Saturday, August 02, 2008

WEEKEND MATINEE: FREEBIE AND THE BEAN (1974)



If memory serves, Freebie and the Bean isn’t a particularly good movie (Vincent Canby certainly didn’t think so). Nonetheless, when I ran across this clip of one of the movie’s wild chase scenes I was reminded of the vitality of Richard Rush as an action filmmaker and my appetite was immediately whetted to see the picture again. Unfortunately, it’s not available on DVD, at least in this country, so I guess those of you who share my impulse to get reacquainted with this nasty ‘70s nugget will just have to make do with this jaw-dropping stunt sequence, which gives but a hint of the large-scale scabrous antagonism between partners Alan Arkin and James Caan. (The score, by Dominic Frontiere, will also put you in mind of Rush’s follow-up, which only took six years to reach American screens, The Stunt Man.)



(Thanks to Buchinsky at Viver e Morror No Cinema.)

18 comments:

driveindude said...

Dennis, email me. I think I might have a copy of this?!?

Jonathan Lapper said...

You know I loved The Stunt Man when I was a young'en and then I got the DVD and watched it again and it seemed awfully sophmoric, like a teenager who thinks he's playing with reality and being oh so clever. I don't know, have you seen it recently? It really disappointed me seeing it again after so many years. But Peter O'Toole was still terrific! That perception didn't change at all.

Dennis Cozzalio said...

DID: Tell me more! They show this occasionally on TCM, apparently, so maybe I can catch a nice wide-screen showing of it there.

Jonathan: Yeah, I had occasion to see The Stunt Man a few years ago myself, and though I still enjoyed it I was not nearly so taken with it-- it seemed much more broad and self-satisfied than I remembered it. Your metaphor of the precocious teenager is very apt-- when I first saw it and loved it I was barely out of my teens myself but still plenty precocious, and the movie seems designed to appeal to one's self-congratulatory appreciation of cleverness. That said, Allen Garfield is still great, and O'Toole even greater. And I still haven't seen the feature-length documentary that's attached to the DVD, which is by many accounts troubling and fascinating. What did you think of it?

Craig said...

I've always remembered the title of this movie but don't recall ever seeing it. That motorcycle chase with the cutesy-poo music was amusing, though. All that was lacking was knocking over a fruit cart and the immigrant vendor shaking his fist at the departing vehicle.

driveindude said...

I need to look thru my video collection but I'm sure I have a copy. I'll get back to you!

Jonathan Lapper said...

I watched the doc with Richard Rush going through his house talking about the film. It's done on cheap videotape and has, for me at least, the qualities we were discussing about the movie. Rush keeps appearing and disappearing and asking questions about reality as if we really don't get it without him pointing it out. It annoyed the hell out of me.

And by the by, I love Garfield/Goorwitz in everything he did. There's a character actor that needs some rediscovery. Hell, I thought he was the best thing in Continental Divide (as Goorwitz I think) and that movie had John Belushi.

Brian Doan said...

I still love THE STUNT MAN, but my main reason for loving it is O'Toole's performance, which Jonathan is correct in noting hasn't gotten old.

Dennis, a bit off-topic, but still no word on how you feel about the Manny trade one week in (and after Sunday's home run)?

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Brian, there's just no complaining about the Manny trade from my end. I love how ESPN has spun the whole thing like crazy to ensure that Boston is seen as getting the best end of the deal, and to be sure Jason Bay is no slouch. But L.A. gave up Andy LaRoche, a touted third-baseman who wasn't living up to early expectations (and who had been eclipsed by rookie Blake DeWitt and replaced by Casey Blake) and a pitching prospect just off of Tommy John surgery who is still in Class A. Oh, yeah, and Boston pays the rest of Manny's salary for the year. We've already seen how he's suddenly quicker to first base again, and a debut weekend where he goes 8 for 13 with two home runs and several RBI is pretty happy-making as far as I'm concerned. Of course he'll play like hell and do as much as he can because he's a free agent next year, and whether he resigns with the Dodgers or not, you gotta like their chances to at least win the NLWorst this year. The way he's energized the team already, I wouldn't be surprised if they win more than that. Sure was nice to hear something good coming out of Dodger Stadium and not have to hear about how great the Angels are for a few minutes (and they are damned good). I took my five-year-old daughter out to see Manny's premiere Friday night, and even though the Dodgers lost we had a great time (got to see the Big unit pitch again, so that helped). The atmosphere was truly electric, Manny went 2 for 4, and my girl and I got to eat Dodger Dogs and get excited for our team again. What's not to like?! :)

Jonathan Lapper said...

What's not to like?! - Well... they're not the Sox, that's what's not to like. Duh.

But seriously, can we talk about the Devil Rays? 'Cause right now I'm thinking this is a sign of an impending apocalypse. The Devil Rays?!!?!? At the top of the division, and it's not the first week?!?!? Something's not right with that picture.

Now the Angels are atop the AL West (that's the American League - the REAL Major League in baseball) and the Dodgers are two in the NL West. Could there be an L.A. series? If so may I just say, "Yaaawwwwwnnnnnnnnnnn."

But a Sox/Dodgers series? That's what I've been dreaming of ever since I made your aquaintence dear sir. Oh for a Sox/Dodgers series! Oh the bets we could make - Loser has to give glowing review to Dances With Wolves and NOT indicate it is the result of a bet. Oh that would be too delicious. But I dream, I dream.

Mr. Peel said...

Gee, I saw FREEBIE AND THE BEAN for the first time at the Cinematheque about a year ago and really liked it. I wish there were a DVD. Great chase scenes and I think the big Alan Arkin-Valerie Harper confrontation should be studied by acting students. Seriously.

Brian Doan said...

Or loser has to do a week-long series of blog posts about a RENT/MAMMA MIA double bill, and how both are perhaps the most sublime examples of the musical form that cinema has yet produced.

(rubs hands, cackles...)

Dennis, glad you got to see Manny! Very exciting, and well-deserved for long-suffering Dodgers fans. Plus, the trade helps my Tigers when they face Jonathan's Sox in the playoffs, so what's not to like? (:

Jonathan Lapper said...

Dennis is clearly trembling in fear at the prospect of facing the mighty Sox in the World Series. "Oh no," he says to himself, "not the Sox. They're the greatest team of all time and once again they will humiliate me. Shudder."

It's okay Dennis. Hey, maybe we won't even sweep.

Dennis Cozzalio said...

But seriously, can we talk about the Devil Rays? 'Cause right now I'm thinking this is a sign of an impending apocalypse...

Apocalypse? Perhaps, for those Eastern dynasties. Just a look at the standings across the league makes for some very interesting reading right now, stories I certainly would never have predicted. There's a conceivable collapse in the Rays' future-- Boston and New York will probably figure out a way to make the playoffs (They usually do, don't they?) But I have to say I love seeing things so mixed up this year.

...the American League - the REAL Major League in baseball...

I'm taking the high road here...

Dennis is clearly trembling in fear at the prospect of facing the mighty Sox in the World Series. "Oh no," he says to himself, "not the Sox. They're the greatest team of all time and once again they will humiliate me. Shudder."

Way to bait me, Fenway Boy. Hey, we did okay against the mighty Sox in those exhibition games at the end of March, and that was with Manny in the lineup. By the time the Sox stumble into the postseason reeling from the prolonged beatings at the hands of Angels and the Rays (who may force Boston into accepting the wild card this year), they may not be so formidable. And by then the Dodgers will have gotten into ripped shape after two months of hitting instruction and inspiration at the hands of Man-Ram (the life signs they're already showing are exciting to behold). But I would really enjoy seeing a Sox-Dodgers series, and you know Fox would. Can you imagine the mileage they'd get out of that? (I like Brian's Rent/Mamma Mia punishment idea too. God, what am I saying??!!)

Mr. Peel: I didn't mean to suggest F&TB couldn't be good, only that the reviews were pretty blistering back in the day, and I seemed to remember being underwhelmed when I saw it as a 15-year-old. But I think I have a line on a copy and I am really looking forward to catching up. How the hell did I miss that Egyptian screening?! (Just that snippet of byplay between Arkin and Caan made me think there might be some other good acting in here, so I'm glad to hear your comments about Arkin and Harper. I'll keep you posted!)

Jonathan Lapper said...

Fenway Boy. I think I have a new handle.

Krauthammer said...

How 'bout Those Nationals Huh?
(hint: They are terrible)

Anonymous said...

"Freebie & The Bean" is hilarious. The title characters are idiots, likeable & comedic to be sure, but they are still idiots. One of my favorite bits of dialogue occurs after the shoot out in the dental office and Freebie says, "I can't hit anything today." Bean responds, "I don't know about that, you hit a receptionist." As for it being un-PC or fascist, well, sure it is, that's the point. These guys are the Keystone Cops updated to the 1970's. I have a VHS letterboxed copy of this which I'm holding onto until somebody puts it out on DVD. "Michigan Phil, come out with your hands up and your pants down."

- Bob

The Wrong Box said...

It looks like the whole thing is up on YT from somebody:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gRtJSseJ2hQ&feature=related

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Wow. The whole damn thing. Thanks, WB. Matthew just sent me a letterboxed VHS, too (thanks again, Matthew), so I'm in Freebie heaven right about now!