Explore Seattle Through the Cinematic Car Chase
September 6, 2015 8:50 PM   Subscribe

1974, Trans Am: John Wayne is McQ - He's a busted cop, his gun is unlicensed, his methods are unlawful, and his story is incredible (IMDB, trailer)
1976, Dune buggy: Connie Stevens is Scorchy! - She's Killed A Man, Been Shot At, And Made Love Twice Already This Evening... And The Evening Isn't Over Yet! (IMDB, trailer) (If you only watch one, this is the one for its over-the-top 1970s ridiculousness)
2000, Cadillac Seville: Sylvester Stallone in Get Carter - The truth hurts (IMDB, trailer)
2011, Volvo S60: Short film/Volvo commercial from National Film Festival for Talented Youth

"Bonus" as it's supposedly Seattle, but filmed in Vancouver ("East Seattle Parkway"? and read the signs on the freeway - and, no, that's BC Place, not the Kingdome):
1990, Dodge Diplomat: Dabney Coleman in Short Time - Getting Killed isn't as easy as it looks (IMDB, trailer)
posted by ShooBoo (30 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
 
As someone who first spent a summer in Seattle in 1984, and then moved here to stay in 1990, these are super cool. And you couldn't drive on those cobblestones since way before 2011...
posted by Windopaene at 9:18 PM on September 6, 2015


That Scorchy was something else - thank you! As for the length of the first two linked chases, I guess we have Bullitt to blame for that? Guys, you can't all be Bullitt.
posted by queensissy at 9:42 PM on September 6, 2015


I'm pretty sure the first part of that Get Carter chase was shot in Vancouver's Chinatown. The way they jump around from location to location in a way that completely doesn't match the actual layout of the area's kinda funny too.

Also, I took Tai Chi from the woman in that clip!
posted by fnerg at 10:24 PM on September 6, 2015


There's only one Get Carter, and it wasn't shot in Seattle. Also Scorchy would have found that chase easier if she wasn't wearing a tent.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 11:01 PM on September 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


The first few seconds of the Get Carter footage is probably Vancouver, but from 0:33 on, it's definitely Seattle.

The first two sort of break my heart a bit -- that's the Seattle of my childhood. Long gone.
posted by litlnemo at 12:23 AM on September 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Nothing says Seattle like a dune buggy car chase underneath a monorail.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 12:38 AM on September 7, 2015 [4 favorites]


@litlnemo

What I was getting at is that Get Carter was made in 1971 in London and Newcastle, UK, starred Michael Caine, and the shit, pointless remake with Stallone should be cast from everyone's mind.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 12:45 AM on September 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Man, Seattle has changed so much, and I'm one of the few who'd say for the better (except the cost of housing), but much of John Wayne's and Connie Stevens' chases are recognizable nonetheless. Wayne's basically taking my route back from the kids' school and his trip is identical to mine -- tearing down Dearborn and hitting the I5 on ramp and coming to a stop. Then getting stuck behind some crazy erratic delivery truck.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 1:35 AM on September 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


The Scorchy chase is hilarious just like most cinematic chases. I don't care if you have a dune buggy, there's no way to get from Denny/LQA to First Hill to Pioneer Square to Interbay and Ravenna and back to Pioneer Square again in under about an hour even without traffic, much less the detour through Post Alley and Pike Place.

With today's traffic you're looking at a multi-hour crawl. Add thirty minutes for every time you want to cross Denny.

Also: holy shit, how did they manage to secure rights to film a car chase on the pedestrian bridge and upper deck of the ferry terminal?
posted by loquacious at 2:24 AM on September 7, 2015


Related - It Happened at the World's Fair starring Elvis (with Kurt Russel as the kid who kicks Elvis in the shins). There are a couple of scenes on the monorail, one upbeat one during the daytime on the way to the fair with Elvis singing a song I can't recall where you can see much of the south side of early sixties downtown Seattle and one melancholy nighttime scene on the way back where you can't see as much. Ten year old skyscraper could be lurking in the background as well but I haven't spotted him yet.
posted by skyscraper at 3:37 AM on September 7, 2015


I'm so used to watching films filmed in LA or New York that it is always surprising to watch one filmed in a place that I know. It's even more unusual when the actors move around a city realistically, rather than the filmmakers picking locations and rearranging them to fit the story.
posted by Dip Flash at 4:47 AM on September 7, 2015


Supposedly, Elvis bought gas at the Hat and Boot Station when he was in Seattle for It Happened at the World's Fair.
posted by y2karl at 7:46 AM on September 7, 2015


You don't have to go very far back to see how much Seattle has changed. There is a shot in Sleepless in Seattle where Meg Ryan makes a turn up Broad Street and you can see the Space Needle framed in the background.

Today, that shot is very, very different because of all the newer apartment construction in Belltown. Those bushes on the right are now a condominium tower.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:18 AM on September 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


They go past Warshal's in the Scorchy chase. That was a great old sporting goods store. I used to get all my photography supplies there in high school.
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 9:23 AM on September 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Roughly that same shot from Sleepless in Seattle, on GMaps now.
posted by hades at 9:57 AM on September 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


Nice one, hades.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:39 AM on September 7, 2015


I get that literal geography doesn't matter in a chase scene. But McQ and Scorchy are just hilarious with the liberties they take with how they're driving around the city.

We're going north! No, no, it's south! Turn the corner, and shazam, we're on the other side of town! Now we're back where we started downtown! But, look, there's the Kingdome!
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:47 AM on September 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


I think we can all agree that Stallone's Get Carter was an unfortunate mistake, but what was most jarring in that car chase was how they jumped from ID to Pioneer Square to Beacon Hill in Hollywood seconds. Traffic is so bad here that a car chase scene should have easily eaten up half the film.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 11:11 AM on September 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Slarty Bartfast, yeah. The routes are recognizable but still so different. (Notice the ramp to get on I-5 northbound from Dearborn was on the north side of the street back then. I remember using that ramp in the first few years I was driving.)

GallonOf Alan, aha -- I never saw either movie so did not realize one was a remake.
posted by litlnemo at 1:44 PM on September 7, 2015


Lots of shots of the Seattle World's Fair grounds in this trailer for Elvis' It Happened at the Worlds Fair . Thanks Skyscraper.
posted by LarryC at 1:56 PM on September 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Love this concept for a post! I've only spent a little time in Seattle, most recently a week-ish last summer, and I'm pleasantly surprised by how familiar these clips felt.
posted by capricorn at 4:25 PM on September 7, 2015


You can tell it's Seattle by the complete lack of signs directing you to I-5.
posted by xedrik at 6:41 PM on September 7, 2015 [3 favorites]


Well, if you have to ask...
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 8:34 PM on September 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


There is a shot in Sleepless in Seattle where Meg Ryan makes a turn up Broad Street and you can see the Space Needle framed in the background.

Today, that shot is very, very different because of all the newer apartment construction in Belltown. Those bushes on the right are now a condominium tower.


Similarly, and much more recently, that you can't see down olive way to the space needle anymore because the view has been entirely blocked by condos. It used to be completely picturesquely framed by the buildings Manhattanhenge style.

Other than literally standing on melrose, the only way to get a nice territorial view of downtown and the space needle from most of capitol hill is to be inside an expensive condo/apartment. Sigh.

Here's a before and after.

I mean i consciously understand that density is good, and that we desperately need more housing here... But it really does seem like it's sort of taking away from egalitarian access to the beauty of the city in the same way those giant condo towers casting shadows on central park kinda does. Like, that good sightlines only exist if you pay to play. I could come up with a lot more examples of cool/cute/interesting views that are just blocked by fairly cheapo and ugly development now.
posted by emptythought at 10:30 PM on September 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


litlnemo: "The first few seconds of the Get Carter footage is probably Vancouver"

Definitely Vancouver.
posted by mhum at 10:10 AM on September 8, 2015


You can't see the Space Needle from Broadway anymore but, thanks to the nascent light rail station, you can still see Mt. Rainier. What is scarier is you can't see the Space Needle from any bus going downtown and crossing I-5. Except for a second while crossing Denny on Olive on the westbound #8, and north and southbound #47 and #43, that is. I can remember when West Seattle disappeared from view behind the towers but now Puget Sound and the Olympics are going, going, gone from view as well.

Except for from Denny Canyon, that is.

Another movie with great shots of downtown is Cinderella Liberty..

When I moved to Seattle, they were digging out the parking garage under the old SeaFirst building between 3rd & 4th, Marion & Madison, across from the downtown library. That was the first modern tower. So, when I came to town, the tallest structures were the Space Needle and the Smith Tower.

Please move over, you are blocking the view from my lawn.
posted by y2karl at 12:59 PM on September 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


y2karl: "What is scarier is you can't see the Space Needle from any bus going downtown and crossing I-5."

There is one obvious, common-sense solution to this problem: More Space Needles.
posted by mhum at 1:07 PM on September 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


I always wanted to do a coffee table book of backyard Space Needles. Boy, talk about historical structures worth preservation, there is an endangered species. You used to see one, back in the day, in someone's patio about every three blocks in the North end. But not no more...
posted by y2karl at 1:54 PM on September 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


On a side note, I was working at Harborview Hospital when McQ was being filmed and, as some scenes were shot there at the Hospital, the crew and actors, including John Wayne, came and ate in the cafeteria.

He addressed my girlfriend Patricia, who was working in the trayline, as 'little lady.'

And she was not the only girlfriend of mine to be addressed so. Another was Joanne, whose father ran a sports fishing franchise out of Aberdeen and counted the Duke as a customer and friend.

What I remember from Harborview was how big and tall he was and how obvious was his rug. It was red as an Afghan elder's beard.

The Duke owned one of the San Juan islands and parked his yacht at Doc Freeman's in Fremont when he was in state. In fact, that had a lot to do with why the film was made in Seattle.
posted by y2karl at 4:24 PM on September 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Wow, that puts me well within six degrees of Kevin Bacon, does it not ?
posted by y2karl at 4:28 PM on September 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


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