Original Post Date: February 17th, 2012
Author’s Note: Part III of the Month of the Getaway Driver. Keep the motor running. You never know when you may need to make a….”The Getaway!”
So far this month, we’ve put both Drive and The Transporter in our rear-view mirror. We’re not finished with The Month of The Driver just yet, but I’m pulling the TitanTown bus over for a taco and a much-needed bathroom break. This is going to be a long break, possibly 122 minutes. (Hey, I’ve been driving for a week straight, damn it!) While you’re waiting, fuel up with a good movie:
“You run the job, but I run the show.”
– Jack Benyon
“You run the show, but I run the blog!”
Hey, DT! Convince me! So…why: The Getaway?
The Getaway is a fast-paced, bloody little heist film starring the legendary Steve McQueen. If you aren’t familiar with McQueen’s work, stop reading this immediately and go rent a few of his classics (The Great Escape, The Cincinnati Kid, The Thomas Crown Affair, etc.) Seriously, the man is a legend.
The Getaway was originally a novel by Jim Thompson, and was then adapted as a screenplay by Walter Hill (of The Warriors fame, as well as The Driver, which we’ll visit in the future.) The film itself was directed by the infamous Sam Peckinpah, the ever-violent and typically controversial American filmmaker.
McQueen stars as Carter “Doc” McCoy, a criminal serving 10 years time in prison for armed robbery. Without giving too much away, Doc’s aspirations for parole are dashed, leaving him faced with the unpleasantness of cooling his heels for another year…at least. Suffice it to say, that’s not an option. If there’s one thing I know about, it’s serving time in prison. I mean, um….let’s move on!
Looking for a way out, Doc sends his wife, Carol (Ali McGraw) to visit with local businessman Jack Benyon (Ben Johnson). Benyon is a bit, shall we say, dirty…and he’s got the power and influence to have Doc sprung early. The trouble is, he’s not exactly going to make it easy for Carol. And he knows exactly what Doc can do to repay his debt. And it’s not legal.
To settle his accounts once and for all, Doc is going to have to plan a bank heist with a crew of Benyon’s own choosing. As any professional criminal will tell you, not being able to pick your own crew is a definite turn-off because you don’t know anything about them. Will everything go as planned? Can Doc and Carol live with the consequences of their deal with the devil? There’s only one way to find out. Doc is going to have to wade through a sea of crooked cops, crooked crooks and crooked crazies in order to gain his freedom. Seat-belts, if you please!
Now that you’re here, check out:
The character of Doc is a bit different than the other “heroes” we’ve examined this month. First and foremost, Doc is not primarily a driver by profession. He knows his way around an automobile, no doubt, but his talents extend beyond that. He’s also pretty handy with a shotgun. Oh, and explosives. Oh, and….well, nevermind. I don’t want to spoil everything for you. Suffice it to say, he is truly a Steve McQueen of all trades.
Who brings a DVD to a gunfight? You do (If it’s The Getaway):
You should also bring a gun, because everyone else in this movie has one. Director Sam Peckinpah was known for his interesting and violent scenes, and The Getaway is no different. Be prepared for epic shootouts, broken glass and explosions galore. There are numerous thrilling driving scenes (as you might expect from a movie called THE GETAWAY!) Also, Sally Struthers gets punched in the face.
My only hangup was that they must have not have been able to get their hands on quality artificial blood in 1972, because after a while it looked like the characters were just rolling around in a puddle of red paint.
Now then, who’s hungry?
This is the end…
The Getaway is chock full of action and has some great dialogue. For me, it definitely stands the test of time. I definitely had no problem including it in TitanTown’s Month of the Driver, even though I softened the criteria slightly.
Given the wild popularity of The Getaway, it stands to reason that Hollywood would either try to remake it down the road, or attempt to spawn 5 sequels and a line of toys. In this case, the movie was remade in 1994 and starred Alec Baldwin (Alec Baldwin?) in the lead role. Also appearing were Kim Basinger, Michael Madsen and James Woods. Now, I haven’t watched the new version so I wouldn’t feel right suggesting that you avoid it like the plague. But if you’re only going to make one “Getaway”, make it the original!