Frisco Beat: Mustang Sarah

Nothing else came up, so as far as I know I sat around and watched each and every episode of Alcatraz through the season finale — and my opinion stayed the same the entire run. If it comes back in a few months, I might watch some more, if it had gone belly-up a few weeks ago, hey, another one bites the dust.

But other than becoming another footnote to the legend that is Alcatraz, I guess this show might get some rub-off classic status just for the car chase filmed in homage to Bullitt in the closer, and sponsored by Ford. Yeah, it’s like a commercial, but we all know that they usually pour more loot into a commercial than to anything else they film, and you can see the payoff here. They got enough funding to return to the actual streets of San Francisco for most of the chase. They’re showing off the cars and what they can do when you punch it, baby.

Mustang vs. Charger.

I Left My Hubcap in San Francisco.

A really nice chase sequence. If you want to watch the action and a short doc about filming it, hop over to the Legends of Alcatraz page fast, in case the show gets cancelled and the footage goes away.

I am kind of amazed that in the clips they have up no one mentions that the chase is in tribute to Bullitt, though it’s not like they were keeping it secret. Choice homage, from the buckling of the seat belt in the intersection of Chestnut and Columbus and ripping up the hill, to using Taylor Street again for the big jumps, to plowing around the tight corner of Francisco at Larkin where the Charger loses a hubcab in Bullitt and Steve McQueen wipes out and takes a camera with him. Note for note, letter-perfect for as much of the chase as they did.

And if you’re looking for deeper meaning, a nice counterpoint to the convicts from 1963 reappearing in modern day Frisco — a 60s Mustang fastforwarded to a new Mustang.

And, of course, my favorite bit: the VW Bug that appears a couple of times, first when they’re roaring north on Leavenworth at Francisco and then again in the Taylor Street jumps. Very nice bit. Shot twice, on different streets, whereas in the original the Bug pops up a couple of times courtesy of different cameras mounted in the cars and on the side streets, but doing the same thing (a flaw, but the first time you see the chase on the big screen you won’t notice — as I said, a very perceptive nod to the original, “correcting” that bit).

Anyway, make sure to watch the chase. A footnote to the original, but it burns rubber, too.

(By the way, I met a guy once who was talking about what a big fan of car chases he was — said his favorite San Francisco car chase was in The Rock. I like The Rock, but the car chase is too over the top, the cameras too close. Yeah, superficially exciting, but nothing compared to Bullitt.

(I asked him what he thought about Bullitt.

(He had never heard of Bullitt.

(Might as well have said he was illiterate.

(Bullitt. Mustang vs. Charger. San Francisco.)

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