Peter Yates RIP

What a cool director with an unusual filmography. He first made his mark in BULLITT (1968) and followed that hip actioner with a minimalist character study, JOHN AND MARY (1969) to the fun Robert Redford caper THE HOT ROCK (1972) along with the acclaimed crime drama, THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE (1975) now on Criterion DVD, to his biggest hit, the more impersonal THE DEEP (1977), and later showed his range with BREAKING AWAY (1979), simply one of the most wonderful films ever made. He also directed cult favorites like MOTHER, JUGS AND SPEED (1973), which Quentin Tarantino double-billed with FREEBIE AND THE BEAN at QT III Fest, and the fantasy misfire, KRULL (1982), but he never failed to impress with his crisp composition and a dedication to the reality of a scene. If Yates had an autuerist style, it would be his gift for elegant framing around naturalistic acting. As for BULLITT, I once stood with awe in title maestro’s Pablo Ferro’s studio before the actual graphics used for the brilliant credits, one of the best of the 1960’s along with the film itself. And yes, that car chase. Yes. But for my own idiosyncratic reasons, this dinner jazz scene is my favorite from BULLITT, especially the great reaction moment at 0:041. Steve McQueen, Lalo Schifrin and Peter Yates were perfect cinematic brethren. There was joy in the work.

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3 Responses to “Peter Yates RIP”

  1. Great tribute, christian. Many of his are such fun films, and classics (especially THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE). And you’re so right about BULLITT. Even with that chase sequence, for me it remains underrated for all those aspects you highlight, and that many others ignore or dismiss. Yates was always an interesting director. Thanks, christian.

  2. i wish everyone would stop dying, the classic craftsmen seem to be moving on in droves. RIP peter yates, thanks for some great movies.

  3. THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE is an awesome film and it was nice to see Ben Affleck giving it a shout-out on his commentary track for THE TOWN. He mentioned studying that film quite a bit before he made his film and it shows.

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