Tuesday, March 10, 2015

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Casting Coup: The French Connection

Best Picture (WON)
Best Director - William Friedkin (WON)
Best Actor - Gene Hackman (WON)
Best Supporting Actor - Roy Scheider
Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium - Ernest Tidyman (WON)
Best Cinematography - Owen Roizman
Best Film Editing - Gerald B. Greenberg (WON)
Best Sound - Theodore Soderberg / Christopher Newman

One of the reasons why I chose 1971 as my Retrospective year is this film -- I'd never seen it before, despite having heard a lot about it, and even reading William Friedkin's memoir where he discusses the making of it in detail. Obviously, that's been amended, and I can confidently say that the film is, indeed, pretty damn great.

And not that dated, either in execution or subject matter. Therefore, it's perfect fodder for a re-imagining -- indeed, the French side of the tale will be told this Summer in the film, The Connection starring Academy Award Winner Jean Dujardin. Which is a coincidence, because...well, why not read on?

Pierre Nicoli
originated by Marcel Bozzuffi
Charnier's assassin. Steals a train!

My Choice:
Fabrizio Rongione
A welcome presence in Two Days, One Night.

Sal Boca

originated by Tony Lo Bianco
The American buyer, who perhaps may not be as high up in the operation as he wishes. But baby steps, right?

My Choice:

Kevin Corrigan


originated by Bill Hickman
A federal agent, more official in manner, who does not exactly get along with Popeye.

My Choice:

Jim O'Heir
We're all used to him as the affable sad-sack. But I'd like to see him as more of an authority figure, someone who can give someone some shit. Let's break him out of the goofy zone!

Buddy "Cloudy" Russo

originated by Roy Scheider
Doyle's partner. Watchful, loyal -- technically "the good cop", I guess, but hard to tell with the way they do things. Someone you want on your side.

My Choice: Academy Award/BAFTA Award/SAG Award Nominee for Best Supporting Actor (The Kids Are All RightFoxcatcher); Golden Globe Nominee for Best Supporting Actor (Foxcatcher); SAG Award Nominee for Best Ensemble (The Kids Are All Right)

Mark Ruffalo
One of the best character actors working.

Alain Charnier

originated by Fernando Rey
Runs the world's largest heroin-smugglign syndicate. Suave, sophisticated, wealthy. Quick on his feet.

My Choice: Academy Award/BAFTA Award/Golden Globe/SAG Award Winner for Best Actor (The Artist)

Jean Dujardin
Charming, and with a hint of danger that I think could be further explored.

Jimmy "Popeye" Doyle

originated by Gene Hackman
Narcotics detective who doesn't play by the rules -- except the rules of justice, maybe. Maybe. Loves booze and women, hates criminals, perhaps not the most progressive chap as far as race relations are concerned. But dammit, eh gets the job done, doesn't he...doesn't he?

My Choice: Academy Award Nominee for Best Actor (Silver Linings Playbook, American Sniper), Best Supporting Actor (American Hustle) and Best Picture (American Sniper); BAFTA Award/Golden Globe Nominee for Best Actor (Silver Linings Playbook) and Best Supporting Actor (American Hustle), SAG Award Winner for Best Ensemble (American Hustle)

Bradley Cooper
Although he's clearly a better-looking, more matinee-idol-ready, kind of star than Gene Hackman, Cooper has proved himself to be an actor comfortable with coarseness and free of vanity.

Next time: The Last Picture Show, with a whole slew of stars! Maybe!

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