Friday, April 4, 2014

One of the best movie car chases

I was reminded of the famous car chase in 'The Seven-Ups' recently, and looked on YouTube to see if it had been uploaded.  Sure enough, it had:  so here it is - one of the most 'adrenaline-rush' car chases ever filmed.  It's worth watching it in full-screen mode, if the resolution on your monitor is good enough.

According to Wikipedia:

As in Bullitt and The French Connection, Philip D'Antoni again utilized stunt coordinator and driver Bill Hickman (who also has a small role in the film) to help create the chase sequence for this film. Filmed in and around Upper Manhattan, New York City, the sequence was edited by Gerald B. Greenberg (credited as Jerry Greenberg), who also has an associate producer credit on this film and who won an Academy Award for his editing work on The French Connection.

The chase sequence is located near the middle of the film; in it, Hickman's car is being chased by Scheider. The chase itself borrows heavily from the Bullitt chase, with the two cars bouncing down the gradients of uptown New York (like the cars on San Francisco's steep hills in the earlier film) with Hickman's 1973 Pontiac Grand Ville sedan pursued by Scheider's 1973 Pontiac Ventura Sprint coupe. While Scheider did some of his own driving, most of it was done by Hollywood stunt man Jerry Summers.

Location shooting for the chase scene was done in the Upper West Side of Manhattan, on the George Washington Bridge, and on New Jersey's Palisades Interstate Parkway and New York's Taconic State Parkway.

In the accompanying behind-the-scenes featurette of the 2006 DVD release of the film, Hickman can be seen co-ordinating the chase from the street where we see a stuntman in a parked car opens his door as Hickman's vehicle takes it off its hinges. The end of the chase was Hickman's 'homage' to the death of Jayne Mansfield, where Scheider's car (driven by Summers) smashes into the back of a parked tractor-trailer, peeling off the car's roof.

Memorable stuff.  At the time of writing, the full movie is available on YouTube.



Differ said...

If you've not seen it, the car chase in Ronin is very good.

Old NFO said...

Good, but not up to Bullitt...

Will said...

Typical movie making. The hot rod sounds are from a stick trans car, and the movie car is an automatic. Column shift, and big brake pedal shown. Sigh...

Also, when he smacks that curb when he blows that left turn early on with the rear wheel, that probably bent the axle and or the rim. BTDT

Anonymous said...

@Will: If I'm not mistaken, for the soundtrack they dubbed in audio from the Bullitt chase sequence (not the only movie to do so, BTW). Pontiacs of that vintage never sounded that good... ;)

They also borrowed heavily from Bullitt in setting the chase up, including a quick cut from the heart of the city to an open country road; gratuitous guardrail scraping and the whole let's-hop-in-the-backseat-with-a-shotgun thing.

...Somewhere around here, speaking of Bill Hickman, I've got the 40th anniversary edition of Bullitt on VHS, to include a "making of" documentary that, among other things, shows Hickman and Steve McQueen setting up the film's stunts. One scene shows Hickman and McQueen doing side-by-side laps at speed around a San Francisco-area racetrack in the Charger and Mustang, in preparation for the chase. They're running so closely together that McQueen was literally hanging onto the Dodge's door sill with his left hand while steering the Mustang with his right.

--Wes S.

Anonymous said...

I haven't seen it in a long while, but I remember the chase in "To Live And Die In LA" put me on the edge of my seat.

Will said...


I'm guessing the racetrack would be Sears Point, in Sonoma, about a half hour north of SF. Tough track.
That would be the track where Robert Redford filmed a movie about motorcycle racers, in '69, IIRC. "Little Fauss and Big Halsy"