Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Tuesday's Overlooked Movies: Freebie and the Bean



You may or may not remember this action comedy about a couple of mismatched San Francisco cops -- James Caan as Freebie and Alan Arkin as the Bean, so called in those pre-PC days because his character was Hispanic -- trying to take down a mobster played by Jack Kruschen. I only saw it once and remember it as being fairly entertaining despite some trying circumstances . . . but I'll get to that later.


For now let's say that the movie was directed by Richard Rush, who went on to direct the far superior THE STUNTMAN, and had a good cast that also included the fine character actor Mike Kellin, Loretta Swit, Valerie Harper, and Alex Rocco. As I recall it had lots of well-done action scenes, including all the chase scenes that BULLITT made obligatory in those days for movies set in San Francisco. I suspect it would come across as pretty dated now, but I might watch it again one of these days.


Now, as for those trying circumstances. FREEBIE AND THE BEAN came out on Christmas Day 1974 and was actually pretty popular. I know that because I saw it during the first week of 1975 and the theater was so full we wound up sitting on the front row, not the best place to sit for a loud, frantic action comedy. I say "we" because this was the movie Livia and I saw on our first date, 37 years ago this week. I'm a lucky son of a gun, because she agreed to go out with me again even though I took her to a movie where she had to get a crick in her neck in order to watch it.


And that's why this week's Overlooked Movie is the immortal FREEBIE AND THE BEAN.

8 comments:

Livia J (Washburn) Reasoner said...

If I remember right, the only reason we went to that one was because The Godfather II was full. All I remember of the movie were car chases. Lots of car chases up close.

James Reasoner said...

That's true. Wonder if it would have changed things any.

Sergio (Tipping My Fedora) said...

I re-watched it recently (it's finally Out on DVD from Warner's Archvie MOD: http://bit.ly/uMof9J) and found much more overtly comedic than I remembered - it's full of the worst kind of macho pandering and posturing and yet is made with such gusto that some bits of pit still work quite well - thanks for the memories ...

Livia J (Washburn) Reasoner said...

Well, I probably wouldn't have been motion sick from the movie if we'd gotten in to see Godfather 2, but that's all it would have changed.

Vince said...

I wanted to see Freebie and the Bean for years and snapped it up as soon as the Warner Archive made it available. It's deeply nuts, rather subversive, and might actually be brilliant.

Not every relationship could survive such an introduction, so my hat is off to you both.

Fred Blosser said...

In our three months of dating and the subsequent first three months of our marriage, I dragged my wife to see CHATO'S LAND, THE LAST REBEL, JOE KIDD, DUCK YOU SUCKER, THE GETAWAY, and DELIVERANCE. Such experiences truly test (and successfully too in our case) the ties that bind.

Ron Scheer said...

I recall this movie and remember being struck by the amount of bloodshed in it for a farce. M.A.S.H., now that I think of it, may have set a new standard for bloody comedies. Thanks, I guess, for the memories.

Anonymous said...

Memorable for your first date (ours was WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF?, believe it or not - January of 1967) but not for the quality of the movie, which was small.

Jeff M.