Hello, everybody. Joe Morella and Frank Segers, your classic movie guys, here to re-affirm that our website is indeed devoted to classic movies. So, going in, we admit we are stretching our purview a tad today with our reader quiz about a movie dating from 1971.
Can ANY 1971 movie being considered a classic film? While you ponder that question, we’ll blithely go ahead and publish our quiz about one of the most enjoyable police thrillers in recent movie history.
It’s about two tough street cops battling European heroin smugglers in New York City. It is loaded with the most amazing car chases, action sequences as well as lots of subtle touches highlighting the class distinctions between the sophisticated French villain (perfectly played by Fernando Rey) and the working stiff cops (Gene Hackman and the late Roy Scheider).
Directed by William Friedkin — whose marvelous new book, The Friedkin Connection: A Memoir, published by HarperCollins inspired this quiz — The French Connection not only propelled its director’s lengthy career (still going) but introduced Hackman and Scheider (playing, respectively, detective Eddie Egan and Sonny Grosso) as a major movie stars.
It was a action-packed, nail-biting thriller when it first came out and remains so today. And, THAT makes it a classic in our book.
Fair enough. Let’s see how much you know about this milestone picture.
1) Question: The French Connection had such a strong script based on the Robin Moore book that the major studios were enthusiastic about the project from the start. True or false?
2) Question: The movie was one of the biggest budget thrillers ever approved by a major studio at the time. True or false?
3) Question: Gene Hackman was the director’s first choice for the key role of Eddie Egan, the more aggressive of the two gumshoes pursuing the drug smugglers. True or false?
4) Question: Hackman immediately embraced his role because he admired the excellent real life police work of the movie’s two protagonists. True or false?
5) Question: New York City authorities approved the filming of the movie’s dangerous car chase scenes after requesting that the production a) make a substantial financial contribution to the Police Athletic League; b) donate to a political party; c) provide an under the table bribe of $40,000 to a Transit Authority official; or d) provide ironclad protection to pedestrians on the streets involved in the film’s shooting.
6) Question: The French Connection spawned a sequel also directed by Friedkin. True or false?
7) Question: During the movie’s production, the management team at the Hollywood studio backing the film was removed. Was it because of the movie’s realistic depiction of actual police work? Yes or no?
8) Question: The studio’s early promotion of The French Connection had much to do with the film’s commercial success. True or false?
9) Question: When the film won an award from the Directors Guild of America, none other than Alfred Hitchcock made a special point of telling Friedkin how good it was and that he wished HE had made it. True or false?
10) Question: Who presented the Oscar to Friedkin? How many major category awards did it win at the 1972 Academy Award ceremonies: a) Charlie Chaplin, two; b) Gregory Peck, three; c) Alfred Hitchcock, one; or d) Frank Capra, five.
Answers due shortly, so stay tuned.