Blu-Ray News #138: Freebie And The Bean (1974).

Directed by Richard Rush
Starring Alan Arkin, James Caan, Loretta Swit, Jack Kruschen, Mike Kellin, Paul Koslo, Linda Marsh, Alex Rocco, Valerie Harper

Warner Archive has announced Freebie And The Bean (1974) for an upcoming Blu-Ray release. Some will probably ask why.

This highly un-PC movie, which switches from violent action flick to comedy almost frame by frame, divides film fans more than about movie I can think of (those that even remember it). Many hate it for the reasons I just listed. Me, I love it — partly for those same things.

But there’s more to it than that. It’s a master class in vehicular stunts — they tear up a lot of cars in this thing, and it always looks like actual pedestrians are in real peril. It’s got both Alex Rocco and Paul Koslo in it. Alan Arkin is as good as ever, and James Caan was on a real roll at this time — The Godfather (1972), Slither (1973, a personal favorite), The Gambler (1974), The Godfather: Part II (1974) and Rollerball (1975).

Laszlo Kovacs (behind camera) shooting Arkin and Caan on a construction crane.

What’s more, the Blu-Ray will give us a chance to really appreciate Laszlo Kovacs’ Panavision San Francisco photography, which takes us to places you don’t see in more scenic SF films like Vertigo (1958), Bullitt (1968) and What’s Up, Doc? (1972). It’s a great-looking, gritty movie. And, in my opinion, it’s a thousand times better than the cop/buddy movies that came later, like those Lethal Weapon things. I can’t wait to see it in high definition.


Filed under 1974, Alan Arkin, DVD/Blu-ray News, James Caan, Laszlo Kovacs, Richard Rush, Warner Archive

3 responses to “Blu-Ray News #138: Freebie And The Bean (1974).

  1. john k

    You know,I don’t remember too much about this one except for an amazing scene where a car leaves the freeway and smashes into someone’s roof.
    The S.F. locations in widescreen and high-def are certainly a big draw.

    These video companies are doing their best to ensure that I die a
    pauper. Another S.F. thriller has just been announced by Shout Factory
    EYE OF THE CAT (1969) I have not seen for 47 years but I remember
    it as being very good especially the S.F. location work.

    Loads of great 60’s and 70’s Universal flicks appearing all over the place
    on Blu Ray but when,oh when, are we finally going to get Siegel’s
    MADIGAN on Blu Ray.


  2. Richard Oravitz

    Same here john k…saw this in the theater when it first came out. I remember liking it, but I was a fan of all those cop films released on the heels of DIRTY HARRY. The one thing that also stands out for me was the car Freebie & the Bean were in flying off the freeway and smashing through a roof/building of some old couple in bed. I may be wrong after 40 yrs. or so, but I think that’s what happened. I also remember Paul Koslo being pretty creepy in this one…This would be a good movie to revisit.


    • You’re right, that’s how the scene plays out. Alex Rocco is hysterical in his one scene and Koslo’s great, too. It’s a really odd mix of violent cop picture, gear-head chase movie and goofy 70s comedy — a combination that bothers some but really appeals to me.

      Plus, it’s so incredibly politically incorrect that a gorgeous Blu-Ray release seems like a spit in the eye to certain folks at a particularly sensitive time. Perfect!


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