Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Cinematic Car Chases, Italian Style....

I always loved cars.  Growing up, I marveled at the styles, the speed, and as I got older, the complete engineering of a vehicle.  My father had a '68 Toronado that was such a gorgeous car besides it's '66 model being the first front wheel drive car.  His first was a '59 Dodge. My Uncle had an Alfa Romeo Alfetta that always looked sharp in my eyes. 
My brother and I just loved playing with our Matchbox and Hot Wheels for hours on end.  What we loved so much was our car chases.  They would just last forever. Imagining that we were driving perilously on a cliffside road, or jumping over an opening draw bridge, or even the image of drivingin an open dirt field kicking up dirt as the cars fish tailed.  I especially loved my slow motion sequences.  I mean, I had the suspenseful music in my head and all.
I think that's why men love a great car chase in a movie; especially when it lasts over 5+ minutes. We are seeing someone create a scene that we would be doing with our matchbox/hot wheels and it's just pure fun to watch.  Now there are many car chase scenes that people hold dear to them.  These include the car chases in The French Connection, The Bourne Identity, Bullit, The Italian Job, etc. 
With this said, I wanted to acknowledge the many talents that Italian film makers possess.  From Spaghetti Westerns and Horror, to the groundbreaking.  In the mix are car chases.
In a day where computer generated images (CGI) dominate the theaters, I always enjoy a good human coordinated chase scene.  Don't get me wrong, I enjoy special effects and all, but before all the technology, there were people bringing to life adventures that when viewed on the screen, you couldn't just wait to get home and recreate what you saw with your die-cast vehicles.  And I am sure that some grown-ups, including me, wouldn't mind doing the same thing.
Here are two car chases from earlier films directed by Italians.  What are your favorite car chases?

The Master Touch starring Giulano Gemma

The Sicilan Cross (aka Gli Esecutori) starring Roger Moore & Stacey Keach
Directed by: Maurizio Lucidi & Guglielmo Garroni