French Connection II (1975)

R | 118 mins | Adventure, Drama | 19 May 1975

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HISTORY

The film opens with a card that reads: “Marseilles.”
       According to the 20 Dec 1972 Var, which referred to the film as The French Connection II, the producer and scriptwriter were Philip D’Antoni and James Poe, respectively, but neither man was credited in the final film. D’Antoni did produce The French Connection (1971, see entry), on which this sequel was based. Only one week before the production of The French Connection II was announced, New York Police Commissioner Patrick V. Murphy disclosed that eighty-one pounds of the nearly ninety-one pounds of heroin impounded in 1962, during the operation on which The French Connection was based, had been stolen. D’Antoni said the sequel would cost roughly $2.4 million, the same as the original, and would take twelve or thirteen weeks to shoot.
       Many years later, director John Frankenheimer said that all exterior scenes were shot in Marseilles, France, and the interiors of Sûreté headquarters, “Popeye Doyle’s” hotel, and Colonnades Hotel where Popeye was held captive, were filmed on sound stages in Paris, France. Frankenheimer added that Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp. executives cut eight minutes from the film after it opened, without his permission; one lost scene contained Popeye’s sexual relationship with a French volleyball player he met on the beach. However, Frankenheimer himself excised an originally-scripted “resolution” scene, which resulted in the film’s much-criticized abrupt ending, where the screen faded to black as Popeye shot villain “Alain Charnier.” Also, Spanish actor Fernando Rey, who portrayed Charnier, spoke imperfect French, so his French dialogue had to be dubbed. Frankenheimer said the Corsican Mafia assisted in two crucial scenes, including the ... More Less

The film opens with a card that reads: “Marseilles.”
       According to the 20 Dec 1972 Var, which referred to the film as The French Connection II, the producer and scriptwriter were Philip D’Antoni and James Poe, respectively, but neither man was credited in the final film. D’Antoni did produce The French Connection (1971, see entry), on which this sequel was based. Only one week before the production of The French Connection II was announced, New York Police Commissioner Patrick V. Murphy disclosed that eighty-one pounds of the nearly ninety-one pounds of heroin impounded in 1962, during the operation on which The French Connection was based, had been stolen. D’Antoni said the sequel would cost roughly $2.4 million, the same as the original, and would take twelve or thirteen weeks to shoot.
       Many years later, director John Frankenheimer said that all exterior scenes were shot in Marseilles, France, and the interiors of Sûreté headquarters, “Popeye Doyle’s” hotel, and Colonnades Hotel where Popeye was held captive, were filmed on sound stages in Paris, France. Frankenheimer added that Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp. executives cut eight minutes from the film after it opened, without his permission; one lost scene contained Popeye’s sexual relationship with a French volleyball player he met on the beach. However, Frankenheimer himself excised an originally-scripted “resolution” scene, which resulted in the film’s much-criticized abrupt ending, where the screen faded to black as Popeye shot villain “Alain Charnier.” Also, Spanish actor Fernando Rey, who portrayed Charnier, spoke imperfect French, so his French dialogue had to be dubbed. Frankenheimer said the Corsican Mafia assisted in two crucial scenes, including the construction of a functioning heroin lab in which the drug was liquefied and canned as bouillabaisse, a fish soup for which Marseilles is internationally known.
       Several sources, including Frankenheimer and the 14 May 1975 HR review, mentioned that New York Post columnist Pete Hamill wrote dialogue for a couple of Popeye’s scenes that explained the effects of his Irish-American upbringing on his personality. Hamill had previously written the screenplay for Badge 373 (1973, see entry), a film based on the exploits of New York Police Department detective Eddie “Popeye” Egan, the same man on whom Popeye Doyle was based.
       According to the 29 Jul 1974 DV, principal photography began that day in Marseilles. The 25 Oct 1974 HR reported that filming ended twelve days under schedule and cost $250,000 less than the estimated budget. Twentieth Century-Fox documents on file at AMPAS library listed the film’s completion date as 18 Oct 1974. The film premiered 21 May 1975 in Los Angeles, CA, and opened the following day. The 14 Aug 1975 LAHExam reported that the film was a hit in France. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
19 Aug 1974.
---
Box Office
26 May 1975
p. 4783.
Daily Variety
20 Dec 1972.
p. 1
Daily Variety
29 Jul 1974.
---
Daily Variety
14 May 1975
p. 3, 6.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Oct 1974
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
14 May 1975
p. 3, 15.
LAHExam
17 Nov 1972.
---
LAHExam
21 May 1975
Section B, p. 4.
LAHExam
14 Aug 1975.
---
LAHExam
14 May 1975.
---
LAHExam
17 May 1975.
---
Los Angeles Times
22 May 1975
Section IV, p. 1, 15.
New York Times
29 Oct 1972.
---
New York Times
19 May 1975
p. 24.
New York Times
6 Jul 1975
Section II, p. 19.
New Yorker
2 Jun 1975
pp. 72-73.
Newsweek
26 May 1975
p. 53.
The New Republic
14 Jun 1975
p. 20.
Time
2 Jun 1975
p. 53.
Variety
20 Dec 1972
p. 5.
Variety
14 May 1975
p. 26.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A John Frankenheimer Film
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
Unit prod mgr
2d unit dir
Asst dir
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Chief elec
Key grip
Stillman
Laboratory processing
ART DIRECTOR
Prod des
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Asst film ed
Asst film ed
Laboratory processing
SET DECORATORS
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus comp and cond
SOUND
Rec mixer
Rerec mixer
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Makeup/Hairdressing
Makeup/Hairdressing
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Scr supv
Pub dir
Pub secy
STAND INS
Stunt coord
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col by
DETAILS
Release Date:
19 May 1975
Premiere Information:
New York opening: week of 19 May 1975
Los Angeles opening: 22 May 1975
Production Date:
29 July -- 18 October 1974 in Marchseilles and Paris, France
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation
Copyright Date:
21 May 1975
Copyright Number:
LP45068
Physical Properties:
Sound
Westrex Recording System
Color
Lenses
Panaflex camera & lenses by Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
118
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
24179
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

New York City police detective James R. “Popeye” Doyle is sent to Marseilles, France, to work with the French Sûreté, ostensibly because he is the only policeman who recognizes Alain Charnier, also known as “Frog One,” and Marseilles’ “heroin kingpin,” who escaped from New York. Popeye meets his French counterpart, Inspector Henri Barthélémy, during an anti-drug operation on the waterfront. Barthélémy resents hosting Popeye, whose aggressive, go-at-it-alone tactics resulted in the deaths of two policemen. Furthermore, corruption within the New York Police Department resulted in the disappearance of the heroin Popeye took into custody. Popeye thinks the French police are incompetent and lazy, and he shows disregard for French culture and language at every turn. Meanwhile, on a Marseilles tour boat, Jacques, one of Charnier’s men, secretly pays a Japanese ship captain for smuggling heroin into the city. Elsewhere, Charnier shoots pheasants on his country estate with U.S. General William Brian. Later, Popeye accompanies Barthélémy’s men on a raid, and when he sees a dark man slipping away, he gives chase and tackles him in the Arab Quarter. Barthélémy’s policemen arrive, set the man free, and whisper to Popeye that he is an officer working undercover. However, local criminals cut the man’s throat as he walks away. Later, Charnier meets General Brian in a restaurant to discuss heroin shipments, and sees Popeye outside a window. That night, Charnier’s men overpower Popeye and take him to the rundown Hotel Colonnades, where the half-conscious Popeye sees the establishment’s former name, Hotel de Tanger, written in sidewalk tile. Charnier tells Popeye he will keep him drugged until he confesses what he knows. For the next three weeks, Charnier’s men inject Popeye with ... +


New York City police detective James R. “Popeye” Doyle is sent to Marseilles, France, to work with the French Sûreté, ostensibly because he is the only policeman who recognizes Alain Charnier, also known as “Frog One,” and Marseilles’ “heroin kingpin,” who escaped from New York. Popeye meets his French counterpart, Inspector Henri Barthélémy, during an anti-drug operation on the waterfront. Barthélémy resents hosting Popeye, whose aggressive, go-at-it-alone tactics resulted in the deaths of two policemen. Furthermore, corruption within the New York Police Department resulted in the disappearance of the heroin Popeye took into custody. Popeye thinks the French police are incompetent and lazy, and he shows disregard for French culture and language at every turn. Meanwhile, on a Marseilles tour boat, Jacques, one of Charnier’s men, secretly pays a Japanese ship captain for smuggling heroin into the city. Elsewhere, Charnier shoots pheasants on his country estate with U.S. General William Brian. Later, Popeye accompanies Barthélémy’s men on a raid, and when he sees a dark man slipping away, he gives chase and tackles him in the Arab Quarter. Barthélémy’s policemen arrive, set the man free, and whisper to Popeye that he is an officer working undercover. However, local criminals cut the man’s throat as he walks away. Later, Charnier meets General Brian in a restaurant to discuss heroin shipments, and sees Popeye outside a window. That night, Charnier’s men overpower Popeye and take him to the rundown Hotel Colonnades, where the half-conscious Popeye sees the establishment’s former name, Hotel de Tanger, written in sidewalk tile. Charnier tells Popeye he will keep him drugged until he confesses what he knows. For the next three weeks, Charnier’s men inject Popeye with heroin. At one point, an addicted elderly English woman steals his watch while she soothes him. Finally, Popeye confesses he was sent to Marseilles because nobody else knows what Charnier looks like. Satisfied, Charnier tells his henchmen to inject him with an overdose and dump him in front of Sûreté headquarters. A police medical team revives Popeye, and Barthélémy locks him in a basement jail cell for weeks to keep his drug habit secret. Popeye endures agonizing withdrawal, but loses his physical addiction. Later, when the policemen drive Popeye around the city to see if he recognizes anything from his captivity, he realizes he was sent to Marseilles as bait to bring Charnier into the open. He begins a regimen of exercise, working out in his hotel room and jogging through the city to regain his strength. When he finds the tiled “Hotel de Tanger” sidewalk, Popeye telephones Barthélémy and tells him to bring water. Then, he carries a can of gasoline into the hotel and sets it afire. The police arrive as the inhabitants flee the building, including one of Popeye’s captors. Popeye beats him until he reveals that Charnier has gone to collect a shipment of drugs from a ship from Rotterdam, Holland. Barthélémy, Popeye, and a contingent of policemen hurry to the waterfront, where several of Charnier’s men unload large amounts of heroin from a ship in dry dock. Spotting Barthélémy’s agents approaching from beneath the ship, the criminals open sluices to let water pour into the dry dock. Policemen arrive in time to save Barthélémy, Popeye, and others from drowning. That night, alone in his room, Popeye contemplates using two small bags of heroin he took from the criminal outside the Colonnades, but after a few moments, he dumps the powder on the floor. Later, Popeye reasons that Charnier and his men did not have time to pay off the Dutch captain because they had to flee the waterfront quickly. For a few days, police spy on the ship until the captain walks to a telephone booth and makes a call. Sûreté agents follow him closely and report to Barthélémy that he exchanged air flight bags with an unidentified stranger on a tour boat, but Popeye recognizes him as Jacques. Barthélémy radios Jacques’s description to all Sûreté agents, who follow him to a factory where heroin is being converted to a milky liquid and canned as bouillabaisse soup. Police raid the factory and Jacques is killed, but Charnier escapes and boards a bus. Popeye chases him on foot through the slow city traffic. Losing him briefly at a marina, Popeye instinctively follows a yacht as it moves along the edge of the busy port. When Charnier appears on the yacht’s deck, Popeye shoots him dead. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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