179 words about The Burglars
To drive men mad driving is a heroic thing
Stunt driver Rémy Julienne relates that the Greek government, then halfway into Papadopoulos’ fleeting Regime of the Colonels, gave The Burglars’ crew free rein over traffic lights and speed limits for filming but cautioned they “shouldn’t overdo it.” Imagine that: a military junta granting you permission for a car chase under real traffic conditions all over its increasingly oppressed people’s streets but hastening to add that you shouldn’t, y’know, overdo it. So, what did Julienne and director Henri Verneuil do to assuage the police’s Kafkaesque directive? They toned almost everything down: The cars driven by (effectively) Michel and Dr. Zhivago are pedestrian Fiat 124 and Opel Rekord sedans instead of anything gauchely fanciful; the streets are Piraeus’ dilapidated Monacan doppelgänger; the Orthodox Church is solemnly, formally incorporated; the message at scene’s end that freedom, like oil, can only empty into slick, meaningless nothingness suggests a concession to the ambiance. But it’s what they didn’t tone down with the constraints they were given — I mean the squealing, suspension-destroying, overdone delirium of the chase itself — that leaves you breathless.