I love the cop drama movies from the early 1970s; especially those set in New York like The French Connection or The Seven-Ups. There’s just something that the way these movies were filmed: the cold, gray-steel skies, steam rising up from sewers, not to mention that it always seemed cold.
There’s more to this cinematic appeal of this films and others, such as Three Days of the Condor, Taxi Driver, and Rocky filmed in New York, Chicago and Philadelphia and why I have come to grow fonder of them over the years. I think a lot has to do with going to Chicago for the first time in 1972 on a school trip to see musicals such as Godspell and Grease. Not only was it the first times for me to go to the city, but also the first time to do something without parental supervision.
Before we went to the musical, we would have some time to explore the city. It all seemed so foreign and overwhelming to me. I suppose that is why when I have watched these films I am reminded of those early journeys to the city and wandering around The Loop.
On the other hand, there’s also something to be said about the American cinema of the early 70s when many of the films seemed to have gotten grittier, honest and less Hollywood (sanitized). And in many ways, it was still a time when Hollywood was more concerned about the product than the box office–something which would change in the summer of 1975 with Jaws and two years later when Star Wars changed everything.
I’m watching the Seven-Ups today and the film still holds up well. The acting is good, the story is fine, but what still impresses me is how gritty, realistic, and honest the film is.