As a lot as the placement of San Francisco was chosen as a spoof of the basic automotive chase featured in “Bullitt” (which can quickly get its time within the solar with this column, I promise!), the setting lends a real and genuine sense of rigidity and stakes to the motion — as heightened and exaggerated because it clearly is. Filmed on-location and with the professional assist of a whole group of stunt individuals, the climax of “What’s Up, Doc?” is most notable for making full use of the steep hills and well-known areas the downright cinematic metropolis is so well-known for.
The claustrophobic narrowness of the streets themselves provides much more obstacles for the primary characters to take care of, however Bogdanovich (aided by a script from Buck Henry, David Newman, and Robert Benton) litters every particular phase of the chase with moments that continuously use the geography to its benefit. Judy forcing Howard to drive up a ramp and conceal in plain sight amongst different Beetles loaded up on a truck is an all-timer of a gag, as is the second when all of the automobiles drive down the steps of Alta Plaza Park, however nothing competes with the killer punchline to this complete fruitless chase — the entire automobiles plunging headfirst into the water, punctuated by Streisand’s self-confident “We are able to make it!” as they attempt to bounce onto a departing ferry … solely to supply up a resigned “I do not assume we will make it” on the level of no return.
As a lot as the whole film stays a high-water mark in slapstick comedy, it is telling that this automotive chase places comparable sequences in fashionable motion blockbusters to disgrace. Bogdanovich is not reinventing the wheel right here. By understanding the fundamentals, “What’s Up, Doc?” turned an instantaneous basic.