The Making of (Peter Yates’) BULLITT
Sound: C Extras: D Main Program: B
Steve McQueen, along with Sean Connery, he redefined the
concept of the lead actor and created the Action genre as we known it
today. Like Connery, he did not always
get the credit he deserved for his acting ability, but his influence and
importance are inarguable. Bullitt
(1968) is one of his greatest films and is known for one of the most important
action moments in cinema history: it’s car chase.
That chase has been ripped off endless times, imitated (as
recently as Paul Verhoeven’s Basic Instinct in 1992), spoofed (in Peter
Bogdanovich’s 1972 comedy classic What’s Up Doc?) and caused a drive in
attempts to top it. This was especially
the case in The French Connection, The Seven-Ups, and many of the
other great urban thrillers of the time.
However, the film is about the title anti-hero (McQueen) being the
Police Department’s loose cannon, so much so that he may have stumbled upon
something unusual about operations that might get him killed.
This Making of program offers the original trailer
and a featurette on how far McQueen went as producer to be realistic, something
not included on the original Warner Bros. DVD issued years ago or the brand-new
boxed set just-issued. They do have the
trailer, but it is bizarre the featurette is not included there. It is here, however, which makes this
low-priced DVD as key to have as the elaborate box that goes for a list of $80
and will only be available for a limited time.
The various aspect ratios on the DVD average out in
picture quality, while the Dolby Digital 2.0 is usually Mono. The box claims surrounds, but they simply do
not exist here. The menu has the
irritating problem of the highlighting not being bright enough, so you have to
look close to get use to it. They did
not make to distinct enough shades of green.
Scene selection will give you full access.
In addition to trailer collections highlighting the
careers of McQueen and co-star Jacqueline Bisset, it has a great collection of
trailers for other major films in the Bullitt vein like McQueen’s
original Getaway, Walter Hill’s The Driver (he wrote The
Getaway), the first Dirty Harry sequel Magnum Force,
Spielberg’s Duel (a U.S. Telefilm issued theatrically in Europe), the
outlaw classic Vanishing Point, and George Miller’s original Mad Max
with Mel Gibson. It would have been
nice to show memorabilia on the film, as well as even brief looks at co-stars
Robert Vaughn, Simon Oakland, Robert Duvall, Don Gordon, Vic (Victor) Tayback,
and a then-serious Norman Fell (later TV’s Mr. Roper on Three’s Company
and its spin-off). The other thing
would have been to show a bit of Yates other work, including Robbery (a
1967 forerunner of sorts to this film), his 1972 heist film The Hot Rock,
and grossly underseen and underrated thriller Suspect (1987) with Dennis
Quaid and Cher (in one of best-ever performances). Otherwise, of the four films issued by Passport Video in this
series, only their Making of Westworld is equal.
- Nicholas Sheffo