Drugs in the big city

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Gene Hackman is Jimmy “Popeye” Doyle in the five-time Oscar-winning film “The French Connection.” In this scene, Doyle, pictured at the bottom of the steps to the elevated train, fires at a hit man trying to give him the slip. The classic screens Sunday and Wednesday at the Denton Cinemark.

Cinemark screens ‘French Connection’ in classic series

Action and intrigue are on the marquee Sunday and Wednesday for the next installment of the Cinemark Classic Series.

The French Connection hit theaters in 1971, and earned eight Academy Award nominations. It went on to win five.

What made the film work was director William Friedkin’s deft direction, a tight script and a standout performance by Gene Hackman.

The movie is about two New York City cops, the prominent one being Jimmy “Popeye” Doyle (Hackman), who sniff out a French connection intertwined with a fierce heroin ring led by cunning smugglers with broken moral compasses. The film is still said to include one of the best car chases in movie history, with Doyle zipping along under an elevated train in a civilian’s car in hot pursuit of a hit man aboard it.

If the film feels authentic, it’s because the narrative is based on drug smuggling in the 1960s and 1970s, a time when much of the heroin imported to the East Coast came through France.

Cinemark Holdings Inc. routinely screens series of movies that have either cult status or are considered significant American contributions to the art form.

The Cinemark in Denton will screen The French Connection at 2 p.m. Sunday and again at 2 and 7 p.m. Wednesday.

Tickets to matinee performances cost $6.50. Tickets for the twilight performance cost $8.50 for adults, $6.50 for seniors and children. To reserve tickets, visit www.cinemark.com, or visit the Denton cinema at 2825 Wind River Lane.

Coming up on Sept. 8 and 11: Some Like It Hot.

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