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The French Connection (1971)


Commentaries on this disc:

Commentary 1: Director William Friedkin Rating:8.1/10 (23 votes) [graph]Login to vote or review
Reviewed by Brian Thibodeau on May 5th, 2004:Find all reviews by Brian Thibodeau
The Friedkin commentary on FRENCH CONNECTION is reasonably enlightening, although the director's tendency towards narration was in full effect, it was less noticeable because he frequently peppered it with interesting facts about real life cops Egan and Grosso. There was definitely some worth to this track and he seemed to be quite animated discussing it. A modest recommendation.
Reviewed by pat00139 on March 27th, 2007:Find all reviews by pat00139
This is a great commentary and it shows how insane Friedkin is. I say this because hearing how he shot the el/car chase scene actually surprised me. I’m glad he said that, shooting it today, he wouldn’t do it the same way. He seems to have a great time talking about this movie. This is a great track with a lot of information and interesting factoids. Friedkin wanted neither Hackman nor Rey for their roles, but they worked out great. He talks for pretty much the entire running time of the movie and talks about everything. How the project came about, casting, the studio, the script, shooting, Hackman, Scheider, Rey, the real events that inspired this movie, and everything else you can imagine are mentioned in this track. He seems really passionate about his breakthrough movie, and, like I’ve said, it really shows.
Reviewed by Uniblab on July 2nd, 2009:Find all reviews by Uniblab
I used to have high regards for this commentary by Friedkin, but listening to it one more time made me realize it isn't as good as I thought. It's another case of a director commenting on the actual case on which the movie is based, and since the movie is pretty accurate, his narration ends up being a description of what we see on the screen. Then Friedkin seems to just narrate the movie itself, period ("...the money goes into the rocker panels..."). His commentary is also overly repetitious (one could have some fun counting how many times he says "32 million dollars worth of uncut heroin"), and reproduces the movies ambiguous attitude towards its supposed heroes. Despite all that, it should be mentioned that Friedkin's commentary is very secure, nice to listen to, and at the end, quite informative.
Commentary 2: Actors Gene Hackman and Roy Scheider Rating:6.1/10 (10 votes) [graph]Login to vote or review
Reviewed by pat00139 on February 28th, 2006:Find all reviews by pat00139
Not really a commentary as it is 2 twenty-minute interviews with the two stars. Gene Hackman’s ‘commentary’ starts on chapter 2 and ends in chapter 9, only about 22 minutes or so. He talks about getting the part and acting in the movie. The most interesting thing about his interview is his description of the car chase. That description is repeated throughout this 2-disk set, though, but I heard it for the first time here.

Roy Scheider is more animated than Hackman and I generally enjoyed his 20 minutes (chapters 18-24) more than Hackman’s. Like Hackman, he talks about how he got the role, and offers up some interesting tidbits about Hackman and himself (apparently Hackman and Friedkin differed a lot on the role of Popeye Doyle, but Hackman ended up playing him the way Friedkin wanted and won the Best Actor Oscar for it). He seems to be having more fun talking about this movie than Hackman.
Reviewed by Uniblab on July 3rd, 2009:Find all reviews by Uniblab
As pat00139 says above, this is a jury-rigged commentary, patched from interviews or previously recorded accounts. And not only that, but it's also weirdly edited, as pat also notes above: Hackman speaks for 27 minutes, then there's a gap until the 55 minutes mark, when Scheider starts to speak, until 1 hour and 18 minutes.
They basically tell reminiscences and impressions they had making the movie and don't impart much information, but they sound very sympathetic, especially Scheider, and their commentary is more pleasant to listen to than Friedkin's one.
Reviewed by musíl65 on May 31st, 2017:Find all reviews by musíl65
This is no scene specific commentary. You have two monologues (each 20 minutes long) from Hackman and Scheider. They talk about how they get their parts, the style of the movie, working with the police, the car chase, their characters, working with Friedkin, the DP and the Oscars. This is quite interesting, but much too short. 7 out of 10.