One reader posted a clip of a car chase from Le Casse (1971) that included oil slicks, Greek dancers, applauding spectators, and Fiats and Opels shooting down staircases. It was well-crafted, it was a lot more exciting than the computer-generated stuff we get today, and it reminded me of the car chases of my youth. And that got me thinking that if the 1970s were not the high-water mark of car chases, they probably did mark car chases' leap into both the mainstream (The Streets of San Francisco) and the artistic zeitgeist (in the form of J.G. Ballard's Crash).
(Coincidentally, an excerpt from Duane Swierczynski’s forthcoming novel Fun and Games also recaptured some of that 1970s car-chase excitement. And that raises the question of which crime writer's name you'd least like to be asked to spell: Swierczynski’s or Didier Daeninckx's?)
So, a few questions:
- What are your favorite scenes involving cars driving fast or dangerously? Movie scenes are welcome, but I'll be especially curious to see if you come up with scenes from books.
- When did cars first become places of danger and excitement in fiction and in movies? (Here's a favorite example: Raymond Chandler's 1935 story "Nevada Gas.")
- Why did car chases go mainstream in the 1970s?
- What's the attraction of car chases?
- Are all the good ones in American and French movies?
© Peter Rozovsky 2011