The French Connection II – tape 970

There’s only one programme on this tape today, and it’s The French Connection II. Second caption in, and it’s already racist.

I do like the way the credits come sliding in from the side, a very French touch.

At least this film actually takes place in France, although all this means is that Popeye Doyle is shouting at French people loudly in English in a vain attempt to be understood. He’s vile.

Here he is trying to pick up women. While eating a pickled egg.

One of the few other Americans in the cast is Ed Lauter, doing some kind of dodgy deal with the main bad guy.

Oh good, now Popeye has been kidnapped by the bad guys, and they’re injecting him with heroin.

An English woman turns up to talk to him, and we see her needle-tracked arms as she strokes his arm, and steals his watch. This is a laugh a minute.

It ends in a very long foot chase as Doyle chases the bad guy as he takes a tram, then a boat. There’s a lot of very short shots from Doyle’s point of view, which have a noticeably different look – I wonder if they were shot on a small 16mm or even 8mm camera?

In the end, in, I guess, an echo of the end of the first film (I can’t be sure as I only vaguely remember it) Doyle is faced with having to let the bad guy escape, but this time he shoots him dead. I guess that’s a happy ending?

I didn’t enjoy that much, I have to admit. Too much grime and grit.

BBC Genome: BBC One – 20th November 1991 – 22:20

There’s a trailer for programmes for Thursday.

After this, a rather scary public information film featuring Jane Asher (returning after yesterday’s starring role) and some child-sized crash test dummies. Remember when rear seat belts and child seats weren’t a thing. I’m amazed any of us are still alive.

Then BBC1 closes down, and Dave Adey wishes us a very good night.


  1. One of “The A-Team” novelisations had Murdock has joking about “French Connection III” with Popeye Doyle’s cousin Brutus Doyle.. If that had been a real movie I’m sure Gene Hackman would have done it for the right amount…

    1. There was a French Connection 3 mooted back in the late 1970s with Richard Pryor teaming up with Gene Hackman who wasn’t interested so the script was turned into Nighthawks for Sylvester Stallone.

  2. I found FC 1 worthy but the ending felt like an anti-climax. Here at least the sequel delivers the pay-off so it feels like 2 halves of one story, even if as you say, the twists are just that Doyle is on his enemy’s home ground and not entirely up to it. The slo-mo chase ending is amazingly glacial, perhaps again contrasting with the kinetic work of the original film.

  3. I’m a big fan of The French Connection, even the ending which deliberately leaves you hanging, but I don’t think we really needed a sequel, and not this one. Hackman had lobbied William Friedkin to include the cold turkey sequence in the first, but Friedkin thought it would hold up the story, so Hackman got his way in this one, and it kills the movie stone dead, right enough. Hackman’s a great actor, but don’t overindulge him.

  4. They don’t make ’em like they used to.

    These days Doyle would be 28 years old and fresh out of the salon, clean-shaven with a great haircut and probably a boyfriend at home raising the kid.

    And the drugs baron wouldn’t be French, he’d be Russian. Codenamed the Bear or something.

  5. French Connection II is a superb action thriller sequel. Like Magnum Force before it, it puts the hero in a very tight position from which the only way he can get out is by using violence. When I first saw it on video in 1998, I thought it began well with Doyle meeting his French counterpart and going after the undercover cop when the building exploded but it went downhill after that until it picked up with Popeye being kidnapped and drugged. The scene of him getting drunk and talking about baseball is a fine dramatic/comedy moment that Hackman excels at but Doyle burning down the hotel paints him as a complete psycho despite what he’s been through. I guess they wanted to make him as crazy as he was in the 1st movie. From then on, the action sequences take this movie to another level and I was impressed with the breathtaking climax. This time, Doyle shot the right person which rectified the tragic error he made in the 1st movie.

    Think about it, without guys like Popeye and Harry Callahan, we wouldn’t have had in the ’80s heroes like 48 HRS’ Jack Cates, Lethal Weapon’s Martin Riggs, Die Hard’s John McClane and Richard Chance from To Live And Die In LA.

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