“You work your side of the street, and I’ll work mine.”
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary notes that this film “has never been given its due” — an interesting statement, since it’s most definitely remembered and revered by many as a cult hit. (In fact, just the other day on an L.A. freeway I was driving behind a Ford Mustang GT with “Bullitt” as its vanity plate, and “Steve McQueen” written on the plate frame). But perhaps that’s exactly Peary’s point: this film is so closely associated with McQueen’s car (and the justifiably lauded car chase it’s involved in) that it’s easy to overlook how enjoyable the film is as a police procedural and character study. The investigation is remarkably well-written, with the unexpected “plot twist” that occurs fairly early on (as McQueen’s ward is murdered) leaving us wondering what will come next. Indeed, the screenplay — which uncovers a “bizarre plot involving lookalike criminals” — almost never disappoints, with just one exception: the rather thankless role of Bullitt’s girlfriend (Jacqueline Bissett); Bissett tries her best but is saddled with such a god-awful speech at one point that it actually grinds things to a halt — temporarily. Despite this minor hiccup, however, Bullitt remains a must-see classic of the genre, one which merits multiple enjoyable viewings.
An interesting bit of trivia: according to TCM, Bullitt was “the first film shot entirely on location with an all-Hollywood crew”
Addendum (1/14/11): RIP, Peter Yates.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments: