Bullitt (1968)

13 Aug

bullitt car

I hadn’t seen Bullitt in years – it was part of Steve McQueen day on TCM last week and The Wife (who had never seen it) and I watched it. Much has been said of it, but I’ll add that it’s aged remarkably well considering the biggest strike against it: it seems to be the birthplace of a thousand clichés that were the cornerstones of every cop movie for the fifteen or twenty years that followed.

bullitt bissetHad we not been in San Francisco ourselves back in June, we probably would have thought it odd that on a day when Bullitt required a turtleneck and a sport coat, his girlfriend (Jacqueline Bisset) didn’t even feel the need to wear any pants. But summer can be capricious in the City by the Bay…

Also, looking at an international airport in 1968 (again, one I was just in) is beyond fascinating. People just walk around, hopping on and off planes (literally, figuratively)  like they paid for a service and have a right to be there. Shameful.

This was part of my wife’s continuing and inadvertent Boy Movie Education*, which over the last decade has included the first two Godfathers (verdict: not her cup of tea, but appreciated it and knew it was time to see it), a great pile of Kurosawa (verdict: if Mifune was still alive, she would long go have left me for him) and Jaws (which I’m amazed that she, as a New Englander, was able to sidestep for as long as she did).

bullitt fluteShe liked Bullitt. She also called the heavy use of Action Jazz Flute (another cliché that this was near the start of) as “Guiraldi-eque” without knowing that ol’ Vince was in fact a big part of the Bay Area jazz scene around this time. These are the conversations we have at home; that should give you a good snapshot.

 

 

*I know; I know. Don’t start. My wife has a tendency to watch musicals, cartoons, and various stripes of romantic comedy, as do I. She is knowledgeable and well-viewed. She just didn’t grow up in a house where Westerns and cop movies and war tales and such were the norm. Unless Gregory Peck or Errol Flynn was in them. In which case all bets were off. I’m not Better than her (at all – her memory far exceeds mine); I haven’t seen The World of Susie Wong yet, but she introduced me to Picnic at Hanging Rock and Pandora’s Box and more. But, you know. Noisy movies.

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