MovieChat Forums > Bullitt (1968) Discussion > Is Chalmers really necessary in the movi...

Is Chalmers really necessary in the movie? He's not the bad guy, but why is he the bad guy Part II


"- Although Bullitt dislikes him from the beginning, Chalmers doesn't become his foe until the witness is shot. Before that, they had a common interest: protecting him.

Afterward, Chalmers remains interested only in the witness, but Bullitt has an additional one separate from Chalmers's: finding the people who shot him, about which Chalmers gives no hint of much caring. After they both believe the witness to be dead, their interests are then in conflict: Bullitt wants the killers; Chalmers wants only to scapegoat Bullitt and his associates.

No question the film was engineered as a star vehicle for McQueen, but he understood that a formidable and dislikable foe for him to lock horns with through escalating conflict would enrich the drama, and Vaughan does a top-notch job filling those requirements."

I thought we were winding up our discussion, but this is where we saw a different movie. From the title of the thread, I state he's not the bad guy, but why is he the bad guy? We established that it's a trope of the 60s, that he represents the "establishment," is an a-hole, and authoritarian. I think he's more authoritarian, but don't think he has just the narrow interest of solely using Ross to catapult his career as you have. If he did, then he could have been played by Norman Fell. He certainly plays that role if he's going to fold up the case if he knows Renick/Ross is dead. So, I can't say that you don't have a point, but it's lacking. That's where I have problem with the literary device. It's the writer's prerogative to make it this way, but it makes it a lesser movie. Was it like this in Mute Witness? I mean who uses the term "establishment" any more but I think that's what he wants to get across. Some of the top movies of the 60s in terms of rating on IMDB were The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, Psycho, Once Upon a Time in the West, Dr. Strangelove, 2001: A Space Odyssey, To Kill a Mockingbird, For a Few Dollars More, The Graduate, Rosemary's Baby, and The Sound of Music. Bullitt doesn't even make the top 25 and it's because of Chalmers folding up the case while Bullitt practically figures it out by himself. Maybe that's why Steve McQueen didn't do as well as Paul Newman for example. He was considered cooler than Newman in the Towering Inferno, but his career kinda went downhill afterward aside from Papillon and The Getaway. It could have been that he doesn't have the acting chops as Newman. Newman had Cool Hand Luke a year before Bullitt, The Sting, and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid in 1969. I think those were anti-hero roles, too. Cool Hand Luke should crack the top 25 for the 60s. Anyway, that's just my opinion and if you think it was a great movie, then what can I say?

ETA: I just looked up Easy Rider which came out a year later and was one of the movies reflecting the 60s era and it was rated 7.3 on IMDB. A 0.1 lower rating than Bullitt. I would give that a higher rating. It had a breakthrough in using music video and was a good marijuana and cocaine drug flick of the 60s. Maybe people didn't like the hippie lifestyle, but it shows how America wasn't ready to accept the long hairs and hippies. That's what George Hanson explained in Jack Nicholson inimitable style. Also, what many people don't realize is that the rock music isn't just for the long hairs and hippies. The LEOs young men listened to the same music to get ready to counter anti-war protesters and such. Some of them knew about marijuana, cocaine, and psychedelic drugs, too. They were like George Hanson in learning what went on in the world.

reply

The Chalmers character represented career ambitions over justice.After the debacle where the fake Jonny Ross is killed, Chalmers wanted the case closed and to distance himself by blaming Bullitt.

For many people in higher office, placing blame on someone else is a cruel tool of political survival. However Bullitt is built as a detective that wants to solve cases, and is relatively uninterested in career advancement and ultimatley out manouvered Chalmers.

Chalmers adds a complexity that can be lost on younger viewers without career experience. People in middle age who have been back stabbed by corporate climers know of the Chalmers characters well.

reply

>>The Chalmers character represented career ambitions over justice.After the debacle where the fake Jonny Ross is killed, Chalmers wanted the case closed and to distance himself by blaming Bullitt.<<

I don't doubt Chalmers career ambitions is at the top of his list, but I think he has interest in justice, too. He wants to get mob leaders and is willing to give protection to Ross. No doubt he wants to blame Bullitt and SFPD once his witness is dead, but he doesn't know it. His witness is missing. Thus, if he is just a shill to close the case if he's dead and blame Bullitt and SFPD, he does not have enough evidence. I would think he would do everything he can to get the hospital to produce Renick's hospital documents. He should be able to use the FBI imo to do this for him and put pressure on the hospital and the black doctor to come up with it.

I agree with political survival and the tools. If Bullitt just wants to solve cases, then he didn't have to move the body. Why would Chalmers fold up the case if he knows Renick/Ross is dead? He would still want to blame and make the case against Bullitt and SFPD. As I said, just folding up the case doesn't make sense to me.

I would agree with your last paragraph, but Chalmers ends up as the guy who would fold up the case since his career ambitions are quashed. I think he could have been more than that.

reply

I understand what you are saying ,that Chalmers actions look reasonable after the 'Ross' killing. However in such a high profile case Chalmers was very quick to fold his cards. Ross was obviously the key witness, without him a conviction would be unlikely.

After the killing Chalmers had two choices. One was listen to an experienced police detective with a good reputation about his instinct that something was not right with 'Ross', give Bullitt time to solve it while holding off the press or ..fold up shop and lay blame, saving his own ass. The public tends not to like it when mobsters are released because the DA has no case. It is probable that Chalmers hyped up the event of a upcoming star witness to the press.

The movie does not show the effect of the power of the press. Chalmers would have been catapulted into stardom if he was successful in bringing down a powerful syndicate. When his key witness was killed obviously he would look like a boob. If it was found out that he sent the SFPD to guard the wrong man, he would look like a moron.

The ironic thing is that even if Chalmers backed up Bullitt, his career would have been over. Being duped by the mob into believing the Remick was Ross is not easily forgotton.

Rudy Giuliani's career was made in the 80's by successfully prosecuting a powerful crime family in New York by the way.

It is also telling that this script along with 'The Thomas Crown Affair' was written by a lawyer. Most of the governor's, senators and congressmen in the US are former lawyers. It seems that the writer knew the Chalmers type well.

I got mixed up thinking that Chalmers was a DA, but he is a Senator...I don't know if he is a state senator or a US senator...either way the debacle will not look good for his reelection.

reply

"I got mixed up thinking that Chalmers was a DA, but he is a Senator...I don't know if he is a state senator or a US senator...either way the debacle will not look good for his reelection."

- To be completely accurate, the film never explicitly states what Chalmers is. But it does tell us what he's not: a senator or a DA. How do we know this? From Capt. Bennett's statement to Bullitt: "He's grooming himself for public office." But he doesn't yet hold one. Here's what Chalmers says about himself to Bullitt: "As you know, there's a Senate Subcommittee hearing here on Monday, and I have a witness who needs protection."

As you say, it is telling that the script was written by a lawyer, and my interpretation is that this is exactly what Chalmers is. Jasonbourne has suggested on the other thread that he's a U.S. attorney, and I can't rule that out, but I believe it's more likely that he's a private attorney serving the subcommittee as special council. This is something that's quite common; two of the best known were Fred Thompson on the Watergate committee and Roy Cohn on McCarthy's committee. One famous; one infamous.

You mentioned above about Chalmers getting a conviction. But a Senate hearing is a legislative function, not a judicial one. They don't convict anyone; they don't prosecute anyone. They investigate through hearings. Chalmers also tells Bullitt, "We're going to expose the Organization." If there are any prosecutions, they would then be the responsibility of the DOJ, not the Senate.

That's one reason I think it's unlikely Chalmers is a U.S. Attorney: they sometimes furnish evidence or give testimony to Senate hearings, but it's extremely uncommon for them to present witnesses in them while serving the DOJ.

reply

Ok thanks it has been a long time since I have seen it.

reply

Ah well, the film's vague about it even if you saw it yesterday. As I said to jasonbourne on the other thread, we have to connect the dots ourselves.

reply

I have heard that some law professors will take a famous movie, take a character from it and ask students to make arguments for AND against that persons actions. Being a lawyer for Charlmers is certainly the more difficult task.

reply

Interesting idea.

Whether you're defending someone or prosecuting them, you want to know as much as possible about them and what they did so you can choose what to present at trial, either to benefit them or convict them. The trouble with movies - and their characters - is that they don't always give us all the information we'd need for such undertakings.

In that sense, however, movies have a lot in common with preparing either a defense or a prosecution: you let the court and the jury know only what you want them to know in order to construct a narrative that serves your purpose.

reply

"If Bullitt just wants to solve cases, then he didn't have to move the body. Why would Chalmers fold up the case if he knows Renick/Ross is dead? He would still want to blame and make the case against Bullitt and SFPD. As I said, just folding up the case doesn't make sense to me."

- To understand this, let's go back to Bullitt's original remarks to Dr. Willard after the death of the man (Renick) they think is Ross: "I want this kept open. If Chalmers finds out that Ross died, he's gonna fold this up and I want the man that killed him."

When Bullitt says he wants "this" kept open and that Chalmers will fold "this" up, the "this" he's talking about encompasses protecting the witness and investigating his shooting. If Chalmers finds out he no longer has a witness, he has no more use for Bullitt, except as a punching bag in the media. Chalmers has already warned him that he will "officiate at your public crucifixion if Ross doesn't recover during the course of the hearings."

Bullitt knows he will be sidelined if that happens. And Chalmers knows he could be publicly embarrassed by what a police investigation into the assassination would reveal about how the hitmen found Ross and used his name. So he instead will want to launch a political investigation into Bullitt rather than have a police investigation of the killing.

reply

Even if Chalmers wants to fold up "his" case because the witness is dead, Bullitt still has jurisdiction as it was a murder committed in San Francisco. Chalmers part is over, so Bullitt still would continue his case. Bullitt also becomes a target of Chalmers, but that is a separate issue. I don't think Chalmers can "sideline" Bullitt because of the felony. Maybe he can get the police brass to transfer the case from him because of losing his witness and then finding out he's dead.

I think you are reading too much into the literary device of protagonist vs. antagonist. Chalmers' interest into blaming Bullitt and the police would become secondary to the story. He has to make a formal complaint. He also has to get the hospital report as evidence. Sure, since Bullitt said he'll take responsibility for moving and hiding the dead witness, his arse is on the line. Once Chalmers gets that, then he could have Bullitt suspended and removed from going further in the murder case. If you want to go this way, then fine. It's just a device to give Bullitt very little time to break open the case. His saying Chalmers will fold up the case doesn't make sense, but it continues the story and leads to the heightened protagonist vs. antagonist aspect of the movie. Notice, I removed the authoritarian or establishment aspect and just made it between the two men as it gets personal later at the airport when Ross' plane is being called back.

reply

"Maybe he can get the police brass to transfer the case from him because of losing his witness and then finding out he's dead."

- That's exactly what I mean by "sidelining" him, and/or, as you suggested further on, "he could have Bullitt suspended and removed from going further in the murder case." I stated those very things in posts on the earlier thread, so we're on the same page here.

I'm not quite sure what you mean by "reading too much into the literary device of protagonist vs. antagonist." It's simply the way the screenplay has set up the conflict, and is the basic answer to your question: "He's not the bad guy, but why is he the bad guy."

The reasons the film suggests for Bullitt's concern that "Chalmers will fold up the case" have been covered in earlier posts, but if you don't buy them, well, that's cool. As I've said before, the best I can do is explain them as I understand them. Bullitt not wanting to be removed from the investigation and being helpless while Chalmers uses his influence to get it put on the back burner as just another mob hit work well enough for me.

reply

Very nice of you to open up the second thread. Roomier here, huh? And I see it's gotten some activity already.

I'm okay with it if you want to wind things up, but some of this - about what Chalmers's interests are - is of interest, opening up areas about which any of us can conclude whatever we want. As mentioned earlier on the other thread, I try to stick to the simplest, based on what the film does tell us.

I'm sure Chalmers has other interests outside of the hearings. One can assume they're merely a step on his way to building his public image and achieving elective office. But where Bullitt's concerned, I tend to think the hearings - and his image - are all he's interested in.

My evidence is Chalmers's statements and actions all through the film. He tells Bullitt at their meeting, "A Senate Subcommittee hearing has a way of catapulting everyone involved into the public eye." He tells him at the hospital, "I shall personally officiate at your public crucifixion if Ross doesn't recover during the course of the hearings." He brings a newspaper reporter and photographer to the hospital the next day. He tells Baker that he thinks Bullitt grabbed his witness "for his personal aggrandizement." He tells Bennett, "I do not choose to have people accuse me of false promises merely for the sake of cheap sensationalism." He demands a signed statement from Bullitt that the witness died in his custody, so he'll look blameless and Bullitt will take all the heat. He tells Bullitt at the airport, "Integrity is something you sell the public."

Image and publicity. But one thing Chalmers never says a word about is finding out who shot his witness. Never even asks about it.

I wouldn't get too hung up on "authority" or "the establishment." The "literary device" in this case is depicted as a conflict between politics (Chalmers) and justice (Bullitt). Or, if you want to put it another way, the conflict between personal ambition and simply doing your job the best way you know how. They were perennial then, and still are.

reply

Last point first. I can accept the authority storyline and Bullitt is anti-authority as that would have played better. By that, I mean Chalmers would not be a friend to Bullitt anymore, but would use his authority to get the FBI involved. This is how I interpreted Bullitt saying I'll work my side of the street while you work your side. The main thing for Chalmers is his witness is missing. He's not dead to him, so what choice does he have but to go after Bullitt and the SFPD? He would wamt his missing witness and would do anything to get the hospital chart. That would reveal all and then he has the evidence against Bullitt if he's blaming Bullitt and the SFPD.

Then Chalmers will find that Ross died, but that Bullitt is still up to something. Thus, he'll probably put a tail on Bullitt like the mob did. Either way it comes down to finding out what Bullitt knows and we have the scene where the passport application pics are coming in. By then, Bullitt knows Renick wasn't Ross and gets to use his funny line. Now, Chalmers is engaged again, but probably would want the same thing for Ross despite knowing he's been played. If the story line is from the book, then it makes for a complicated story, but I find it hard to believe that it would use the literary device. What did the book use? How did it go down in the book? Was Chalmers always a patsy to be at odds with Bullitt?

Here's what I was able to find online about the book -- https://digitalbibliophilia.blogspot.com/2019/08/mute-witness-bullitt.html. Chalmers is the NY state's DA. Heh. So maybe the book did use the literary device, but it could also mean that he put the heat on Clancy and the NYPD using the state troopers.

reply

"Chalmers would not be a friend to Bullitt anymore, but would use his authority to get the FBI involved. This is how I interpreted Bullitt saying I'll work my side of the street while you work your side."

- That line of Bullitt's is the kind of catchy, quotable and character-defining dialogue that always shows up in trailers. It establishes him as independently-minded; someone who goes his own way. It's the kind of line that wouldn't have been out of place coming from Humphrey Bogart 25 years earlier. In arriving at my own interpretation, I try to let the context of the scene be my guide:

BULLITT: "I want to know about Ross. What was the deal you made with him?"

CHALMERS: "Deal? Lieutenant, don't try to evade the responsibility. In your parlance, you blew it. You knew the significance of his testimony, yet you failed to take adequate measures to protect him. So, to you, it was a job; no more. Were it more, had you the dedication I was led to believe..."

BULLITT: "You believe what you want. You work your side of the street, and I'll work mine."

Bullitt knows there's something fishy about how the hitmen found their target and used Chalmers's name, but he can already tell that Chalmers intends to publicly scapegoat him. So what Bullitt is saying, I think, is that Chalmers can go ahead and play politics, while he will focus on his job, which now includes tracking down the shooters and finding out how they located their target.

It was good of you to link to that review of Mute Witness. 40 years after reading the book, my memory of it is dim. But in considering the differences between it and the film, it's illustrative of the many directions a screenplay can take when adapted from another medium, just as your own suggestions illustrate.

I'm not very good at second-guessing writers to come up with things they might have done differently. The best I can do is judge a film on its own merits, analyzing its choices and how well it justifies them.

reply

I agree that is a nice piece of dialog.

However (clears throat), Chalmers doesn't have to provide the details of the deal to Bullitt. That's how most law enforcement agencies work with each other on a need to know basis. It's even difficult for the victim to get information from the police or other LE agency working on their case.

>>Bullitt knows there's something fishy about how the hitmen found their target and used Chalmers's name, but he can already tell that Chalmers intends to publicly scapegoat him. So what Bullitt is saying, I think, is that Chalmers can go ahead and play politics, while he will focus on his job, which now includes tracking down the shooters and finding out how they located their target.<<

I think anyone will think it was fishy how the hitmen knew where and to use Chalmers' name. Instead of providing the information Bullitt wants from him about his deal, Chalmers takes offense and then turns the table around to make Bullitt be on the defensive. This is part of the literary device to build up the antagonism and lead into their split. Without having to spell it out, we, as the audience can see the tension rise between the two men in that scene.

Ok, fair enough with the book, but the movie was taken from the book and so the parts where the movie does not make clear like Chalmers position, it is fair use.

Anyway, the other tense situation arises when the real Ross is being brought back to the airport and Bullitt and Chalmers go at each other mano vs. mano and Chalmers tells him Ross' testimony could do them both a lot of good. It's a strange thing to say, and the prior build up makes him sound even more of an a-hole. Most DAs would not say that. Bullitt then tells him that he doesn't like him. If I was Chalmers, then I would have just told him that I have jurisdiction since he is his witness. He doesn't even have to tell Bullitt to make a compromise. That's an order.

reply

"However (clears throat), Chalmers doesn't have to provide the details of the deal to Bullitt. That's how most law enforcement agencies work with each other on a need to know basis."

- Yes, you're quite right about all this. As always, I like to consult the scene to determine and illustrate what it's telling us:

CHALMERS: "Alright, what went wrong Lieutenant?"

BULLITT: "Who else knew where he was?"

CHALMERS: "What are you implying?"

BULLITT: "Well, they knew where to look for him and they used your name to get in."

CHALMERS: "Are you suggesting I disclosed his whereabouts?"

BULLITT: "Somebody did, and it didn't come from us."

CHALMERS: "That's hardly the issue."

BULLITT: "Well, it certainly is. I've got an officer with a family, and he's shot up pretty bad."

CHALMERS: "Mm-hm. And I've got a witness who can't talk."

And the scene picks up where I quoted it in my earlier reply, with Bullitt questioning Chalmers about his deal with Ross.

Bullitt's aware Chalmers is under no obligation to answer any questions at that moment, but the routine protection assignment is now also a criminal investigation, so he proceeds to the first order of business: gathering information and evidence. There's a chance Chalmers just might be as interested as Bullitt in solving a crime and want to cooperate, so these questions have to be asked.

When Chalmers quickly makes clear he has no such intentions, Bullitt knows exactly where he stands, and tells Chalmers so: "You work your side of the street, and I'll work mine."

That's the plot purpose of the scene as I see it, and you've amply described its purpose in the dramatic arc: "This is part of the literary device to build up the antagonism and lead into their split. Without having to spell it out, we, as the audience can see the tension rise between the two men in that scene."

Cont'd...

reply

"Anyway, the other tense situation arises when the real Ross is being brought back to the airport and Bullitt and Chalmers go at each other"

- Again, if you'll permit, let's consult the scene:

CHALMERS: "He's still my witness. I'll be delighted to let you have him after he testifies tomorrow."

BULLITT remains silent and steps away.

CHALMERS: "The Organization...several murders...could do us both a great deal of good."

BULLITT: "Look Chalmers, let's understand each other: I don't like you."

CHALMERS: "Come on now, don't be naïve, Lieutenant. We both know how careers are made. Integrity is something you sell the public."

BULLITT: "You sell whatever you want, but don't sell it here tonight."

CHALMERS: "Frank, we must all compromise."

BULLITT: "Bullshit. Get the hell outta here now."

Dramatic purpose first: it gives Bullitt and Chalmers one final confrontation; one in which Bullitt, in his characteristically economical and understated way, tells Chalmers off and shuts him up. And audiences love it. In that sense, it's skillfully written. It's like a lit stick of dynamite that doesn't explode, building to a climax that doesn't happen. The audience is now primed for the next sequence: the chase across the tarmac and through the terminal, and the shootout. And they get their climax.

Cont'd...

reply

For plot purposes, however, it's got some holes. Hole #1: It's especially dense of Chalmers to expect the real Ross to testify for him, when it should be clear by now that he never had any intention of doing so. There are all sorts of mechanisms involving LE, the Senate and the courts by which such testimony could be induced, but none of them are going to happen overnight.

Hole #2: There's no logical or professional reason for Bullitt to be uncooperative; only an emotional one. He doesn't have to like Chalmers, but he could easily say, "And we'll be happy to escort him to your hearing tomorrow after we have him in custody and booked for murder tonight" (but that wouldn't satisfy most audiences). Returning to dramatic purpose for a moment, it does connect to Cathy's concerns about what Frank's job is doing to him, and the scene illustrates how single-minded he's become, to the point of excluding other considerations.

"If I was Chalmers, then I would have just told him that I have jurisdiction since he is his witness. He doesn't even have to tell Bullitt to make a compromise. That's an order."

- I don't see Chalmers having any such authority. When Bullitt refused to reveal where the witness was, for instance, Chalmers had to get a writ of habeas corpus and serve it on Bennett (who resolves to sit on it until Monday).

We've speculated about what position Chalmers holds, but DA or Senator aren't possibilities. The film tells us he holds no elective office. As I've also said, I can't rule out that he's a U.S. attorney, but I doubt it and have given my reasons.

This brings up hole #3: Whenever Chalmers has wanted to wield authority, he's needed Capt. Baker or a court order to make it official. But Baker's missing from the scene, for no apparent plot reason. So again, it's back to the dramatic one. If Baker were there, he could order Bullitt to hand Ross over to him and Chalmers, but that would interfere with the dramatic arc already stated above.

reply

>>For plot purposes, however, it's got some holes. Hole #1: It's especially dense of Chalmers to expect the real Ross to testify for him, when it should be clear by now that he never had any intention of doing so. There are all sorts of mechanisms involving LE, the Senate and the courts by which such testimony could be induced, but none of them are going to happen overnight.<<

It's not a plot hole b/c the story does not state anything about what the real Ross wanted to do, but escape to Europe and have Renick killed for it. Ross may not have intended to testify, but once caught and facing murder charges, he would likely flee to Chalmers to protect him from Bullitt trying to convict him.

>>Hole #2: There's no logical or professional reason for Bullitt to be uncooperative; only an emotional one. He doesn't have to like Chalmers, but he could easily say, "And we'll be happy to escort him to your hearing tomorrow after we have him in custody and booked for murder tonight" (but that wouldn't satisfy most audiences). Returning to dramatic purpose for a moment, it does connect to Cathy's concerns about what Frank's job is doing to him, and the scene illustrates how single-minded he's become, to the point of excluding other considerations.<<

Sure, there is. He hid the evidence that Renick/Ross was dead. That would mean his job once Chalmers gets the hospital report.

>>- I don't see Chalmers having any such authority. When Bullitt refused to reveal where the witness was, for instance, Chalmers had to get a writ of habeas corpus and serve it on Bennett (who resolves to sit on it until Monday).<<

The writ is more plot device to show Chalmers is a wuss and a-hole compared to Bullitt. I, as Chalmers, would just tell Bullitt he has jurisdiction of the witness. That was Bullitt's original job to protect Chalmers' witness. Bullitt also has to connect Ross to the murder of Mrs. Renick and Renick, but Chalmers still has jurisdiction and first crack at Ross.

continued


reply

"It's not a plot hole b/c the story does not state anything about what the real Ross wanted to do, but escape to Europe and have Renick killed for it."

- This, by definition, makes clear Ross was never going to testify. The whole thing was simply a ruse to fake Ross's death and cover his escape from the country. The film seems pretty explicit about that.

"Sure, there is. He hid the evidence that Renick/Ross was dead. That would mean his job once Chalmers gets the hospital report."

- Remember that I'm referring to the airport scene here. By that time, Chalmers already knows that Renick is dead, that Bullitt smuggled the body out of the hospital (and yeah, Bullitt could still be facing disciplinary action over that) and that he was an imposter, so as far as the plot's concerned, that reason would no longer be operative.

"Ross may not have intended to testify, but once caught and facing murder charges, he would likely flee to Chalmers to protect him from Bullitt trying to convict him."

- If he were facing murder charges, which would be possible only if Bullitt had taken him into custody, Chalmers wouldn't have been able to protect him. Chalmers's connection to Ross (and Renick) had to do only with the Senate hearing, a function of the legislative body, not the police or state courts.

Chalmers could have tried to use his influence to get the investigation into the mob hit back-burnered or dropped, as we've discussed, but once Ross was in custody for the murder of Dorothy Renick, the matter would have been one for the state court, and out of Chalmers's hands.

"The writ is more plot device to show Chalmers is a wuss and a-hole compared to Bullitt. I, as Chalmers, would just tell Bullitt he has jurisdiction of the witness."

- I don't think so. We already knew he was a jerk. What it demonstrates is that he had no official authority of his own. That's one reason I don't believe he has any "jurisdiction" or holds any office.

reply

We just saw different movies. One of the key points is what job Chalmers holds. He is a Federal DA or assistant DA who got assigned to the case. It does not fit the movie story if he's the state DA as that is an elected office. I'm going to stick with my original hunch. Nor does it fit, he's an attorney. The SFPD would not think he has power then. Even Mute Witness has him as state DA, so your conjecture doesn't work as well.

>>- This, by definition, makes clear Ross was never going to testify. The whole thing was simply a ruse to fake Ross's death and cover his escape from the country. The film seems pretty explicit about that.<<

Ross' main goal was escaping the mob with their money who were going to kill him. He also wanted protection from Chalmers in case something went wrong. Chalmers, as a Fed, makes it credible with the mob and also follows the anti-hero vs the establishment trope of the 60s.

>>- Remember that I'm referring to the airport scene here. By that time, Chalmers already knows that Renick is dead, that Bullitt smuggled the body out of the hospital (and yeah, Bullitt could still be facing disciplinary action over that) and that he was an imposter, so as far as the plot's concerned, that reason would no longer be operative.<<

I said as much, but Chalmers needs the hospital report as evidence in order to arrest Bullitt. This would be more than disciplinary action. Bullitt committed a Federal crime of abducting a Federal witness. Thus, Chalmers calls the shots. Bullitt would likely have been pulled off the case and arrested if he had the hospital report, but we also would not have a movie. Again, this scene is just to heighten the plot device.

As for the rest, it depends on what happened in the movie. Ross was killed. Had he lived, he would be facing a lot of charges including murder. Thus, he would have ran to Chalmers for protection. The mob would also know he's alive and would try to kill him again. Thus, Bullitt 2.

reply

"We just saw different movies."

- If nothing else, you're beginning to convince me of that.

"Nor does it fit, he's an attorney. The SFPD would not think he has power then. Even Mute Witness has him as state DA, so your conjecture doesn't work as well."

- Perhaps, if you interpret "juice" to mean only power. I interpret it to mean influence, as I've said: he has money; he gets himself in the news; he's well-connected within the PD. All these things are depicted in the film. So is the fact that he has no "power" of his own, as I've also pointed out: he needs a court order or Baker's authority when he wants to effect an official request or demand. What he was in the book doesn't much matter. as that's among the many changes made by the film.

"Bullitt committed a Federal crime of abducting a Federal witness."

- Not really. Bulllitt moved a corpse (and put it in the city morgue), so there was no longer any "witness" at that point. If he'd been alive, that wouldn't be a crime either, as he would still have been in police protective custody, as Capt. Bennett told Chalmers when they both thought he was still alive: "If he's moving Ross around, it's for a reason."

reply

>>- If nothing else, you're beginning to convince me of that.<<

Now, we're finally getting somewhere (sarcasm). It only took how many posts?

>>- Perhaps, if you interpret "juice" to mean only power. I interpret it to mean influence, as I've said: he has money; he gets himself in the news; he's well-connected within the PD. All these things are depicted in the film. So is the fact that he has no "power" of his own, as I've also pointed out: he needs a court order or Baker's authority when he wants to effect an official request or demand. What he was in the book doesn't much matter. as that's among the many changes made by the film.<<

I addressed it already. If Chalmers has no "power" of his own, then why would Ross contact him? It doesn't make any sense. Chalmers position makes all the difference. I even used the book to point it out.

I think I recognized what you said with the plot device, but I already stated a couple times that's what made the film worse. For whatever reason, Chalmers has no Federal LE (or even state LE) assisting him. He has to count on SFPD and Bullitt. Comes in might handy to go right to protagonist vs antagonist. Thus, he's on his own and cannot get the hospital report without having to get SFPD brass involved. The writ of habeas corpus fits right in in order to do that. There was nothing else Chalmers could do in order to get Bullitt to produce his witness. It violates common sense. Thus, Bullitt had to produce the evidence on Renick in short time. It also lets the mob tail Bullitt, but Chalmers can't. He ends up being the patsy with only the SFPD brass to rely on and just someone who is out to make a name for himself, so he could gain higher office. Norman Fell could have played this caricature of an antagonist; it's Bullitt vs. a paper tiger.

Continued

reply

">>- If nothing else, you're beginning to convince me of that.<<

Now, we're finally getting somewhere (sarcasm). It only took how many posts?"

- I was being sarcastic myself. Obviously, they made only one movie called Bullitt, and I'm only trying to be helpful in explaining it, answering your questions and concerns, and clearing up confusion some of them suggest.

"Chalmers has no Federal LE (or even state LE) assisting him. He has to count on SFPD and Bullitt ... Thus, he's on his own and cannot get the hospital report without having to get SFPD brass involved."

- This suggests one of those points of confusion. Chalmers is working with a Senate subcommittee. All he was intending to do was present a witness to give testimony at the committee hearings, and all he needed Bullitt for was to guard the witness until then (Baker - the "SFPD brass" - is there only to indicate Chalmers's political influence within the dept: a personal lapdog on the force).

After the witness is shot, Chalmers's motivation becomes avoiding public embarrassment by scapegoating Bullitt, as Capt. Bennett explains: "Now he can't produce the big surprise he promised, he may try to make up some mileage by layin' it on us." Chalmers later articulates that very threat to Bullitt: "I shall personally officiate at your public crucifixion if Ross doesn't recover during the course of the hearings."

Mentioning it several times, you seem to place a lot of importance on what you call "the hospital report," but it's really a minor point. Chalmers asks to see the medical chart only after he shows up at the hospital with a reporter and photographer, and discovers that his witness has been moved from the ICU. After he learns that the witness died, the medical chart is of little importance, because Bullitt has already admitted moving the corpse to the morgue and listing him as a John Doe.

Cont'd...

reply

"The writ of habeas corpus fits right in in order to do that. There was nothing else Chalmers could do in order to get Bullitt to produce his witness. It violates common sense."

- Rather than violating common sense, it makes perfect sense just as you stated it.

"He ends up being the patsy with only the SFPD brass to rely on and just someone who is out to make a name for himself, so he could gain higher office."

- Pretty much on the money. What's the problem there?

"Norman Fell could have played this caricature of an antagonist; it's Bullitt vs. a paper tiger."

- Could have, but cop vs cop doesn't make as interesting a conflict as cop vs ambitious politician. Baker holds the same rank as Bullitt's superior officer Bennett, so what would his antagonistic motivation be? With a publicity-seeking political type, conflicting motives are clearer and more understandable.

reply

>>- Rather than violating common sense, it makes perfect sense just as you stated it.<<

You missed my all Chalmers had to do was get the hospital report. There would be SFPD turning the hospital inside out and looking for the doctor. Whoosh!

>>- Pretty much on the money. What's the problem there?<<

Again, the SFPD would be trying to get the report before Bullitt or the Captain explain whatever happened to the witness. That's easier as the doctor would be found. He's not being hidden.

>>"Norman Fell could have played this caricature of an antagonist; it's Bullitt vs. a paper tiger."<<

I meant Norman Fell could've played Chalmers if you wanted a caricature.

I think Steve McQueen's best movies were The Great Escape up until this time. Bullitt has some interest as being one of the better 60s movies, but it isn't that good. It's primarily a star vehicle and action movie, but with lengthy dialog scenes. I would think younger viewers would think the story was boring as they would not try to figure out what happened. I assume we're both over 50 to have interest in 60s/70s movies. I just looked up The French Connection and it's rated a little higher, but made way more money instead of losing money. Bullitt isn't that good of a movie except for star vehicle and chase scene. I know we hashed this thing to death, but I would just say the story doesn't make much sense or it's a muscle cars, chase scene, cool cop, and hot chick flick so people would watch instead of trying to explain it. Ciao.

reply

"You missed my all Chalmers had to do was get the hospital report. There would be SFPD turning the hospital inside out and looking for the doctor."

- And you missed what I said about the medical chart (what you're calling "the hospital report"): once Chalmers knows Bullitt moved his witness, the medical chart becomes less relevant. Chalmers only wanted to know where he is, and minutes after he learns the chart can't be found and the doctor's off duty, he has Bullitt on the phone, admitting it:

CHALMERS: "Alright, where's my witness?"

BULLITT: "I've got him."

CHALMERS: "Where is he? Are you going to tell me or not?"

BULLITT: "Well, I can't at the present time."

And Bullitt only concealed the chart so Chalmers wouldn't find out his witness was dead until Bullitt was ready for him to know. After that, the chart is of no importance. The story really does make sense. The clues are all there in the film. It just doesn't beat viewers over the head with explanations the way some recent ones made for adolescents and adult morons do.

"I just looked up The French Connection and it's rated a little higher, but made way more money instead of losing money."

- I don't know where you're getting this. Bullitt didn't lose money. It grossed $42 million domestic. The French Connection grossed $52 million three years later. Those were good numbers at the time, and both were among top earners in their respective years.

Cin cin.

reply

>>- I was being sarcastic myself. Obviously, they made only one movie called Bullitt, and I'm only trying to be helpful in explaining it, answering your questions and concerns, and clearing up confusion some of them suggest. <<

I haven't seen any new movies nor old ones lately, so am spending my time here. Also, I am a big fan of the Ford Mustang and Dodge muscle cars (both Challenger and Charger). I would love to drive a rebuilt Ford Mustang like Bullitt or the new Bullitt Mustang. I would love to drive a rebuilt 68-70 Dodge Charger, too. I think we agreed that Chalmers' job has a lot to do with the power that he has and the things that he does. I think you made him so he fit what he does in the movie while I went by who Ross would contact and who, position-wise, argues Federal criminal cases before the Senate (US). I can also see if the mob heads are going to be tried at the state level as Ross becomes state's witness. A higher up like Ross could easily go out-of-town to do their books.

>>Mentioning it several times, you seem to place a lot of importance on what you call "the hospital report," but it's really a minor point. Chalmers asks to see the medical chart only after he shows up at the hospital with a reporter and photographer, and discovers that his witness has been moved from the ICU. After he learns that the witness died, the medical chart is of little importance, because Bullitt has already admitted moving the corpse to the morgue and listing him as a John Doe.<<

In my version of the movie, the report is important to find out what happened to Renick since Bullitt isn't answering Chalmers' questions. Also, Chalmers could use it to put the heat on Bullitt for improper police procedure, but he would be smart enough to question why it happened. In your version, Chalmers would want it to find out what happened and then use it to publicly blame Bullitt for hiding that his witness was killed due to his incompetence. Chalmers is a caricature.

reply

"I think you made him so he fit what he does in the movie while I went by who Ross would contact and who, position-wise, argues Federal criminal cases before the Senate (US)."

- This is something that can be cleared up. I fit Chalmers only to (1) what the film tells us and (2) real life. Nobody "argues Federal criminal cases before the Senate (US)." Senates, both state and U.S., don't hear criminal cases; they're legislative bodies with investigative abilities. They sometimes hold hearings that may uncover criminal activity, but any related charges would have to be brought under authority of state and/or U.S. attorneys general as part of their Justice Depts. Such cases would then be tried in the courts (judiciary bodies).

None of that is my invention; that's the way our state and federal governments are structured. A scenario of criminal cases argued before a Senate would be almost as much fantasy as Game Of Thrones.

When these things are understood, they can cut through a lot of confusion about the film.

That's among the reasons I interpret Chalmers as a lawyer serving as counsel to the Senate subcommittee, just as Bobby Kennedy, Fred Thompson, Roy Cohn and other lawyers, well-known and not, did. There was just such a lawyer serving as counsel to the Judiciary Committee questioning a witness only yesterday in the U.S. House Of Representatives.

Ross most likely contacted Chalmers because he was a visible figure associated with the hearings who was getting himself in the news by making speeches and giving interviews about them. Ross was a crafty mob figure and embezzler, and apparently knew a sucker who could be used when he spotted one.

reply

>>- This is something that can be cleared up. I fit Chalmers only to (1) what the film tells us and (2) real life. Nobody "argues Federal criminal cases before the Senate (US)." Senates, both state and U.S., don't hear criminal cases; they're legislative bodies with investigative abilities. They sometimes hold hearings that may uncover criminal activity, but any related charges would have to be brought under authority of state and/or U.S. attorneys general as part of their Justice Depts. Such cases would then be tried in the courts (judiciary bodies).<<

C'mon, this is the 60s and organized crime hearings were held in the Senate by US Attorney General Robert Kennedy (whom you listed!). Thompson came later and Cohn didn't go after organized crime. RFK made it a crusade to go after the mob if you want realism. The movie really doesn't make sense, but organized crime came to the forefront in the 50s and the Mafia became a big deal. The Italian mob is the most well known. This explains why Chalmers is making a name for himself. He's acting like RFK. President JFK could have been killed by the mob in retaliation; this is what RFK believed. Mute Witness probably uses these hearings in its story as it came out around the same time as RFK's hearings. It seems to be a popular book from that time. I think you're just making the story fit your interpretation while I used the book as basis for the movie. RFK became a US Senator from New York. Bullitt takes place in 1968 or later going by the Mustang, but the Senate hearings does not have to fit the movie's time period.

reply

"I think you're just making the story fit your interpretation..."

- The topic or focus of a Senate committee or hearing makes no difference to the limits of its scope and authority. Criminal cases are not argued before the U.S. Senate (or the CA Senate, for that matter). Ever. It simply isn't within their legal purview, as it would violate separation of powers. That's not fitting anything to interpretation. It's just the way it is.

Your RFK history's a little muddled, and sorting it out can be instructive in understanding Chalmers and his function.

As an attorney, RFK served as counsel to two Senate committees: the Permanent Committee On Investigations (chaired by Joe McCarthy) and the McClellan Committee investigating labor unions (during which ties to organized crime were explored and he famously sparred with labor leader Jimmy Hoffa). He also served as majority counsel during the Army-McCarthy hearings that led to the senator's downfall.

As Attorney General, his functions in the Senate and its committees came to an end (as you know, the only role any Executive branch figure has in the Senate is as ceremonial president, and tie-breaking vote when necessary). While he was AG, he testified about organized crime before the Permanent Committee On Investigations he had once served, but only as a witness. An AG may also share with the Senate evidence gathered through DOJ investigations and/or prosecutions as aids to the Senate's own investigations.

All of this preceded his first run for office and election to the Senate in 1964.

It's possible RFK may have played some part in Robert. L. Pike's inspiration for Mute Witness, and even more likely in Alan Trustman's and Harry Kleiner's adaptation for the screen, in which the city crime commission was changed to a Senate committee and Chalmers was no longer a D.A. The film was in production in the spring of '68 when RFK's presidential campaign was at its height, and wrapped only a couple weeks before his death.

reply

>>- The topic or focus of a Senate committee or hearing makes no difference to the limits of its scope and authority. Criminal cases are not argued before the U.S. Senate (or the CA Senate, for that matter). Ever. It simply isn't within their legal purview, as it would violate separation of powers. That's not fitting anything to interpretation. It's just the way it is.<<

I went over this already. You still do not understand what happened in the 50s and 60s and RFK.

>>Your RFK history's a little muddled, and sorting it out can be instructive in understanding Chalmers and his function.<<

RFK was attorney in 50 and 51 when investigating organized crime. There is your attorney lol. He rose and his brother JFK, who became POTUS in 1960, appointed him AG in 1961. Thus, he's already above the US attorney level. Now, your explanation is making stuff up to fit your interpretation of the movie. Your movie is now a joke as I read what RFK did in 1963 to go after the mob. You are entitled to your opinion of the movie, but it's a joke to say that Chalmers was a stooge. Thus, I don't think you saw the movie correctly now based on the book and RFK's career. Even the writers and director of Bullitt didn't interpret RFK nor Mute Witness correctly.

Continued

reply

"I went over this already. You still do not understand what happened in the 50s and 60s and RFK."

- And, I'm sorry, but you still do not seem to understand the role, legal authority and limitations of Senate committees and their counsels.

RFK as Senate attorney:

12/52 - 7/53 - Asst. Counsel to U.S. Permanent Subcommittee On Investigations

2/54 - 1/57 - Chief counsel to Senate Democrats

1/57 - 3/60 - Chief Counsel to Senate McClellan Committee

RFK in public office:

1/64 - 9/64 - U.S. Atty General

1/65 - 6/68 - U.S. Senator

That's simply documented history, not "making stuff up to fit [my] interpretation of the movie."

"Your movie is now a joke as I read what RFK did in 1963 to go after the mob."

- That was as AG, investigating and bringing criminal cases to court under authority of the DOJ, which has nothing to do with Senate committee investigations; they have no criminal authority of their own.

The movie's not meant to be a biography of RFK. His work with those Senate committees is merely an example of an attorney serving them as counsel, and cited as illustration of the function the film suggests Chalmers is serving.

Mixing and matching various aspects of RFK's entire career in government service during the '50s and '60s, in or out of office, is counterproductive to understanding the film, and sounds more like trying to make stuff fit your interpretation of it.

You have many criticisms of the film, which is fine, but they're valid only with accurate assessments of its plot points, which is all I've been trying to provide by citing specific scenes directly from it, and by relating those to illustrative real-world examples.

reply

Most of your interpretation is to fit a murky story line, so I don't really care. You cannot even state which movies are similar in ranking in your opinion nor give it rating despite your interpretation. Moreover, your points do not consider the book nor the historical nature of RFK and his dedication and relentless crusade against organized crime.

However, what I was stating with RFK was the influence he had in writing Mute Witness. The story of what happened with RFK is a compelling story. His experience starting as a lawyer and then AG was against organized crime. It's not just something to list his positions in order to fit your interpretation of Bullitt. Chalmers is not RFK. It's ridiculous to argue as such because Chalmers is so dumb. Instead, I tried to point out his deficiencies several times to you, but it does not register. I'm going to read the book and it probably will have a better explanation of Chalmers as someone more capable to cause Bullitt's character some problems.

reply

In conclusion, I can say only that most of your objections result from being off on the wrong track. For instance:

"Chalmers is not RFK. It's ridiculous to argue as such because Chalmers is so dumb."

- I never argued that Chalmers was or even represented RFK; he was cited only as one of several examples of a lawyer not holding public office serving as counsel to a Senate committee, in the hope it would lead to a better understanding of the film. But, as you say, "it does not register" (just as with having stated twice that I don't "rate" or compare films on any kind of numeric scale, or explaining plot points you felt made no sense, only to see the same questions raised again).

But whatever.

I never discourage anyone from a good read, but you're unlikely to find the book much help in understanding the film with so much about the story and characters having been reconceived for it.

All the same, it was very nice that you'd devote so much time to something about which you "don't really care," so that's appreciated.

Happy reading and happy viewing. Maybe we can do it again sometime about another film, with more mutually rewarding results.

reply

I said the story in the movie is murky and does not make much sense. Or else this movie would have been rated higher. Part of what's wrong is Chalmers is made into a buffoon (plot device). Because the movie doesn't make sense, I went to the book for the story. Again, there is no reason for Chalmers to fold up the case, but that's what Bullitt claims (plot device again). More murkiness. Anyway, for a low rated movie, it has its moments as it is the first modern car chase movie with the iconic Bullitt Mustang vs Dodge Charger and it takes place in the hilly streets and scenic parts of San Francisco. I grew up there and I know the places in the movie well. You seem to have invested a lot of time in this mediocre movie, as we saw different movies. It is probably a mediocre movie to you, too, but it must have some significance.

reply

"I said the story in the movie is murky and does not make much sense. Or else this movie would have been rated higher."

- I don't know how anyone can pretend to guess the specific reason a film "rates" as it does merely from a number between 1 and 10, but when The Best Years Of Our Lives, one of the finest U.S. films ever made, gets a rating of 8 while a comic book action feature like Avengers: Infinity War gets an 8.5, it says more about IMDB users than it does the films. I do know this: on any numerical scale of 1 - 10, 7.4 isn't "low." Still, no numerical ratings mean anything to me about a film's quality.

All the things you've complained don't make sense have been explained but, if you don't accept them, fine. If you find the film mediocre, that's fine too. If I felt that way, I doubt I'd devote any time to it at all. But as the saying goes, your mileage may vary.


reply

>>- I don't know how anyone can pretend to guess the specific reason a film "rates" as it does merely from a number between 1 and 10, but when The Best Years Of Our Lives, one of the finest U.S. films ever made, gets a rating of 8 while a comic book action feature like Avengers: Infinity War gets an 8.5, it says more about IMDB users than it does the films. I do know this: on any numerical scale of 1 - 10, 7.4 isn't "low." Still, no numerical ratings mean anything to me about a film's quality.<<

IMDB is skewed to more younger users and probably getting younger all the time. Is Shawshank Redemption still the overall #1 movie? You can't compare today's movies with those in the distant past. Thus, I compared Bullitt with movies in that decade and it isn't in the top 25. It's a mediocre movie from the 60s, but it could have been better with Chalmers smarter and making Bullitt think instead of just getting all of his information by letting another criminal go free. I would compare the ratings of the movies for that decade.

>>All the things you've complained don't make sense have been explained but, if you don't accept them, fine. If you find the film mediocre, that's fine too. If I felt that way, I doubt I'd devote any time to it at all. But as the saying goes, your mileage may vary.<<

You keep wanting to explain, but I am just summarizing what was wrong with the movie and why I rated it a 7. There is no explanation necessary as I am entitled to my opinion since I spent time and money on the DVD. I think RFK's career in the early 50s and especially 1963 takes care of the complaints you had about what Chalmers did in my view. His job would be different today, but not back in the 60s. Now, I'll have to go buy the book or maybe borrow it from the library to compare it to the movie. I expect a better tete-a-tete between the lieutenant and the New York DA than dumb Chalmers vs nonsensical lieutenant in the scenes we discussed.

reply

"There is no explanation necessary as I am entitled to my opinion since I spent time and money on the DVD."

- I think you'll find I've never questioned your right to an opinion, to which you'd be entitled even if you'd never spent even a cent on the film. I'll add that I don't pretend to know why anyone would spend money on the DVD of a film they'd never seen, but that's your right too.

All I've tried to do is explain the film as it is, citing specific scenes and real-life examples of things it depicts. You're no more likely to convince me to like it less than I am to convince you to like it more. I only thought I might clear up some of the things you find questionable.

I will ask you to explain this, however:

"...making Bullitt think instead of just getting all of his information by letting another criminal go free."

- Where in the film did you see that happening?

reply

>>- I think you'll find I've never questioned your right to an opinion, to which you'd be entitled even if you'd never spent even a cent on the film. I'll add that I don't pretend to know why anyone would spend money on the DVD of a film they'd never seen, but that's your right too.<<

This comment. Now, I question your thinking. I agreed that your thoughts were what you got from the movie which you analyzed. Didn't I say I like the Bullitt Mustang, car chases (especially muscle car ones from the 60s/70s), grew up in SF on California St (down the block from the Mark Hopkins), worked around the corner from where Renick made the calls from the pay phone, Jacqueline Bisset, cool Steve McQueen, and more?

It was a good thing, too, because one had to watch the movie at least a couple of times to get it.

>>All I've tried to do is explain the film as it is, citing specific scenes and real-life examples of things it depicts. You're no more likely to convince me to like it less than I am to convince you to like it more. I only thought I might clear up some of the things you find questionable.<<

I'm not trying to change your mind, but was trying to get how your rated the movie. I think you thought it was mediocre and may not have compared it to other top movies of the 60s. Maybe it did okay for 1968 movies since it made quite a bit of money.

>>"...making Bullitt think instead of just getting all of his information by letting another criminal go free."<<

This is after the car chase.

Bullitt ends up talking to Eddy in order to get info on Ross at Enrico's. After getting the info he said he'll try to help a felon serving 3-to-5 for receiving stolen property.

Even without Chalmers, Bullitt is in hot water -- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ovyfd29a1ik/.

The only lead he had from his detective work was from the cab driver of Sunshine Cabs. Really not much to go on. So what if Renick called his wife? She could have still been alive when Bullitt went

Continued

reply

"I'm not trying to change your mind, but was trying to get how your rated the movie. I think you thought it was mediocre and may not have compared it to other top movies of the 60s."

- As I've said two or three times, I don't rate movies on a numerical scale. And no, I don't think this one is mediocre.

"After getting the info he said he'll try to help a felon serving 3-to-5 for receiving stolen property."

- There's nothing there about letting Zash-zhoe go free. He's already been convicted and is serving his sentence, and all Bullitt says is, "I'll try." Try what? We don't know. But a police lieutenant can't simply get someone serving a sentence out of prison. Maybe he'll put in a good word with the warden or a parole board; maybe look at the evidence and assist with an appeal. We can only imagine within the bounds of credibility.

The key piece of information Bullitt got from Eddy was that Ross had stolen $2 million from the mob. Now he knows that the hit wasn't simply to stop him from testifying.

reply

>>- As I've said two or three times, I don't rate movies on a numerical scale. And no, I don't think this one is mediocre.<<

Yes, I heard you the first time, but there are other ways to rate movies and that is to compare them. I don't think you have done that. I even compared Bullitt to The French Connection,albeit it was not 60s movies, but one with another car chase. Also, compared it to 60s movies and thought it was close to Easy Rider, but Easy Rider was better. That said, if you thought that this move was not mediocre, then I didn't think you rated this movie that high either despite accepting the plot device. Maybe you rated it above Easy Rider and From Russia With Love. Otherwise, you would have given more reasons why this movie is very good.

>>- There's nothing there about letting Zash-zhoe go free. He's already been convicted and is serving his sentence, and all Bullitt says is, "I'll try." Try what? We don't know. But a police lieutenant can't simply get someone serving a sentence out of prison. Maybe he'll put in a good word with the warden or a parole board; maybe look at the evidence and assist with an appeal. We can only imagine within the bounds of credibility.

The key piece of information Bullitt got from Eddy was that Ross had stolen $2 million from the mob. Now he knows that the hit wasn't simply to stop him from testifying.<<

Your thinking is just nit pick because Bullitt doesn't have to do much detective work. THAT'S THE WHOLE POINT!!! Bullitt's just another tool for the plot device in order to build up the protagonist.

reply

Yet, lo and behold, the real Ross just killed Mrs. Renick and is shown leaving and we see him look like Renick. How much of a case does one have to give on a silver platter to a sort of a simpleton of a cop? Look, we have this detective story that is a bit complex and one has to follow it along, but the cop is given everything. He and his fellow detective don't even wear gloves while examing the evidence and then Bullitt asks for fingerprints. It's stupid. I just LOL'd.

reply

I'm not sure what your point is here, or what you mean by a case "on a silver platter" and "the cop is given everything."

Bullitt didn't see Ross walking away from Mrs. Renick's room. Only we, the audience, see that.

And through simple shoe-leather investigative work, he's tracked down the cab driver, which leads to the phone call to San Mateo, which leads him to Mrs. Renick, and that uncovers the impersonation. And from that, he and Delgetti trace Ross to the airport.

"...don't even wear gloves while examing the evidence and then Bullitt asks for fingerprints. It's stupid."

- Bullitt says, "Fingerprints on this stuff." He's he's telling Tony, the evidence room clerk, that his and Delgetti's fingerprints are on the items they've dropped into envelopes; believe it or not, wearing latex gloves was not standard procedure for police a half-century ago (a lot of other things things have changed since then, like no longer being able to board a commercial jetliner carrying a gun).

A moment later, he tells Delgetti, "I'll get a fingerprint check on Ross," and we then see this happening at the morgue. Those prints, along with the passport application, confirm the dead man's identity as Renick's.

reply

>>I'm not sure what your point is here, or what you mean by a case "on a silver platter" and "the cop is given everything."

Bullitt didn't see Ross walking away from Mrs. Renick's room. Only we, the audience, see that.<<

You're not accepting my point of what Baker said that he was just calling his girl friend. How is what Bullitt has a hot lead when Bullitt is already in trouble for doing something stupid? Now, he looks guilty of hiding not doing his job. All Chalmers did at this point was hand the Captain Bennet the habeas corpus. Certainly, he's entitled to know what happened to his witness.

Mrs. Renick could have just stepped out of her room and gone somewhere. She may still be alive b/c Ross was still trying to make sure Renick was dead. He may have heard the hit men were dead. The whole point is Bullitt was lucky that Ross killed Mrs. Renick before he went to the hotel.

If you thought this was a good movie, then I would criticize you for not noticing Bullitt doesn't do much in his investigation. Prior to this, he was lucky for find the Sunshine Cabs taxi driver so fast. It's simply more of the plot device while Chalmers can't do anything like use other SFPD to search for the hospital report and the black doctor and his doctor.

>>- Bullitt says, "Fingerprints on this stuff." He's he's telling Tony, the evidence room clerk, that his and Delgetti's fingerprints are on the items they've dropped into envelopes; believe it or not, wearing latex gloves was not standard procedure for police a half-century ago (a lot of other things things have changed since then, like no longer being able to board a commercial jetliner carrying a gun).<<

This is plain wrong.

Continued

reply

>>A moment later, he tells Delgetti, "I'll get a fingerprint check on Ross," and we then see this happening at the morgue. Those prints, along with the passport application, confirm the dead man's identity as Renick's.<<

All Bullitt is doing is getting a finger print check on Renick. He doesn't even know about the real Ross. Since Bullitt's and his detective's fingerprints are all over the evidence, he can't tie the real Ross to the murder of Mrs. Renick. Some detective. A real piece of work lol.

I'm not going to argue against what movie you saw, but I will argue if you think all of the above and more make for a good detective movie. The movie was lucky to get a 7.4 on IMDB and make money. That was on the car chase, the cool detective with a hot Mustang, and a hotter girl friend. Pretty much the action scenes. The rest of the movie was murky and didn't make much sense.

reply

This is probably my final post. I think all of the above shows that we do not need Chalmers in this movie. It's a wasted performance by Robert Vaughn. He's just a shill. Bullitt pretty much "solves" the case through his connection and getting lucky on finding the taxi cab driver and finding Mrs. Renick dead in her motel. She could have been killed elsewhere and body disposed. Anyway, I'll admit the movie was good for the chase scene and the parts mentioned above. The rest of the murky story brings the movie down.

reply

It appears you're looking for problems where there aren't any. I hardly know where to begin, since I'm afraid I just don't understand your thinking. But I'll try.

I'm starting a new thread in which to reply simply for more room than these narrow little boxes allow.

reply

Nope. I just didn't think the movie was that great except for the car chase, etc. How about if you pick another topic than was Chalmers necessary as he seemed more necessary for your movie than mine. I mean I can't complain that he was the antagonist and that's how the plot device went. That's a decision the makers of this movie had every right to. However, I think it leaves them open for criticisms. I like to think of my complaints as criticisms and not problems with the movie.

reply

When it comes to movies, we're all critics, and valid criticisms are fine. When they're based on misinterpretations, like that involving Bullitt and Delgetti not wearing gloves for instance, I only try to point out details in the film that clear them up (that's in the new thread).

You wrote in a post yesterday, "Otherwise, you would have given more reasons why this movie is very good." It's never been my mission to convince anyone that the film's better than they think it is; only to cite details in the film that clarify plot points upon which criticisms are based.

reply

This discussion has uncovered something really interesting in my mind, and that Walter Chalmers could be based on Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. If it is, then the writers of this movie really did an injustice to him.

It occurs to me that you thought Chalmers fits some political figure from today? Was it Barack Obama? He was an attorney. I suppose he could be someone with "juice" the movie mentioned, but he wasn't rich then. Basically, this movie wouldn't be relevant today as you argued Obama would not be arguing any criminal cases in front of the Senate. I said the movie was horribly dated with cool anti-hero cop vs. "establishment." The other figure I thought was Donald Trump, but I don't think he was an attorney. He's rich though. However, RFK fits the bill for thr time 1960s. He would be from a wealthy family. Check. He would have "juice" as US Attorney General (that's even higher than US attorney which I thought). Check. He was going after organized crime since being an attorney in 1950 and 1951 at the Kefauver hearings. He was the main main as US Attorney General in 1963 at the Senate hearings. Check. Bobby Kennedy became an US Senator from New York (where Mute Witness) takes place. Check. There was no Bullit 2 (sarcasm). Check.

One has to argue facts, reasoning, and historical truth and while you certainly did for the first two, but based on our discovery of the career of Robert F. Kennedy, one has to used historical truths of the time, as well.

ETA: That said, nobody, but nobody would argue Chalmers as RFK even after the movie. RIP RFK and JFK. Chalmers was too dumb and such a two-dimensional stereotype to be considered. Maybe he fits Obama? Anyway, you can have the last word (unless it's too outrageous ;)).

reply

"The other figure I thought was Donald Trump"

- That's the one. As a personality, Chalmers is arrogant, ambitious and more interested in his public image and personal benefit than anything else, gets in over his head and then tries to blame others for his mistakes in order to distract from them and make himself look better. All these fit Trump long before he held public office, and have only magnified since attaining it.

I wouldn't have volunteered it, but you asked, so I answered.

The comparison to RFK (or any of the others I mentioned) as Senate Counsel is only to illustrate Chalmers not as a person, but to clarify his function in the story, and eliminate any confusion that he might be a Senator, AG, DA, U.S. Attorney or any other kind of public official.

"That said, nobody, but nobody would argue Chalmers as RFK even after the movie."

- Agreed.

"Chalmers was too dumb and such a two-dimensional stereotype to be considered."

- As I said in another reply, most politicians are not terribly bright, and it's more true today than it was 50 years ago. In that sense, the film's not dated at all. The conflict between justice and politics has also never been more relevant. It's the been the basis for the biggest news story of the past 48 hours.

I don't see any parallels to Obama. For a bright and well-informed guy, he made a big, dumb mistake in believing he could get an opposition party to work with him after they openly stated from day one they were out to sabotage him. In this way, he was a wuss. They were out for blood while he was trying to be Mr. Nice Guy.

Is that "too outrageous?"

Anyway, it's been fun for me, examining the nuts and bolts of this film. I hope it has for you.

reply

>>- Not really. Bulllitt moved a corpse (and put it in the city morgue), so there was no longer any "witness" at that point. If he'd been alive, that wouldn't be a crime either, as he would still have been in police protective custody, as Capt. Bennett told Chalmers when they both thought he was still alive: "If he's moving Ross around, it's for a reason."<<

Depends on what job Chalmers has and whether he has jurisdiction over the witness, but once he gets the hospital report, then it's all over for Bullitt. However, the report is forgotten since Chalmers has only the SFPD brass and he's already tried that with Norman Fell flashing his badge. When did Chalmers realize Renick was dead? See, he ends up just being a stooge, so Bullitt can say his funny line.

reply

"Depends on what job Chalmers has and whether he has jurisdiction over the witness"

- Already explained: Chalmers is merely bringing a witness before a Senate hearing on organized crime. "Jurisdiction" doesn't enter into it; it's not a criminal or judicial proceeding. The police are brought in only to guard the witness over the weekend until the hearing, and these are things the film tells us clearly:

CHALMERS: "As you know, there's a Senate subcommittee hearing here on Monday, and I have a witness who needs protection. Capt. Bennett said that you were the man for the job."

Simple. No need to complicate it.

"When did Chalmers realize Renick was dead?"

- We know it's sometime after Baker and Bennett did, when Bullitt told them so in Bennett's office. By the time Chalmers arrives to see Renick's passport application come through on the TeleCopier, he's been informed. What the specific timing is within that frame doesn't matter at all, but we can presume that he was the first one Baker went to after storming out of Bennett's office.

"See, he ends up just being a stooge"

- Exactly, and there you have the crux of this instance of the protagonist/antagonist form: the pompous, arrogant and ambitious political aspirant is exposed by the cool, young nonconformist cop as the patsy he's been played for.

reply

Nah. I already said I didn't like the plot device as it doesn't make any sense. You seem to have bought it hook, line, and sinker. "Cool, young nonconformist cop" Bullitt outwits a powerful "establishment" type who is "pompous, arrogant, and ambitious political aspirant" Chalmers whose only interest is to get publicity to help him get higher office and is dumb af.

reply

"I already said I didn't like the plot device as it doesn't make any sense."

- Sure it does. I didn't say Bullitt "outwits" Chalmers; I said he exposes him as the patsy he is. That's merely a byproduct of simply doing his job of investigating the killing of the witness, while Chalmers is busy worrying about his public image and political future, and trying to blame others for his mistakes, like not vetting that witness (as I said way back in an earlier reply).

I gather you don't follow political news very much. This sort of thing happens all the time, and is quite realistic. Most politicians, even successful ones, are really not bright people; just ambitious, power-hungry and, sometimes, cunning. But fully half of them are blithering idiots who achieve success only by aligning themselves with others who have wealth and the influence that goes with it, and crafting a public image that will fool voters into electing them. I appreciate that it can be hard to swallow as fiction, because it's often almost impossible to believe even when you see it happening for real in front of your eyes.

There were very good examples on display yesterday during that hearing I mentioned in the House Of Representatives, when a committee of supposedly capable and experienced legislators were made fools of by a crook who will face no charges because high-placed cronies in the executive branch, including the DOJ, provide cover for him.

reply

>>- Sure it does. I didn't say Bullitt "outwits" Chalmers; I said he exposes him as the patsy he is. That's merely a byproduct of simply doing his job of investigating the killing of the witness, while Chalmers is busy worrying about his public image and political future, and trying to blame others for his mistakes, like not vetting that witness (as I said way back in an earlier reply).<<

Chalmers is written as a stooge is what makes the movie's story less compelling, and what he does when he is a DA (per the book) nonsensical. He would've vetted Ross, but didn't. He's ends up being fodder, so Bullitt can say, "You sent us to guard the wrong man, Mr. Chalmers." Chalmers should've been all over Bullitt because his witness got shot and then Bullitt ends up moving him. What could be a good reason for moving a witness who has been shot and is in danger of dying? Renick was in such a condition that he could not give a statement. If he was, then Chalmers would know he wasn't Ross. Chalmers doesn't even look for the hospital report. He should have Norman Fell and the SFPD turning the hospital upside down for the report.


reply

"What could be a good reason for moving a witness who has been shot and is in danger of dying?"

- Bullitt didn't move Renick until after he died.

"Chalmers doesn't even look for the hospital report. He should have Norman Fell and the SFPD turning the hospital upside down for the report."

- I'm not trying to win an argument here, or indulging one for its own sake; merely to keep the record straight about what's in the film.

Chalmers asks for the medical chart when he discovers his witness is no longer in the ICU, and wants to know what happened to him. Moments later, after Bullitt admits, "I've got him," and refuses to tell him any more, the chart is no longer a priority, and he goes straight to a judge for a writ of habeas corpus. All he wants at that moment is his witness, and neither he nor Bennett nor Baker ever suspect that he might already be dead.

But don't forget that Chalmers also tells Baker, "I want a complete list of the staff who might've been involved in helping Bullitt spirit Johnny Ross out of here." He realizes the chart was deliberately "misplaced" and Baker will have to question the night staff, so he still has that iron in the fire and is covering every base he can. But he can go only so far, as he also surmises that Bullitt hasn't done anything criminal. With the witness under police protective custody, Bullitt would have authority to relocate him as part of that assignment (as Bennett later says to Chalmers). And Bullitt doesn't reveal his location (and his death) until directly ordered by Bennett - who gave him that authority - to do so.

reply

>>- Bullitt didn't move Renick until after he died.<<

I know, but you said the Captain told Chalmers if Bullitt is moving the witness, then there must be good reason for it.

>>- I'm not trying to win an argument here, or indulging one for its own sake; merely to keep the record straight about what's in the film.<<

You said that already, but I can't tell how you rank Bullitt as part of 60s movies. I criticize, but you saw the movie differently. You are entitled to your opinion. While I liked the chase scenes and action scenes, it did not have enough to make it more than an average movie. I'm surprised The French Conneciton is not rated in the 8s, but it did have a car chase scene to imitate Bullitt and try to outdo it.

>>Chalmers asks for the medical chart when he discovers his witness is no longer in the ICU, and wants to know what happened to him. Moments later, after Bullitt admits, "I've got him," and refuses to tell him any more, the chart is no longer a priority, and he goes straight to a judge for a writ of habeas corpus. All he wants at that moment is his witness, and neither he nor Bennett nor Baker ever suspect that he might already be dead.<<

No, no, no. Chalmers would've put the big heat on Bullitt as prior to it the doctors told him he could not talk with the witness. Chalmers is out to get Bullitt as you said for not protecting the witness. Chalmers would have had the SFPD, since he doesn't have any state or federal men, to scour high and low for the chart and ask questions of the doctor. You can't have it both ways with Chalmers out to blame Bullitt and not looking for the evidence to use against him.

Continued


reply

"You can't have it both ways with Chalmers out to blame Bullitt and not looking for the evidence to use against him."

- It's not having it both ways. He already has "evidence:" long before he can instigate any official disciplinary proceedings against Bullitt, Chalmers has his admissions of having moved the witness (which he gets only minutes after discovering he's gone), and of him dying in Bullitt's custody. By that point, the medical chart is nothing more than documentation of what Bullitt's already admitted to, and of little to no importance. After that, there's no reason for Bullitt, Dr. Willard or anyone else to keep it hidden.

Chalmers might possibly still go after Bullitt with some sort of disciplinary hearing, but you're placing way too much importance on the medical chart. All it would reveal is when the patient died and was moved to the morgue, and by that afternoon, everyone involved already knows that.

It's also equally likely that Chalmers would let the entire matter drop, inasmuch as such a hearing would reveal him as having been duped by Ross and badly mishandling the matter, which would do his political aspirations and public image no good at all.

It's helpful to keep in mind just how fast things happen in the film: Renick dies and Bullitt removes him from the hospital; Chalmers discovers he's gone, directs Baker to assemble a list of hospital staff, and gets a writ of habeas corpus, serving it on Bennett. All this happens on Sunday morning.

By the time Sunday afternoon is over, Bullitt's pursued the hitmen and they've been killed, Bennett has decided not to act on the writ until Monday, and Bullitt has discovered the Ross/Renick impersonation, revealing it to Chalmers.

That evening, Ross is traced to the airport, pursued and killed. And Chalmers has no witness.

All from the morning to the evening of one day, in fewer than 18 hours.

reply

>>>>But don't forget that Chalmers also tells Baker, "I want a complete list of the staff who might've been involved in helping Bullitt spirit Johnny Ross out of here." He realizes the chart was deliberately "misplaced" and Baker will have to question the night staff, so he still has that iron in the fire and is covering every base he can.<<

Whatever SFPD had to do to find the chart would not take that long. Chalmers should have the report and have SFPD talk with the doctor before Bullitt. Bullitt needs the weekend since he hid the witness at the morgue as John Doe, told the doctor he would take responsibility, so the doctor could talk if to prevent himself from getting in trouble. This is common sense. Thus, he should have been talking to the Captain about punishing Bullitt and he has the evidence to put the blame on Bullitt. Yet, Bullitt gets time to find out Chalmers had them guard the wrong man. Bullitt should not have not moved Renick because it would just get him into trouble and jeopardize his case against finding who killed Renick and why? Like I said a few times already, the movie doesn't make any sense.

reply

>>- I don't see Chalmers having any such authority. When Bullitt refused to reveal where the witness was, for instance, Chalmers had to get a writ of habeas corpus and serve it on Bennett (who resolves to sit on it until Monday).<<

He is a Federal assistant DA or DA (which I surmised already) who are appointed, or if we go by the Mute Witness book, he's a state DA. He could be one of the Federal DAs based on the movie if it states he wasn't elected.

The writ means Bullitt could be arrested for not producing Ross or his body. This is his Chalmers intent now since their discussion at the hospital. It means he hasn't gotten the hospital report, either.

>>This brings up hole #3: Whenever Chalmers has wanted to wield authority, he's needed Capt. Baker or a court order to make it official. But Baker's missing from the scene, for no apparent plot reason. So again, it's back to the dramatic one. If Baker were there, he could order Bullitt to hand Ross over to him and Chalmers, but that would interfere with the dramatic arc already stated above.<<

I agree it's a plot hole. Chalmers should have the power to wield authority since he has jurisdiction. The flashing of the badge is part of the literary device. He should have his own people do that, either FBI, or if he's a state DA like in the book, state troopers. California has state police.

reply

"He is a Federal assistant DA or DA (which I surmised already) who are appointed, or if we go by the Mute Witness book, he's a state DA. He could be one of the Federal DAs based on the movie if it states he wasn't elected."

- In San Francisco, as in other California cities (Los Angeles and San Diego among them), DAs are elected, so that's not what Chalmers is. As I've said, it's possible Chalmers is a U.S. attorney. A California state attorney is another possibility, but I continue to doubt both because, as the film depicts, he doesn't seem to have any authority of his own. Only influence ("juice").

In the book, he's indeed a DA but, as we've also discussed, the film made many changes, so the book's not much of a guide.

reply

>>- In San Francisco, as in other California cities (Los Angeles and San Diego among them), DAs are elected, so that's not what Chalmers is. As I've said, it's possible Chalmers is a U.S. attorney. A California state attorney is another possibility, but I continue to doubt both because, as the film depicts, he doesn't seem to have any authority of his own. Only influence ("juice").<<

That's what Chalmers is. It does not fit that Ross' case would be given to regular attorney. As I already stated several times, the movie does not make sense. It lacks common sense because of the plot device being used.

reply

"It does not fit that Ross' case would be given to regular attorney. As I already stated several times, the movie does not make sense."

- There was no "case" being "given" to Chalmers. All he was doing was calling a witness who had offered testimony to a Senate subcommittee hearing on organized crime, and arranging for his police protection. That's what the film explicitly states. With that understanding, it makes perfect sense.

I've previously remarked on the not-uncommon practice of private attorneys functioning as special counsel to Senate committees, and this fits with the information the film supplies about Chalmers, whereas I know of no such instance of any U.S. Attorney - or any other active DOJ appointee - serving on such a committee (which is a function of the legislative branch, not the executive or judicial ones).

reply

>>- There was no "case" being "given" to Chalmers. All he was doing was calling a witness who had offered testimony to a Senate subcommittee hearing on organized crime, and arranging for his police protection. That's what the film explicitly states. With that understanding, it makes perfect sense.

I've previously remarked on the not-uncommon practice of private attorneys functioning as special counsel to Senate committees, and this fits with the information the film supplies about Chalmers, whereas I know of no such instance of any U.S. Attorney - or any other active DOJ appointee - serving on such a committee (which is a function of the legislative branch, not the executive or judicial ones).<<

We've already hashed this to death. I'm willing to agree to disagree. What rating did you give the movie on IMDB? BTW, I had to check to see how much money it made. It did poorly at the box office. Maybe it did better on DVD/Blu-ray?

reply

"We've already hashed this to death."

- You're right about that. As much as I enjoy the film and discussing it, I'm all for not covering the same ground over and over.

"What rating did you give the movie on IMDB?"

- Speaking of covering the same ground, I've already answered that, down at the bottom of the thread: I don't "rate" films in that way.

"It did poorly at the box office."

- I don't know where you got that. At $42 million domestic, it was one of the highest grossing films of 1968.

reply

>>- Speaking of covering the same ground, I've already answered that, down at the bottom of the thread: I don't "rate" films in that way.<<

The movie's not rated very high on IMDB at 7.4. It could've done better, but for the murky story.

>>"It did poorly at the box office."<<

From IMDB
Box Office
Budget:$5,500,000 (estimated)
Opening Weekend USA: $408,627, 7 October 2018
Gross USA: $511,350
Cumulative Worldwide Gross: $511,350

reply

"Opening Weekend USA: $408,627, 7 October 2018
Gross USA: $511,350"

- Please note the date in the info you furnished: October 2018. Those are the numbers for its two-day 50th anniversary engagement.

The 1968-69 gross was $42.3 million:

https://www.the-numbers.com/movie/Bullitt#tab=box-office



reply

Oh okay. IMDB had it wrong. Still, I compared Bullitt to The French Connection for the car chase scenes and that was rated a bit higher, won 5 Oscars including Best Picture, and made more money. Too bad it was part of the 70s. I kinda compared Bullitt to Easy Rider for 60s nostalgia, but thought Easy Rider was better (7.3 vs 7.4 on IMDB tho for Bullitt). Bullitt could've been better without its murky story and weak Chalmers. I think it explains why there was no Bullitt 2 while there was a TFC II. Bullitt did not make the top 25 movies list for the 60s.

reply

>>- In San Francisco, as in other California cities (Los Angeles and San Diego among them), DAs are elected, so that's not what Chalmers is. As I've said, it's possible Chalmers is a U.S. attorney. A California state attorney is another possibility, but I continue to doubt both because, as the film depicts, he doesn't seem to have any authority of his own. Only influence ("juice").

In the book, he's indeed a DA but, as we've also discussed, the film made many changes, so the book's not much of a guide.<<

We're just re-hashing more of the differences we saw in the movie. What rating did you give it? I gave it a 7 for being different and more than just another action flick, i.e. one has to figure out what is going on in the story, the cool detective, the gun play against Renick and Bullitt, the chase scenes, and the action with the hit men and the real Ross at the airport. It also was in picturesque San Francisco with its steep hills. What brought it down was the plot device and Ross being killed in the final scene. This movie had enough to be a two-parter, but it settled for Chalmers having egg on his face and the anti-hero keeping his girl. It was an unsatisfactory ending when the movie had much more going for it.

reply

>>When Chalmers quickly makes clear he has no such intentions, Bullitt knows exactly where he stands, and tells Chalmers so: "You work your side of the street, and I'll work mine."

That's the plot purpose of the scene as I see it, and you've amply described its purpose in the dramatic arc: "This is part of the literary device to build up the antagonism and lead into their split. Without having to spell it out, we, as the audience can see the tension rise between the two men in that scene."<<

I agree it is to build up the antagonism, but I, as Chalmers, would also have to consider what Bullitt said in that it didn't come from his people. Chalmers knows the deal with Ross. How else could the hit men know where he was and even use his name to get in? Thus, the literary device starts off on shaky grounds and this is practically ignored by Chalmers and that is okay? It's stupid. Common sense dictates Chalmers address what Bullitt said, but instead just blames Bullitt, i.e. he becomes a two-dimensional, stereotypical a-hole without any brains.

reply

Okay.

I see more in it than simply "a two-dimensional, stereotypical a-hole without any brains." It establishes that Chalmers is interested only in his political career and public image, and will scapegoat others in furtherance of them. It rings true for me because it's something seen more and more every year in the nation's real-life politics.

But if something doesn't work for a particular viewer, then it doesn't.

reply

>>Okay.

I see more in it than simply "a two-dimensional, stereotypical a-hole without any brains." It establishes that Chalmers is interested only in his political career and public image, and will scapegoat others in furtherance of them. It rings true for me because it's something seen more and more every year in the nation's real-life politics.

But if something doesn't work for a particular viewer, then it doesn't.<<

The plot device does not work for the majority of viewers. It's rated 7.4 and I rated it a 7. What did you rate it as? It had the potential to be great.

This movie is boring to today's audience who do not understand a complex crime mystery where they have to figure things out for themselves. Most of the move is trying to figure out what you are seeing and happening.

Next, the device is there only to meet the trope of the 60s. Else this movie and Steve McQueen would be better remembered and could have been expanded to at least two movies. First, we end up finding what Renick did through Bullitt. Later, we find the stuff Ross did. The stuff that Chalmers does is not as easily explained. He's just an antagonist to Bullitt solving the murder case. Thus, my topic for this movie. Even the mob is smarter than Chalmers. Chalmers is just a two-dimensional "attorney" as you claim who just wants to get publicity and thus ends up walking away from the case since his witness was killed. He's also hypocritical at the end with his bumper sticker. Stupid movie, but I guess it worked for 60s movie fans if they worked it out like you have.

reply

"The plot device does not work for the majority of viewers. It's rated 7.4 and I rated it a 7. What did you rate it as?"

- I wouldn't say by any stretch that a rating of 7.4 out of 10 suggests any part of the film doesn't work for a "majority" of viewers. Me? I don't "rate" films in that way, preferring to evaluate each on its own merits instead of comparing them to others by ranking them on a numeric scale.

"Next, the device is there only to meet the trope of the 60s."

- You can disregard them if you like, but I earlier cited a number of examples of "the device" as a much-used dramatic tool for decades before and after the '60s.

"He's also hypocritical at the end with his bumper sticker."

- Yup, that was the point of the sticker: Chalmers is all about public image, presenting a face to the public that differs from the one he shows behind the scenes.

"I guess it worked for 60s movie fans if they worked it out like you have."

- Films and audiences were indeed different in the late-'60s - early '70s. They didn't need to spell everything out for viewers, nor had the business become infected with the sequel-itis disease soon to come, requiring one or more follow-ups to every hit.

reply