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French Connection 1 & 2 Box Set [DVD] [1975]

4.2 out of 5 stars 107 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Gene Hackman, Fernando Rey, Roy Scheider, Bernard Fresson, Philippe Léotard
  • Directors: John Frankenheimer, William Friedkin
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Classification: 18
  • Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: 5 Jan. 2004
  • Run Time: 213 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (107 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000X7S7U
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,423 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

Directors commentaries by William Friedkin and John Frankenheimer.

French Connection commentaries by Gene Hackman and Roy Schneider.

French Connection 2 commentaries by Gene Hackman and produced by Robert Rosen.

Original Theatrical Trailers

French Connection 2 Still Galleries.

Synopsis

This special set features two of the 1970s' most exciting action pictures, The French Connection and The French Connection 2.

The French Connection (1971): Released the same year as Clint Eastwood's Dirty Harry, William Friedkin's The French Connection marked the beginning of a new era of gritty, urban police dramas in which the theme of tough-cop amorality seemed to serve an epochal conservative demand for a police-state crackdown on the domestic chaos and subversive youth culture of the Vietnam War period. Based on the true story of two New York City police detectives and their investigation into a French heroin smuggling operation, this film is perhaps best known for its infamous, masterfully filmed chase scene (directly influenced by Steve McQueen's Bullitt) in which the lead policeman, Popeye Doyle (Gene Hackman), recklessly drives a stolen car through oncoming traffic in pursuit of a sniper escaping by elevated train. The exciting thrill of this ostensibly conventional crime drama is accentuated by director Friedkin's early European influences, perhaps best represented by the often handheld documentary-style visual approach that brings the viewer into a more personal proximity to the characters, as well as Friedkin's claims that the Oscar-winning screenplay was frequently disregarded in favor of improvisation. The French Connection is the first film Friedkin made after announcing to Variety that he would abandon his European influences in favor of genre entertainment and not only marked a significant change of course for his career but also signified a demographic shift that all of Hollywood would soon follow.

The French Connection 2 (1975): Gene Hackman again stars as hard-boiled New York narcotics cop Popeye Doyle in the sequel to the Oscar-winning The French Connection. Still on the trail of heroin kingpin Charnier (Fernando Rey), whom he's dubbed Frog One, Doyle heads for Marseilles. On arrival, his aggressive ugly-American persona alienates French inspector Barthelmy (Bernard Fresson), and his limited ability to speak French doesn't help. Frustrated by Barthelmy's lack of progress, he slips his assigned police protection and goes looking for Frog One on his own. He's soon captured by Charnier's minions, who lock him in a fleabag hotel and shoot him up repeatedly with free samples of their product until Doyle is completely addicted. Charnier uses the detective's narcotized state to interrogate him and is surprised to find that he's virtually ignorant about his operation. The disdainful Charnier has him dumped in front of police headquarters, and Barthemy arranges for him to be put in isolation. Doyle undergoes the lengthy, gruelling ordeal of quitting heroin cold turkey while his desperation to capture Charnier builds inside him. Hackman's brilliant performance highlights this somewhat overlooked sequel; Claude Renoir's camera fully captures the squalor of the milieu, and Frankenheimer engineers a harrowing final chase. --This text refers to the Blu-ray edition.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
There is one inescapable fact that the apologists for the poor Blu Ray transfer of 'The French Connection' seem determined to ignore. While The Blu Ray of 'The French Connection II' is superior to the DVD release, the Blu Ray of the first movie is noticeably inferior to the DVD release. You'd have to be blind not to notice this.

Friedkin has overly tinkered with the transfer resulting in a distinct change to the colour timing, an overabundance of digital noise and a wiping out of fine detail due to ham-fisted application of Digital Noise Reduction.

A prime example of the latter is a long focus shot down a New York street showing the skyline and apartment building rooftops at the rear of the shot. Far more fine detail is visible in the DVD - in the Blu Ray there has been so much DNR applied that the television aerials have disappeared from the rooftops whereas they are clearly visible on the DVD. I thought one of the ideas behind Blu Ray was greater detail and resolution, not less?

This is not the first back catalogue title that Fox has managed to screw up for Blu Ray, several of which are so bad they are to be replaced with newly remastered versions. Moaning that people are being picky or overly technical is simply not good enough - your moaning should be directed at the studios producing sub-standard product. We also had this debate with the Blu Ray release of 'Gladiator', another DNR disaster, with apologists saying "Stop moaning it's fine!". In the end enough people complained and Universal withdrew the original discs and replaced the release with a brand new transfer that showed the original release up for the botch job that it was.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Gene Hackman as the American cop who tries to do things his way in France is super. There is laughter and frustration. You have to feel for him. He knows no better than the way things are done where he comes from and these foreignors don't even speak good old american . Don't mistake this for a light hearted film. There is violence and determination from beginning to end.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Two classic 70's cop films that helped define the gritty anti-hero protagonist role, along with other such classics as Bullitt and Dirty Harry. This came way before, it seems, every protagonist was mass produced from the same blueprints.

You won't find any flashy effects or choreographed action scenes here, instead what you get is a fresh serving of tension, class dialogue and excellent writing, which go together to create a great pair of films in a fantastically priced box.

I was surprised with the sequel, having become accustomed to today's standards of trash that get the go ahead for rebooting from Hollywood producers for quick dollars. This film, although fictional, unlike its predecessor, provides a great experience for fans of the original and gives some closure to the story after the first films brilliant, yet frustrating ending.

The complete antithesis to today's standards in (big budget) film, and all the better for it. Buy it. Buy it now.
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
The transfer to Blu-ray of this otherwise excellent movie, is spoilt by the woeful quality in the transfer. I already had both movies on DVD, bought when they were first released. The DVD transfer is vastly superior in quality to the Blue-ray version. Take my advice and buy the films on DVD instead.

J A Sellin, Port Kembla, New South Wales
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
The transfer of The French Connection presented here, as has been discussed plenty by now, is disappointing. I knew this, and bought this set anyway, whilst also purchasing the signature series copy of the first film. The signature series lacks the BBC/Kermode documentary. This set has a 10 min doc of Friedkin explaining the process for his vision of the muddled transfer, which is entertaining in its baffling wrongness! The transfer of FC II ( a lesser film but an good film nonetheless) is decent. I'm happy that I've ended up with a feast of French Connection ephemera to gorge on: they just don't make 'em like that anymore.
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
Utterly disgusting! This is an unbelievable mastering on blu ray. 20th Century Fox home video should be sued for producing this rubbish and failing to recall all of these affected Blu-ray Discs and not offering remastered replacements! It is tantamount to fraud. The copies of French Connection are utterly unwatchable. The speckling is like watching a VHS copy of the film broadcast on a 1970s tv where you can't quite get a good clear reception! Please, if you are curious--only buy from amazon, because you will most definitely want to send this crap back to Fox. In the New York scenes, Popeye is chasing a guy dressed in a Santa suit and you can actually see the red colour bleeding out of the edges of his costume, like you are watching some bad, primitive colourisation process!

Very angry and let down! Fox, you can have it straight back!
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Format: Blu-ray
FC1 is one of the greatest films of all time and came during a period when Hollywood's output probably peaked (the 70s). The two disc, 5-star US collectors release was the first DVD I ever bought about 15 years ago and I still watch it regularly. I also hate it when directors tinker with their releases: the blu ray of The Warriors is almost unwatchable now that Walter Hill has ruined it with terrible comic interludes.

So I was concerned about all the criticisms of the blu ray. Having finally bought it, I have to say the carping is - almost - much ado about nothing and is definitely out-weighed by the increase in sharpness.

The images do at times look too washed out, I will admit that. The scene where Doyle drives over Brooklyn bridge following and eventually losing Sal Boca is very washed out with the colours of the NYC skyline drained. The exterior of Sal's cafe is also too drained and loses too much of the green and red colouring in the store front. The worst scene for me was probably the sequence in Washington DC - this was really pale and washed out and really lacked punch. It was unnecessary and looked like an accident.

In other places, I thought the colder palette worked - when Doyle is waiting outside the NYC restaurant while Charnier and Frog2 eat a three-course meal, the exterior is a much colder blue than before compared to the interior. But this works - it highlights that Doyle is staking out Charnier in the cold while the French enjoy haute cuisine. So at times it works.

But leaving the issue of colour aside, people who say the blu ray is inferior to the DVD are well wide of the mark. From the outset, the blu ray is sharper (taking account of the generally very grainy and night lit nature of the film).
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