(There is no entry for ‘X’, but if you know someone, feel free to add it here)
‘Y’ has a few choices, but I will add just one selection today, to leave room for you to play along.
Peter Yates was an English film director who started out working on television shows. In 1963, he made ‘Summer Holiday’, a successful pop-music promotional musical starring Cliff Richard and the Shadows. Such films were all the rage then, with later ones featuring The Beatles, and The Monkees.
Four years later, and he showed a different side with the cracking British crime thriller ‘Robbery’. This starred Stanley Baker and Joanna Pettet, and was considered to be realistic and hard-hitting back then. That must have attracted attention across the Atlantic, as Yates went to America to direct the exciting cop drama ‘Bullitt’ the following year. This featured a now-legendary car chase sequence, as well as Steve McQueen as one of the coolest cops to ever grace the screen. ‘Murphy’s War’ (1971) saw Yates directing Peter O’Toole in a big-budget WW2 film, followed a year later by the comedy crime caper, ‘The Hot Rock’, with Robert Redford, and George Segal.
In 1973, Yates made what is undoubtedly one of my favourite films, and perhaps the most realistic modern crime drama, ‘The Friends Of Eddie Coyle’. Starring a weary Robert Mitchum giving one his finest performances, this look at the criminal underworld of Boston feels incredibly authentic, and the supporting actors, including Richard Jordan and Peter Boyle, deliver outstanding performances too. This film is sadly overlooked now, and I really urge everyone to try to see it. It got the highest rating from respected critic Roger Ebert, and Mitchum’s performance is truly unforgettable.
Other titles directed by Yates might be familiar. ‘The Deep’ (1977) with Robert Shaw, ‘Breaking Away’ (1979) starring Dennis Quaid, and ‘Suspect’ (1987) with Quaid again, alongside Cher.
Here’s a trailer for ‘Eddie Coyle’.