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MAGNUM FORCE: Style & Technique 2. The Chase Scene and Finale

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KC:

--- Quote ---I remember when we did that scene in the car. Frightening!!! I think it....was shot on a Sunday. We were up in San Francisco, you know....with those hills? Clint got in the car and did the driving. I thought, "Well, you know, he won't go too fast. He's not a stunt driver, you know." Well, man alive, I was scared out of my wits because, when we started down that thing back and forth, he was roaring down that thing. I thought, "Good grief, if anybody steps out in front of us, they're a goner." You know? He really handled a car well. I think he got a big kick out of it, probably, he knew he was scaring the living lights out of me. You know, I think he got a big kick out of that.
--- End quote ---
(Hal Holbrook from Dirty Harry: The Original from the Dirty Harry DVD Special Features)

Holbrook told Richard Schickel (Clint Eastwood, p. 303) that Eastwood actually directed the scene in the car, as well as acting his part and doing the driving, because with all the camera equipment there was no room for the director in the vehicle.

What do you think of the final scenes of the film? Can you name any directing techniques that help keep these scenes interesting and exciting? What do you think of the pace of these last moments of the film? If you were at all dissatisfied with them, how do you think these scenes could have been improved?

Brendan:
A scene like that is where good editing comes into play. You need to know when to cut and what to cut to, too make it interesting and exciting.

One thing, well actually two things, I liked about this chase was that there wasn't alot of damage done. In other chase scenes you see cars smashing into each, cars blowing up, crap just getting destroyed.

But in this chase scene, not alot of stuff was destroyed. Harry just nicked that one red car, and he took out some vegetable boxes, but other then that, not alot of city or private property was needlessly destroyed.

The other thing I liked about it was the fact there was hardly any music playing during it. It was just the sound effects and visuals playing. That was nice.

D'Ambrosia:
I love this scene.  It’s one of my all time favorite car chase sequences.  That drive down Lombard Street is a classic.  Not to mention Callahan just absolutely goes balls out and hammer down.   Harry’s car is a Ford LTD with a .429 cubic inch engine.  (Had a black ’71 LTD in High school and had a whole lot of fun with it until I fish tailed it into a telephone pole down on campus one night.  We called it the “Bluesmoble” cause at the time we thought it was the same car the Blues Brothers had in the movie.   BTW there is a great shot of my car (The black LTD, in the opening scene of Mystic River when the kidnapping takes place.  I salivated at the mint condition of this beautiful car.  I use to take real pride in being able to rally and stunt drive back in high school.  I was famous for what people call a “bootleggers turn” or a “Rockford” as in Jim Rockford’s famous move he always pulled his gold Firebird.  It’s when you throw it in reverse, gaining speed in excess of 30 mph going backwards, then cut the wheel shapely causing the car to flip around perfectly in a 180’ and while the car is in the mitts of its turn throw in Drive and punch it causing a flawless result.  You really have to do it a few time to get it down.  Clint actually tries one unsuccessfully right after driving head on into one of the motorcycles.  Another failed attempt can be seen in Escape From New York when Snake tries to take the station wagon backwards through the barricade.  The best successful one I’ve ever seen in the movies in The Man With the Golden Gun when Bond steals the AMC Hornet and drives it right through the dealership window.  It’s a great stunt.  DO NOT TRY THIS IN A FRONTWHEEL DRIVE VEHICILE.  

The pacing is excellent and it’s a great segway into the showdown on the Aircraft Carrier.

*Please excuse my personal tangent above... :P

Brendan:

--- Quote from: DAmbrosia on January 01, 2004, 01:58:07 PM ---DO NOT TRY THIS IN A FRONTWHEEL DRIVE VEHICILE.  

--- End quote ---

AH!! Now I get why I can't do it.  ;D :D :P

gwb:
What I don't understand is why Callahan did not just simply use his .44.  I thought I saw him throw his gun int he back seat, along with some ammo.

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