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.