Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Great Motion Picture Chase Scenes

I menitoned early on that I really love movies. Wyatt, at his 19SEP installment of his Support Your Local Gunfighter blog listed his pick for the
Top Five Film Chases Of All Time.

I suggest you drop by and read what he has to say. There's no question, his were some really good choices, but I'd ether substitute in some others, or opine that the list should be increased to the TOP TEN. Now, in the Comments section, Wyatt granted that there were a couple he left out, which indicates he is indeed a wise man, and ready to discuss differing opinions.

There are at least two I'd add - -

Ronin (1998)
This film at times seems to be one long car chase across Europe, with occasional intermissions to get more cars and ammunition. So central to this movie is the automotive pursuit, that Internet Movie Database (IMDb)

included these factoids in their Trivia section for the film:

--80 automobiles were destroyed during filming.

--During one of the car chase sequences where Gregor (Stellan Skarsgård) is dictating directions to Sam (Robert De Niro) from a computer terminal, Avid film editing software - the software used to edit the film - is visible on the screen.

--One of the stunt drivers was former Formula 1 driver Jean-Pierre Jarier.

--To make it look like Robert De Niro and Natascha McElhone were actually driving during the car chase, right hand drive cars were used, with the passenger side made up to mirror the real controls. The actors then mimicked the stunt drivers movements.

--Skipp Sudduth requested to do his own stunt driving during the car chases and John Frankenheimer agreed. Frankenheimer told Sudduth "I don't wanna see any brake lights."

Pretty good plot, beautiful photography, and a couple of GREAT lines of dialogue, which might make a decent blog topic, later on.

Its a Mad Mad Mad Mad World (1963, 1970 re-release)
This one is another in which practically the entire feature is an extended chase scene. As the participants are racing to attain a goal, and are NOT fighting one another, there is no gun play, and little violence at all. Still, a wonderful, FUN motion picture. There are some quite decent instances of special effects, given how old this really is.

Check out a bunch of details at IMDb.
Unfortunately, they don't tell us how many cars were wrecked in the filming. They nearly sacrificed a Beechcraft 18 twin-engined aircraft to the movie, though.

Again, my choices are just an additional opinion. I really wouldn't want to start an argument with Wyatt. Students of history will note, gunfighters avoided going head-to-head when possible. ;-)


Wyatt Earp said...

I have no disagreement with either of your choices. Although I was assaulted for my omission of Ronin. My bad. :)

Wyatt Earp said...

BTW, thanks for the sidebar link. It has been reciprocated.

Who is..... Carteach0? said...

There is no equal to the chase scene from Ronin.

I'd love to show it to my class, but those silly buggers would try it themselves!

Seth from Massachusetts said...

Greatest movie chase scene of all time, Bullett!

Here's a suggestion for a similiar blog discussion. Movies we have seen in which a really stupid depiction of guns and shooting occurs.

Example, the movie Buffalo Bill filmed in 1940. The good guys are about to be massacred by Indians. Suddenly a rifle pokes around a rock and shoots all the Indians. Then Buffalo Bill steps from behind the rock holding the most magnificent 1873 Winchester I ever saw in a movie. One of the good guys says "Ah, Buffalo Bill, I knew that was you, I recognized the sound our your Springfield!"

lainy said...

I enjoyed Ronin as well. Thank you Sir for the car scene chase facts. I had no idea and am very impressed.

phlegmfatale said...

I gotta say that for me, perhaps the top chase scene of all time was French Connection. Loved that chase - it's my go-to whenever I think of car chases on film. Gripping excitement from an era when cars were really packin' some punch. Great authentic engine sounds that match the actual vehicles, too, is a major bonus. Plus Gene Hackman. I loves me some Gene Hackman.

LabRat said...

And yet none of you has mentioned has mentioned Blues Brothers, which held the record for most cars destroyed during filming until its own sequel (don't know who took it after that, though apparently Ronin is a contender), and dropped a car from a helicopter over a mile up.

My faith in the goodness of the universe dims.

Who is..... Carteach0? said...

Blues brothers was not really a chase scene, but more of a comedy act involving cars. It was one slapstick screwup after another.

Reminded me of the old Chaplin flicks.

LabRat said...

Perspectives, I suppose. Mad Mad Mad etc. was a comedy making slapstick out of car chases, too.

I also appreciate most action movies at least in part as slapstick no matter how straight they're played, but that might just be my bent sense of humor.

(C'mon. Illinois Nazis!)

BCFD36 said...

Vanishing Point. The whole movie was a chase. At least until he drove into the bulldozers.


comatus said...

Carteach, you got a point there. Most car chases make we wince, either because they're taking out some irreplaceable iron, or the kid in the next car at the drive-in is going to try it in the exit lane.

I had an English professor (the late Jack Nachbar) who'd written some big thick books on Westerns, and he opined that car chase scenes would live on to represent our age as Shakespeare's soliloquys stand for his. Sooner or later--I haven't seen it yet--we'll need to apply literary criticism (I'll go ahead and say it: "Deconstructionism!") to the composition of the scenes, instead of just reminiscing. There's something about the Bullitt sequence, f'rinstance, that seems to resonate, even beyond the knowledge that McQueen was actually at the wheel for part of it (someone said he wasn't really that great a driver).

A gratuitous explosion turns me right off, because BTDT, I know it can't happen without "60 Minutes" setting it up. It's like a fruit cart. I believe I'm getting too mature.

outside_of_apex said...

Hello, I know I'm a tad late here, but first I'd like to thank you for the suggestion of the movie Ronin. I use NetFlix and am always looking for new movie suggestions.

As an extension to this I was looking into other car movies where I found a bunch. But I found one that floored me.

C'était un Rendez-Vous
. Apparently the guy drove a Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9 but the engine sounds were dubbed from a Ferrari 275GTB.

I'm just glad people like this don't live near me ;-)