Written by: Michael Den Boer on February 28th, 2013
Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1974
Director: Richard Rush
Writers: Robert Kaufman, Floyd Mutrux
Cast: Alan Arkin, James Caan, Loretta Swit, Jack Kruschen, Mike Kellin, Paul Koslo, Linda Marsh, John Garwood, Alex Rocco, Valerie Harper, Christopher Morley
DVD released: May 5th, 2009
Approximate running time: 113minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Warner Archive
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.95
Synopsis: Two rule breaking detectives will not anyone or anything get in their way in quest to bring down a notorious criminal.
Freebie and the Bean was directed by Richard Rush, who’s other notable films include, The Stuntman and Color of Night. Key collaborators on Freebie and the Bean include screenwriter Robert Kaufman (The Happy Hooker Goes to Washington, Love at First Bite) and cinematographer Laszlo Kovacs (Easy Rider, Paper Moon). Freebie and the Bean would mark the first of Dominic Frontiere’s (‘The Outer Limits’) three collaborations with director Richard Rush. The other two films being, The Stuntman and Color of Night.
It is damn near impossible to imagine a film like Freebie and the Bean being made in today’s cinema. We now live in a time where everything has been watered down and sanitized to the point that any bite said subject matter might of hand, has since long been scrubbed cleaned for today’s all too sensitive politically correct cinema audiences.
And while it is easy to see how so called questionable subject matter can offend some cinema goers in today’s climate. When it is all said and done, I always come back to the tagline for Wes Craven’s The Last House on the Left, ‘It’s only a movie, only a movie, only a movie…’. And if you can’t accept this, then this is most definitely not a movie that you should be watching.
The plot for Freebie and the Bean, revolves around two politically incorrect police detectives, who abrasive attitude towards suspects, their loved ones and each other make them two of the more unsympathetic characters to ever grace the silver screen.
Fortunately though for the story at hand, with each new outlandish disaster that occurs at the hands of these two characters. They not only somehow become more endearing, as an audience we start to root for them as they continue to push the boundaries of good taste and sanity.
In fact, their mission to bring down a notorious criminal mastermind almost becomes second hand, with the bread and butter being how much damage can these two characters get away with before they are pulled off the case or worse yet, end up dead?
In a film that features car chases which end with a car crashing through a bedroom wall well above ground level, a suspect being filled with lead while trying to pull up their pants after taking a crap and a the double cross to end all double crosses involving a transvestite. There is no subject matter that is off limits in this film that throws in everything but the kitchen sink.
The film is superbly directed by Richard Rush, who with his next film would reach near perfection with The Stunt Man. Also though comedies are not often known for their strong visuals, cinematographer Laszlo Kovacs gives this film a visual flare that perfectly complements its outrageous comedic set pieces and subversive laced humor.
As good as just about every area of this production is! One must not overlook or undervalue the performances of its two leading men, James Caan (The Godfather, Thief) in the role of Freebie and Alan Arkin (Wait Until Dark) in the role of Bean. It should also be noted that the cast features an amazing supporting cast which includes Loretta Swift (‘M.A.S.H.’), Jack Kruschen (The Apartment), Alex Rocco (The Friends of Eddie Coyle) and Valerie Harper (‘Rhoda’).
Warner Archives presents Freebie and the Bean in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the films intended ‘scope’ aspect ratio. There is no issues with compression, print damage is virtually nonexistent and details generally look crisp throughout. Colors and flesh tones look accurate and black levels range from good to slightly above average.
This release comes with one audio option, a Dolby Digital mono mix in English. The audio sounds clean, clear and balanced throughout. It should be noted that range wise things tend to sound rather limited.
Extras are limited to a trailer for the film (3 minutes 10 seconds – 4:3 full frame). Overall Warner Archives gives Freebie and the Bean a well rounded audio / video presentation.