Film Directors: A sort-of A-Z: Y

(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’.

33 thoughts on “Film Directors: A sort-of A-Z: Y

  1. Rather than highlight “The Friends of Eddie Coyle,” you could have chosen another Peter Yates film entitled “For Pete’s Sake” (1974). For Pete’s sake, Pete, why didn’t you?

    The only Peter Yates films I’ve seen are “The Deep” and “Bullitt.” I think there have been other car chases that have given “Bullitt” a run for the money (“The French Connection,” “Ronin,” and “The Bourne Identity” immediately come to mind), but perhaps McQueen’s car chase still ranks highest. I agree that he was the King of Cool (probably from spending so much time in the Cooler before and after his great escape…).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have seen ‘For Pete’s Sake’ with Streisand, and quite enjoyed it. I think the car chase in ‘Bullitt’ was far more stylish than the ones that followed, and the villains were using one of my favourite cars, a 1968 Dodge Charger 440. I always wanted one of those!
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m embarrassed to say that the only Yates movie I’ve seen is The Deep, but I’ve certainly hear of the others. As for me, being the Bond fan that I am my first pick would be Terence Young. I’d also go with:

    David Yates – last 4 Harry Potter movies, The Legend of Tarzan, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them…

    Harold Young – TheScarlet Pimpernel, There’s One Born Every Minute, The Mummy’s Tomb…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Well..there is a first time for everything. Can’t really recall a director whose last name starts with a Y. And including the ones already mentioned in your own post or the comments above…I still can’t name one.Too bad…just one more letter to go. Really going to miss this series of posts 😢

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes, Terence Young did the first two Bonds: “Dr. No” and “From Russia With Love” then came back for “Thunderball” – he also did three films with Charles Bronson, including “Red Sun”. As for “The Friends Of Eddie Coyle”, try this double bill of small-time workers in the mob hierarchy, your “everyday Goddfellas”:

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Getting to the slim pickings, eh? The only X I know of is Chinese director Xie Jin whose “The Opium War” is truly epic, though I prefer his earlier drama “Hibiscus Town”.
    For Y, I’ll slide over to Japan and mention Yogi Yamada for his outstanding Samurai Trilogy, beginning with “The Twilight Samurai”.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have heard of Xie Jin, but have never seen any of his films, hence no entry from me in ‘X’.
      I know of Yamada of course, and own ‘The Twilight Samurai’ on DVD.
      Best wishes, Pete.


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