Peter Yates was an English filmmaker who died back in 2011. One of his early films featured a chase sequence which was spotted by Steve McQueen, Steve asked Peter to direct the script for Bullitt. A low key cop thriller with a great car chase sequence in San Francisco.
What’s interesting now is that there was no stand-in for Steve McQueen. The car chase sequence which is about 10 minutes long and features speeds of around 100 miles an hour is intensely shot and set the standard for this time, Steve McQueen performed all the driving his role required.
Driving home from work recently, someone did a crazy u-turn from the other side of the road and cut straight across me, I was driving within the speed limit but had to slam on the breaks, skid, and mount the pavement. I didn’t hit the offending car and when my wife calmed down from the shock, she complimented me on my amazing driving. We went home, opened a bottle of wine and I put my Bullitt DVD on!
The film has a slow pace, it builds steadily, but really we only watch it for McQueen who underplays beautifully and drives brilliantly in the car chase sequence. Yates was a talented director and a good cameraman to boot, and often shot his own pictures. The film seems to me to be a lower key Dirty Harry and can even be talked about in the same breath as Madigan (directed by Don Siegal).
You can buy the film below (all drivers should)…
Matthew Cooper has been a script writer for hire for over 20 years. He’s written for most of the UK soaps, including writing award winning episodes of Emmerdale, Eastenders, Hollyoaks and Family Affairs. Matthew was winner of the first ever Lloyds Bank Channel Four Film Challenge, the Oscar Moore Screenplay Prize and has been BAFTA shortlisted and Royal Television Society nominated as a script writer. You can find some of his broadcast credits on the IMDb. You can get in touch with Matthew on firstname.lastname@example.org