Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

The Seven-Ups


Here is a crackerjack cop thriller with another excellent performance by Roy Scheider and what I think of as the New York Mob Ensemble, which is about a dozen actors who were in just about every wiseguy film from The Godfather up to “The Sopranos.” A lot of familiar faces whose names you don’t know. But it owes its best scene to one guy you probably don’t know, but have seen: Bill Hickman. He was a stunt driver and actor in small roles. He’s the guy we saw who was driving the ’68 Dodge Charger, pursued by Steve McQueen through the streets of San Francisco in Bullitt. He also did the driving for Gene Hackman, under the elevated railway in The French Connection. And he designed and drove—again, as himself, in the interior car shots—in the amazing chase in this one, through upper Manhattan and into New Jersey, where he drove the car into the back of a truck, peeling off the roof as if it were tin foil. This is so amazing to me, this trilogy of the absolute best car chases of the ‘70s, edge-of-the-seat, engine-roaring, no-dialogue masterpieces from back in the day when there was no CGI, when you knew these were real cars driven by real men with real skill. Sure, there are longer, louder, much more elaborate car chases these days, but you can make the entire thing in the computer, and where’s the excitement in that? So I say of these chases that they have been exceeded, but seldom equaled, if you dig what I’m saying.