I recently attended screenings of The French Connection and To Live and Die in L.A. at the Aero Theater presented by the American Cinematheque. William Friedkin was present and spoke about these two outstanding films both of which I have seen more than thirty times over the years. Thirty? Yes. Would you listen to Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 only once? As time passes and I have experienced more of life, I find my perception of these films changing but what has not changed is my affection for them. Friedkin made a similar comment about Lawrence of Arabia with which I completely agree--probably the best film ever made, if one knows anything about filmmaking and storytelling.
Listening to William Friedkin talk about The French Connection, I was reminded yet again of how fragile a film can be until its completion and exhibition. Even after its release, there were those who wanted to re-do certain aspects of the film and movie buffs can be thankful that the film emerged as it did without any aftermarket revisions. The Friedkin signature of a noteworthy score--by Don Ellis in this case--and a piercing cynicism drawing our attention to the parallel between the underworld and law enforcement is as thought provoking today as it was when the film was released.
The most interesting part of the evening for me came when Friedkin spoke of the famous car chase scene in which Gene Hackman chases after an elevated train carrying a fleeing Marcel Bozzuffi. He didn't have permits for the chase and the train sequence was made possible only by the audacity of the filmmakers and a certain rail employee. When I engaged in these antics, I would usually go out to El Mirage (unless one counts that time in Mexico) to get out of harm's way. Friedkin pulled it off in the middle of New Your City. Regardless of the budget, long live guerrilla filmmaking!
How to Shoot a Feature Film in 15 Days (And Survive to See Profits)
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Examples of Responsive Reactions
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Action/ReAction at Stella Adler
Point of Departure
A Series of ONE...
Stephen and Dragonuk
Stephen Mitchell webinar for Stage 32
Ferrari GTO 3987 at speed by Yan denes
Ray D. Shosay's Journal
Dispatches from a (junior) suite in Paris
Ray D. Shosay's Journal (excerpt)
"Saturday, January 27, 2007
They say you can fool some of the people all of the time. Accordingly, I think we should concentrate on this group initially. We can move on to the people you can only fool some of the time at a later date if we deem it necessary. I hope to hear back from my agent about this as soon as he's out of rehab, as I don't think my messages have been getting through."
Ignorance is Bliss by Stephen Mitchell
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Exerpt from Ignorance is Bliss
"Out of the corner of his eye, Martin saw Martha shift in her seat. She leaned forward, as though something was about to be decided. This caused her breasts to push up against the neckline of her dress in a way that couldn't be fully appreciated out of the corner of one’s eye. So, Martin turned his head to look directly into the abyss of her cleavage. He was vaguely aware that Murray was talking again."
Carrera Panamericana (1950-54)
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Ferrari GTO 3987
Elysée Wednesday: Drive!
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“You ought to meet Steve. The two of you have the same kind of Ferrari.”
Ferrari Berlinetta Lusso
One evening, I was enjoying a John le Carré novel and a glass of Bordeaux...
L'art de l'automobile
My first Lusso prior to restoration
It was only after Sinatra was gone...
Once upon a time...
Meeting Enzo Ferrari
I came across this on a late night stroll in Paris near the Louvre.
I bought Bentleys in England and Ferraris & Maseratis in Italy to re-sell in Los Angeles as a teenager. I met Enzo Ferrari, Juan Fangio and Steve McQueen. I 'grew up' on the set of Mission: Impossible and other episodic TV series of the era. For a few years, I owned a Ferrari GTO that is owned by Ralph Lauren today and valued at approximately $52M. I began my film career by writing, producing and directing Montmartre in Paris in French. I founded and ran a repertory company for film & TV for 20 years in Los Angeles. I created a TV series which had fans that included Marlon Brando. I authored the first new acting technique--Action/ReAction--that was not based on Stanislavski's Method. I am currently writing my third novel and shooting my spy thriller Exigence. If you can't make movies, live your life as though you were in one...