RARA-AVIS: Re: Mute Winess to Bullitt

From: jimdohertyjr ( jimdohertyjr@yahoo.com)
Date: 31 Dec 2006


Re your comments below:

> So I watched the movie. It was interesting to see the changes that
> made. First, the locale was shifted. Second, a major subplot was
> deleted, and the rules were stretched more than broken. Everything
> stripped down (except for a young Jacqueline Bisset, alas, who
> the added-in small role of the cop's girlfriend). The book was very
> detailed about what was going on in the cop's mind and
> The movie had long spaces with no words whatsoever, using just
> In other words, each played to its medium's advantages, which
> them equally satisfying.
> One other thing: the movie changed a few names. Clancy became
> of course, I guess to make it harder, more catchy.

The book was originally bought as a vehicle (no pun intended) for Spencer Tracy, who was going to play an NYPD squad commander in late middle-age named Clancy. In other words, he was going to play the character as written.

When Tracy died, it was decided to keep the bare bones of the plot, but change the lead character into the young, "hip" detective played by Steve McQueen.

Interestingly, Fish dropped the Clancy series after the success of BULLITT and started a new, San Francisco-set series of procedurals about an SFPD lieutenant named REARDON, which was also the the title of the first book in the series. Reardon was a young, handsome red- head given to wearing turtleneck sweaters and corduroy sportscoats. In other words, he was Bullitt with the name changed. Even more interestingly, that first novel about Reardon was expanded from a short story that had originally featured Clancy.

> The name change I
> found most interesting, though, was that of the two brothers in the
> "Organization." In the book, they were Rossi. However, the movie
> the "i," making the name less Italian (though the roles were still
> played by actors whose names and looks were Italian). And they
> one of the cop's names from whitebread to Italian. I don't remember
> Italian anti-defamation leagues starting until a few years later,
> The Godfather movies. Were the studios already answering complaints
> about the stereotyping of Italians as mobsters in the '60s? Man,
> really lost that battle.

Actually the Anti-Defamation League started years earlier when THE UNTOUCHABLES was such a hit on TV. Something of a false alarm, really. In the first three episodes of the series, the main villains were, respectively, Jewish (Jake Guzik played by Nehemiah Persoff), Irish ("Bugs" Moran played by Lloyd Nolan), and southerh poor white trash ("Ma" Barker played by Clair Trevor). Eliot Ness was an equal- opportunity gangbuster.


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