SUtS: Steve McQueen

Carrie’s choice: The Blob (1958)

Airing 11:45AM EST

Run…. Don’t walk from… The Blob!

I’m taking just a couple of quick minutes for The Blob. This film is interesting in that it has become so culturally relevant, not for the film itself, but for the previews. The ads for The Blob have infiltrated our culture in so many ways. Who doesn’t know the slogan? Who cared if the movie was good? It was advertising at it’s best. Or some of the best.

To be honest, I must confess I’ve never seen all of The Blob, but it’s cultural implications are important to me. As a character (?) I’ve seen the idea reused. The trailers- absolutely. I grew up with the famous images of women screaming, people running, and the nasty, slowly oozing, all encompassing Blob.

And why not? Everyone can relate to it. There’s something so much more ominous about something slow, yet inevitable than something fast but preventable. It’s like how we feel about being overwhelmed, only brought to life- thus, an amazing, if not far-fetched movie. The special effects will not be our standards, but we really do owe a lot of credence to The Blob- even if it is for the mastery of the trailer. Thanks, Blob editors, for proving that the trailer is as much an art form as film-making.

Brandie’s choice: Bullitt (1968)

Airing 10:15PM EST

He was called “the King of Cool,” and no one before and no one since has ever quite matched the combination of charm, danger, rakishness, and raw sexuality that Steve McQueen brought to the screen. He was the apotheosis of the silver screen anti-hero, a straight-shooting badass whose off-screen persona was just as reckless and thrill-seeking as some of his best-known roles. And nowhere is McQueen’s unique screen presence on better display than in the suspenseful police drama Bullitt, from 1968.

McQueen plays police lieutenant Frank Bullitt, who is charged with guarding a mob witness until he is able  to testify. When the witness is murdered, Bullitt, in danger of losing his career over this, must figure out who ordered the hit while holding off the demands of a pushy politician who is using the case to make a name for himself. It’s a simple plot, really, and has been recreated any number of times in any number of forms over the past forty years. But few of those subsequent films have the same gritty magic as this one.

We have Steve McQueen and the movie Bullitt to thank, in large part, for modern cinema’s love of death-defying car chases. In fact, this movie is essentially a love letter to its starring automobiles, cars that have become as iconic as the film’s star. The much-revered car chase scene, taking Bullitt on a hair-raising road battle through the crowded streets of San Francisco, features a green 1968 Ford Mustang GT 390 CID Fastback and a black 1968 Dodge Charger R/T 440 Magnum (yeah, I had to look all that up. I don’t know crap about cars unless it involves turning on the air conditioner and finding a decent radio station).

Reports vary about whether or not McQueen did all of his own stunt work for this sequence–he had insisted, upon agreeing to do the film, that he be allowed to do as many of the stunts as possible on his own, but some say that McQueen showed up for work one day to find most of the driving stunts already completed. Regardless, I’m sure the studio heads were just THRILLED that one of the top box-office draws of the decade wanted to hurtle around the narrow city streets at speeds of up to 110 mph.

Yes, the car chase is fantastic. But that’s not the only attraction–the movie itself is pretty damn fantastic all around, and McQueen gives one of the best performances of his career. Make sure you catch it!

2 thoughts on “SUtS: Steve McQueen

  1. Pingback: The king of cool, revisited. | True Classics: The ABCs of Classic Film

  2. Pingback: Steve Mcqueen | Trends Pics

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