Checked out Steve McQueen’s 1968 detective flick, Bullitt, for the first time yesterday. A decent action film, what it’s really noted for is the big chase scene, with Bullitt in his Mustang Fastback chasing a couple of mob guys in a Dodge Charger. It’s quite a doozy, the true centerpiece of the movie.
However, there is a pretty serious flaw, one I haven’t seen mentioned in most reviews or commentaries. Four times during the chase, in the steep, claustrophobic streets of San Francisco, the Mustang and Charger fly past a green Volkswagen Bug. The same, green Volkswagen Bug. When the chase leaves the city and the speeds crank up even more, it doesn’t stop. One more time, there’s the Bug, being passed again.
So, either the Volkswagen Bugs of the 1960s have FTL drives, or someone should have been paying a bit more attention about the secondary cars in that chase scene. Because no matter how good the chase is – and it is top quality – seeing that Bug kept taking me out of the moment, even had me bursting into laughter in the midst of a very serious situation.
As a writer, I can sympathize. In my novel, the main male character manages a restaurant and the main female character works there. There are multiple situations throughout the book where the two characters interact at work. In two different scenes, the pair is having a conversation after the restaurant it closed, mulling some of the things that have happened to them over the course of the book.
I went back through some of the chapters the other day, reading and tweaking. I’d just finished the second, post-closing scene days before, and I was re-reading the first post-closing scene when I realized I had pretty much re-used the same conversation.
Not exactly the same, of course. But both opened with my female lead cleaning and complaining about parents who would bring twin toddler boys to all-you-can-eat-spaghetti night. From there, the scenes diverge, focusing on what each scene needs to be to make it work. But that’s a pretty big does of dumb. Unlike Bullitt, I caught mine before anyone else saw it.
Continuity matters, and it isn’t always easy. Lesson learned.