old-school approach using his knowledge of the culture give the story its moral conundrum. Top performances all round and technically accomplished with Oscar-winning cinematography. Based on historical events. Received six additional Oscar nominations including Best Picture. [18]