Friday, July 04, 2008

Where in the World Is Frank Bullitt?

A few months back, I posted on this page the famous car chase scene from Bullitt, the 1968 Steve McQueen thriller that was shot on location in San Francisco. I remarked that, while that nine minute, 42 second high-speed pursuit is one of the finest such scenes ever committed to celluloid, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to people who are familiar with the streets of the Bay Area’s foremost city. Pieces of footage spliced together for dramatic purposes create a surrealistic tour of San Francisco, with Bullitt’s black Mustang making more than a few astounding geographical leaps.

Now novelist Mark Coggins has turned me on to a Web page offering a side-by-side comparison of the car chase as it appears in the movie and a Google map showing where Bullitt and the Dodge Charger he’s following were actually located at any particular point in the footage. As Coggins notes, “It’s funny to see how they blip in and out of neighborhoods between shots.”

See it for yourself here.


Randy Johnson said...

One of my favorite films. I lent my nephew my DVD of it last month solely because of the car chase sequence. He's all of twenty-five and a Mustang fancier.
I thought he would enjoy it, but all I got was an ok. It didn't hold up, he said, to some movie I don't even remember the title he mentioned.
These kids....

Lee Goldberg said...

It's quite common in most chase sequences to use streets all over a particular city. The car chase finale of GET SMART, which begins and ends at the Disney Hall in downtown L.A., based on the locations seems to stretch all over Southern California. (Who knew there was an airport in downtown L.A?). The DIRTY HARRY films also play pretty fast and loose with San Francisco geography in their car chases. There's a reason these movies are called fiction!