A Few Words About A few words about...™ "Bullitt" -- in HD & Blu-ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Feb 28, 2007.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    For the purist, or anyone who demands to see the actual film as made, no. The missing frames do not affect the storyline, but create an odd cut. As an aside, re-visiting the chase sequence in Bullitt reminds me of the deficiencies of home theater and screen size. The Bullitt chase, when compared to the elevated railway chase in The French Connection, comes off as a bit less visceral when viewed in a small screen. On a theatrical size viewing surface, the Bullitt sequence holds it own, with the sheer weight and mass of the cars coming to the fore. An interesting anomaly.

    RAH
     
  2. Professor Echo

    Professor Echo Screenwriter

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    Friedkin once told me that he didn't think BULLITT had the best car chase he had ever seen, but he did say it was the greatest cop movie ever made and that McQueen gave the greatest cop performance on film.
     
  3. Brian Borst

    Brian Borst Screenwriter

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    Interesting. I have to say, when I watched Bullitt for the first time, it wasn't long after I purchased my then-huge 42" plasma television, and during the chase sequence I had several moments where I almost felt dizzy. Those shots when the camera is low on the front of the car, coupled with the added sensation of watching it on a pretty big screen, really helped feeling more immersed in the movie. Of course, when I saw The French Connection some time after that, I felt that that chase was even better, but still, I felt it was a great ride.
     
  4. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    With all due respect to Friedken, I still think the car chase in Bullitt was the best.






    Crawdaddy
     
  5. Walter Kittel

    Walter Kittel Producer

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    Well, Friedken did this other fim that has a nice car chase - To Live and Die in L.A.

    My personal favorite would probably have to be the extended chase in The Seven-Ups - of course this film (Seven-Ups), The French Connection, and Bullitt all have one thing in common - actor / stunt driver Bill Hickman.

    - Walter.
     
  6. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    Wait a minute, I have this film on video tape, laser disc, the original DVD and the second issue DVD with the Cutting Edge doc, HD-DVD and the blu ray. (I like this movie a little, live near SF and I own a 1967 Mustang.)

    Is Mr. Harris referring to the Charger that hits the older car as Bullitt is chasing it midway into the chase? I have watched the crash of the Charger frame by frame in the past. And I did notice a couple of frames was missing on the second issue DVD several years ago.

    I also watched the final crash as the Charger hits the gas station at the end of the chase. I have seen the blank frame. But I have not recently checked the frames at the end of the crash on the blu ray.

    The first edit of the missing frames of the Charger hitting the car when the DVD first came out. I wrote that off as someone who felt that shot needed to be fixed so you'd think the Charger never hit that car. It's wrong from a purist point of view, I agree. I kind of also understand it. It's sort of like taking the wires out digitally, or removing the reflection of the snake. It was an accident as the driver over-shot the turn.

    I'm going to have to watch the last crash now and compare to the old laser disc. I think that version is as it was filmed.

    Mr. Harris, are you also saying the final crash into the gas station was also edited?

    It would be nice to see Warner re-issue this blu ray and include the original edit, but for a huge fan like me, I guess it's not a deal breaker. I can still enjoy it, but for someone who knows how it was, perhaps it's like it was not edited in my head and I can still see the hit. But for someone whose never seen it, they'll never know.

    I wonder if Peter Yates was involved in the edit? If he was I wouldn't question it.


    As an aside, I've driven most of the route of the chase. When the Charger, who is following the Mustang turns off Army Street early before the chase, and goes up a side street, that street turns to the left and then right. They edit it here. In reality, it's a narrow street. And I had to make a U-Turn to get out!
     
  7. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    The cat and mouse game played out before the chase actually began is why I prefer Bullitt's car chase scene and Bill Hickman did get some extended facetime in Bullitt as the driver of the Charger.
     
  8. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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  9. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    Thanks Mr. Harris. !'m going to have to re-watch the original DVD that came out in 1999 or so which I believe has no edit of the first Charger crash and compare to the newer DVD and blu-ray!
     
  10. Professor Echo

    Professor Echo Screenwriter

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    And don't forget he has a relatively prominent role in THE FRENCH CONNECTION as well, as the Popeye Doyle hating fed, Agent Mulderig.
     
  11. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    True, but he was in character driving that Charger during Bullitt.
     
  12. Professor Echo

    Professor Echo Screenwriter

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    Without looking it up, do you remember his or his partner's name in BULLITT? I don't believe they are ever addressed as such in the film, but their characters did have names. In fact, the partner gets his own theme on the BULLITT soundtrack.
     
  13. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    The one with the shotgun was never given a name except listed as the Hired Killer while Hickman, who never really spoke in the film had a first name in the credits. Another bit of trivia about this great film is that Bud Ekins was another great stuntman that worked on this film and drove the Mustang.
     
  14. Professor Echo

    Professor Echo Screenwriter

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    Yes, Hickman is listed as "Phil," perhaps as an in-joke reference to producer Phil D'Antoni? The "Hired Killer" is named Mike or as the cut on the original soundtrack has it, "Ice Pick Mike." I've never read the novel upon which BULLITT is based, MUTE WITNESS by Robert L. Pike, but perhaps these names came from there???
     
  15. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    Okay, just to be sure my recollections were right, I played the original 1997 DVD and when the charger hits that old car, you see it hit and hear it. But then the editor inserts the shot right before the hit so car is back in position. I believe that is the original 1968 cut.
    The 2005 2 disc special Edition DVD and blu ray have the same edit that removes a few frames.. When the Charger hits the old car, you still see it and hear it, but a few frames were removed so the impact is very brief as Mr. Harris notes. Peter Yates might have approved as he's giving the audio commentary in the 2005 DVD?
    I'll have to compare to the laser disc too. I believe that is full frame and you can see the mike boom below one shot as the killer is in the hospital asking a doctor where the gun shot victim is.
     
  16. Robert Harris

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    Nelson,

    Are there black frames at impact?
     
  17. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    Mr. Harris, I just had time to play back the chase at normal speed. So I didn't do a frame by frame comparison. I can do that tonight or this weekend. I'm really curious!
     
  18. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    I went looking for those missing frames tonight. I made the comparison from several sources I own of Bullitt.

    I played the 1987 Warner laser disc and the 1997 DVD. Then compared to the 2005 2 disc Special Edition DVD and the recent Blu Ray.

    The Charger impact is the same on both the LD and 1997 DVD. The Charger hits the car as depicted below. This is a screen capture right before and then on impact, then 2 frames of black are inserted. Then one frame of the image of the car before imact, then 2 frames of black again followed by the car again before impact. So a total of 5 frames were removed from the 2005 Edition of the DVD and the same cut is used on the blu ray.

    You were right Mr. Harris, black frames are seen at the time of impact, twice!


    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    So someone at Warner only removed the 2 inserts of black and the middle shot of the car for the 2005 DVD. I imagined in 1968, Frank Keller, William Fraker and Peter Yates never imagined this shot would be so scrutinized on home video. I can see there was art here in the design of the black shots to give the illusion of impact with no damage and also disguise the accident.
    And for fun, this is one of my favorite little bloopers from this movie:

    [​IMG]

    I captured this from the 1997 DVD as well as the very first screen cap of the car right before impact, you can see a difference in image quality from the 2005 DVD above.
     
  19. Robert Harris

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    Someone seems to have inadvertently removed the color clear.

    Blu-ray must be recalled.

    RAH
     
  20. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    With all due respect, I seriously doubt Warner is recalling a BRD that's been in release for over 4 years. Hopefully, they will at least re-release this down the road without these issues.
     

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