Bullitt

Johnny Ross (Felice Orlandi) is due to be the surprise witness at a mob trial in San Francisco, and needs protective custody to keep him safe over the weekend leading up to the trial. Politician Walter Chalmers (Robert Vaughn) is behind Ross’ appearance, and enlists the high profile Police Lieutenant Frank Bullitt (Steve McQueen) to run the operation, but as can be expected, not everything goes to plan.
Continue reading

Advertisements

The Towering Inferno

On it’s opening night, a 138-storey skyscraper is having a celebratory party on the 135th floor. However, due to corners being cut during production a fire breaks out on floor 81. It is up to the building’s architect Doug Roberts (Paul Newman) and Fire Chief O’Hallorhan (Steve McQueen) to try to save as many people as possible as the blaze intensifies.
firefighters Continue reading

The Blob (1958)

Whilst out on a date, two kids (Steve McQueen and Aneta Corsaut) see something fall from the sky. Upon investigating they find an old man with a strange amorphous substance covering his right hand. They rush him to the local doctor, but things get worse when the substance appears to grow and digest the arm’s owner, and no-one in a position of authority with believe the kids’ story.
blob Continue reading

The Sand Pebbles

The year is 1926, just before one of the many Chinese revolutions. Jake Holman (Steve McQueen) is a ship’s engineer who has been transferred to a small run-down gunship named the San Pablo, or the Sand Pebble to her crew. Aboard the Pebble, Holman causes tension amongst the already tight-knit yet divided crew, which doesn’t help when the Chinese public attempt to instigate a war with the US. Continue reading

Nevada Smith

When three men, claiming to be friends of his father, ask young half Native American Max Sand (Steve McQueen) the way to his parents’ depleted gold mine, Max doesn’t hesitate in giving them directions. Something seems up, so he heads after them, but upon arriving discovers the three men have tortured and killed his folks, even skinning his squaw mother, once they had found out the mine had only produced one nugget in the past two years. Max burns down the house, not wanting anyone to see his family in that condition, and heads out into the world with just his horse, a rifle, $8.00 to his name and a vivid memory of the three men who killed his parents, and who he will not rest until they have been killed by his hand.
Continue reading

The War Lover

England, 1943. Two US Air Force bomber pilots, Buzz Rickson (Steve McQueen) and Ed ‘Bo’ Bolland (Robert Wagner), are best friends, room-mates and regularly go on missions together during World War Two. When a bombing run is called off mid-flight due to heavy cloud cover, Buzz completes it anyway, and causes the death of several airmen in the process. His insubordination becomes a problem, but because he’s the best pilot they’ve got, the army is forced to keep him on. Meanwhile, Bo hooks up with Daphne (Shirley Anne Field), a girl dating one of the men in the downed plane. Buzz’s irresponsibility and Bo’s relationship pulls the two friends apart, especially when Buzz looks set to make a move on Daphne.
Continue reading

Hell Is For Heroes

1944, Montigny, France. At a rest area near the Siegfreid Line, Sergeant Larkin (Harry Guardino) is desperately trying to find a pen amongst his small band of men. Everyone is either using theirs, sees no need for one, sells dodgy ones or are in a similar state of searching for a writing implement. This scene, which does a good job of introducing the main characters and their various skills, roles and personalities, is one of very few scenes that sets it apart from essentially every other war film ever made.
There’s Private Corby (Bobby Darin), the guy who knows how to get things, but they won’t necessarily work and will cost you a price, and Corporal Henshaw (James Coburn), the bespectacled guy who can’t help tinkering with anything that moves, even fixing a car that was just sat nearby. Private Cumberly (Bill Mullikin) is an amiable chap, but seeing as he’s devoid of too much of a personality, you can go ahead and consider him German cannon fodder, and the young Homer (Nick Adams), a Polish kid looking to get a ride to America when the troops are shipped home. Add to this bunch Steve McQueen as Private Reese, transferred to the company the day before they’re shipped not home, as they’d been led to believe, but back to the front.

The main story – the small band of American WW2 soldiers are tasked with an almost impossible mission – has since been far-bettered in Saving Private Ryan. In fact, the main story here is the defending of a post against a German pillbox, which here lasts 90 minutes, but was deftly handled by Spielberg in just one, very memorable, scene that isn’t even the best in that film. However, even without Ryan this wouldn’t be a very memorable film anyway, as for the most part it’s fairly dull, and none of the roles are given much characterisation other than being good, or bad, at a specific thing. It’s such that when any of the men are slain, the impact is only really felt because there are so few of them in the first place, rather than because we’ve grown to love them.

The action is widely spaced out, and when the big climactic advance takes places, it’s mostly in almost total darkness, until Coburn picks up a flamethrower and sets about with it, but even that’s not for long enough. The mine-sweeping scene is admittedly very tense, but alas the outcome is fairly predictable, and its just a matter of waiting for the inevitable to occur. There’s also a nice early scene in a bar between McQueen and a woman in a bar, but once over it’s forgotten, which is a shame as it’s probably the best scene in the film. The camera following a dying man on a stretcher as it’s bearers strive to reach safety for him was a nice touch too, but sadly was lost amidst a sea of unoriginality.

The main focus of the film was on a relatively interesting subject – a small group of men trying to convince a large unseen foe that there were far more of them than in actuality, and they used some ingenious methods to do it, but other than the actual ideas on display I was far from entertained or engrossed. There are far more, and far greater, war films in existence, and I’m hoping the remaining three on McQueen’s resume are superior (I know The Great Escape is).

Choose life 5/10