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Posts Tagged ‘Birdman of Alcatraz’

French Connection II – Starring Gene Hackman

Posted by the editors on Saturday, 10 December 2011

French Connection II(1975)(DVD)   Directed by John Frankenheimer (Birdman of Alcatraz (1962), The Manchurian Candidate (1962), Seven Days in May (1964), Grand Prix (1966)), starring Gene Hackman (Mississippi Burning (1987), Unforgiven (1992), The Firm (1993)) with Fernando Rey (Tristana (1970), Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972)).  While this crime drama may not be up to the level of its predecessor, the enormously successful The French Connection (1971), French Connection II still qualifies as a tense and very good film, largely thanks to dominating presence and inspired acting of Gene Hackman, who portrays the narrow-minded and obsessively determined New York narcotics detective in both films.  Though The French Connection was ostensibly based on fact, and shot in a cold, hostile and decrepit New York City, which in fact was one of the striking screen presences in the film, French Connection II is admittedly purely fictional, and is shot in the French Mediterranean city of Marseilles, home of the dreaded international heroin smuggling organisation, the French Connection.  Marseilles offers an exotic backdrop, a mix of bikini-clad beach-goers and narrow, garbage-strewn ethnic quarters, for Detective Popeye Doyle’s (Hackman) dogged pursuit of French Connection king-pin Alain Charnier, called Frog One, portrayed by Fernando Rey in both films.  With excellent acting by Hackman and some wrenching and wonderfully tense scenes, French Connection II, though perhaps not quite achieving the iconic cinema status of the first film, is nevertheless a great crime drama and, frankly, in itself, a must-see film. (PR) (Pay special attention to the excellent scene between Hackman and Cathleen Nesbitt, as “The Old Lady”.)

See our previous posts on the film The French Connection starring Gene Hackman and on the film Scarecrow, starring Hackman and a very young Al Pacino.

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