Sunday, January 27, 2013

Films Within Films...or, Jurgensen x2

In the 1977 telefilm Contract on Cherry Street, cop Michael Nouri awaits c.i. Steve Inwood at the Queensboro Plaza subway station.  Note the tattered subway poster for William Friedkin's Sorcerer, also released in '77, to the right of Nouri. 
Yes, it's yet another example of this most exciting kind of synergy, this time Friedkin's Sorcerer turns up, in a way, in "dirty old New York" cop telefilm Contract on Cherry Street.  Interestingly, NYPD detective turned actor / consultant / producer Randy Jurgensen appears in both Contract on Cherry Street and Sorcerer.  Jurgensen broke into the movie game as a consultant on The French Connection...he was one of the cops who broke the case, along with Eddie Egan and Sonny Grosso.

He also appeared on screen, for the first time, in French Connection in a humorous role as the sergeant in the police garage.  In that film, Gene Hackman would win an Academy Award for playing Egan surrogate Jimmy "Popeye" Doyle.  Two years later, Robert Duvall would essay another Egan-inspired character, Eddie Ryan, in Badge 373.  Logically, Jurgensen appears in the latter film, as well, as a cop alongside Duvall, in the finale at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

Jurgensen's connection with Sorcerer and French Connection star Roy Scheider would carry over to The Seven-Ups and Still of the Night.  With Friedkin, he would collaborate on French Connection, Sorcerer, The Brink's Job, and Cruising.  Jurgensen's undercover work in the '60s in the gay community of Greenwich Village, and the cases related to those assignments, directly inspired the narrative of Cruising.

Essentially, if you've seen a New York City-set, '70s policier or two, you've almost certainly seen some of Jurgensen's work, whether it be in front of or behind the camera.

Sorcerer remains at the center of a lawsuit put forth by Friedkin, charging the two studios who financed the picture, Universal and Paramount, with withholding profits owed to him and mismanaging the distribution and stewardship of the short: both studios plead ignorance as to who controls Sorcerer, which has kept it out of circulation on home video and the repertory circuit as of late.  Friedkin tweets that an end is in sight to the litigation.

Jurgensen plays movie trivia games with his partners, which include Frank Sinatra, over the airwaves in Contract on Cherry Street.
Jurgensen counsels Roy Scheider in Sorcerer.  Note the very pronounced collar Jurgensen sports in each screen shot.

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