French Connection Sequence Analysis

Topics: Classical Hollywood cinema, The French Connection, Cinema of the United States Pages: 3 (858 words) Published: March 26, 2015

For this sequence analysis, I have chosen a scene from William Friedkin’s The French Connection. The scene chosen is the chase sequence and confrontation between Popeye Doyle and the sniper on the roof who worked for “Frog number one”. I believe that this sequence differs from classical Hollywood conventions in a numbers of important ways, marking it quite clearly as a different sort of film to the police procedurals which may have come before it.

The sequence begins with Popeye Doyle walking back to his apartment, whereupon a sniper kills a young mother with a bullet intended for Doyle. Despite this being an innocent woman caught in the cross-fire, Doyle shows little concern overall and we do not later learn her fate, unlike a classic Hollywood film where some sadness or remorse would be shown by Doyle over the death of this innocent person. This foreshadows his later complete disregard for killing of the FBI agent at the conclusion of the film, showing Doyle to perhaps be without the morals, honor and integrity we would normally assume of our Hollywood cop “heroes”.

Doyle chases the sniper, losing him at a train station and commandeering a car to follow the train to its next stop. The chase is shown from inside the car, angles behind and in front of the car and in wide-angle shots. Interspersed with this, we see the sniper heading to the front of the train, shooting guards and hijacking the driver. There is no musical score used to heighten the tension of the chase (as may be expected in some classic car chases), with the sound of the train on the tracks and the constant honking of horns and roar of Doyle’s car as he swerves in and out of traffic serving as the soundtrack. As well as this, it is not even a car which Doyle is chasing, but rather a passenger on a train. We see Doyle screaming in the car, for other cars to “come on!” or saying “Christ!” after narrowly missing a mother and her stroller, yet we...
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