Sunday, January 24, 2010

Feeling Seven Up

Mr. Schprock, the Man with One Vowel, recommended The Seven-Ups to us in a discussion of car chases. He advanced the theory that the car chase in The Seven-Ups beats the one in Bullit. He's wrong, but I enjoyed finding that out.

Roy Scheider plays a member of the NYPD's elite Seven-Ups. Anyone they catch goes away for seven years and up. A gang posing as police is kidnapping gangsters for ransom, and the Seven-Ups have to catch them, or they may take the blame.

Before I get to the car chase, a few points:
  • Filmed in winter in NY in 1973, this movie looks beautiful. Bare trees, grey row houses, Italian neighborhoods - none of it is pretty but all beautiful. Or am I just nostalgic?
  • To me, this movie looks very French. Maybe because we just saw Le Professionel, and Schneider's nose reminds me of Belmondo. But it was filmed in a slightly paranoid, surveillance, verite style that struck me as continental.
  • The score, by Don Ellis, is mostly stabbing atonal strings. He may have listened to the Psycho soundtrack a little too much.
As for the car chase, it is very good, with marks for wrong-way driving, suspension bottoming, schoolchildren menacing and use of a Greyhound bus as a shield. However, I have to deduct points for the bad guy riding shotgun, throwing his hands up in front of his face and going "Aaah!" The first time looked phony, the second time looked funny.

A great car chase, just not quite as good as Bullit. I'd have to watch French Connection again to compare it against that one.

But a great movie, tense, involving, and full of New York color (mostly grey, but still). Thanks, Schprockie!


mr. schprock said...

I just watched The Seven-Ups last week for the first time all the way through. I will say this: as far as movies in their entirety go, Bullit beats Seven-Ups without breaking a sweat. But I've got to stick with The Seven-Ups car chase. The red car whose door opens at just the right time? Priceless.

Now let's discuss chases by slow-moving pursuers who always manage to keep up with their much-faster prey: Jason in Friday the 13th, Gort in the Day the Earth Stood Still, the terminator in Terminator 1, the mummy, and who else? Who's the best? And of the prey, who's the best at stumbling and panicking? Discuss.

Beveridge D. Spenser said...

There's a famous monster in "The Creeping Terror" (I think), immortalized by MST3k. It was basically a guy under a large piece of shag carpet, and it moved so slowly that you had to literally crawl into its mouth.