Finnegan On Films: Four Classics To Have You On The Edge Of Your Seat

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As filming on productions close all over the world, our movie guy, James Finnegan, revisits some of the classic thrillers with four different permutations and perspectives on that staple premise…The Chase… 

First comes the film that reset the template for the summer blockbuster – Jaws (1975).

Starring Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw and Richard Dreyfus, it was also one of the first collaborations between director Stephen Spielberg and composer John Williams who gave us an unforgettable score that almost becomes another character in the story.

A seaside resort is being terrorised by a great white shark. The Police Chief orders the beaches closed, but the Mayor doesn’t believe there is a problem (think of a neighbouring President and Prime Minister) and wants to keep them open.

The Police Chief (Scheider) is then forced to face his fears by taking to the sea with a marine biologist (Dreyfus) and a professional shark hunter (Shaw) to hunt the shark.

Continued below…


Two films from 1991 now. First, is Thelma and Louise. Two friends, played by Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon, are on a weekend away in the mountains.

Stopping on the way in a roadside bar, Thelma dances with another customer whose attentions become unwelcome and violent. Louise threatens the assailant with a gun, who backs off. Unfortunately, he continues with his threats to which Louise responds by shooting and killing him.

The women go on the run rather than go to the Police because of a previous experience by Louise. En route, they pick up a young Drifter (Brad Pitt in an early role).

Naturally, this does not end well, and so the women are on a downward spiralling sequence of events climaxing at the edge of the Grand Canyon.

One of only three films to win the Best Picture, Director (Jonathan Demme), Actor (Anthony Hopkins), Actress (Jodie Foster) and Screenplay (Ted Tally) Oscars in one year, Silence of the Lambs (1991) is regularly cited as one of the most influential films of all time.

Young FBI trainee Clarice Starling (Foster) seeks the assistance of imprisoned Hannibal Lecter (Hopkins), a psychiatrist and serial killer with unique dietary tastes, in catching another serial killer, nicknamed Buffalo Bill.

Based on the Thomas Harris bestseller, be warned that this is not for the squeamish.

Last, but not least, is The Fugitive (1993). Based on the 1960’s television series, Dr Richard Kimble (Harrison Ford) is wrongly convicted for the murder of his wife and faces the death penalty.

He manages to escape (in a wonderful set piece sequence). He sets out to clear his name, while been chased by a determined US Marshal (Tommy Lee Jones in Oscar winning form).

Ford has rarely been better in one of his ‘everyman’ roles and this is a classy edge-of-the-seat thriller with a fine supporting cast.  That’s all for now. Enjoy and stay safe!

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