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.