Is The French Connection II (1975) a Christmas Movie?

The French Connection II (1975) is the sequel to The French Connection (1971). It stars Gene Hackman as Jimmy “Popeye” Doyle, an American police officer on the hunt for French drug dealer Alain Charnier aka Frog One. The film takes place in Marseille, France.

I posit that The French Connection II is a Christmas movie. My first reason is that Popeye Doyle wears a hat throughout the movie. It’s a porkpie hat. Pork pies are a traditional food eaten in the UK during Christmas.

Popeye Doyle doesn’t like the desk that was assigned to him at the Marseille police station. He complains, “It’s right next to the shithouse.” This could be a reference to the foul smells that were probably emitted from the manger. Because the manger was a barn. There were animals there. They defecated indiscriminately.

Colours are another thing that could make this a Christmas movie. For example, in the scene where Popeye Doyle is ordering a drink, he suggests that the bartender pour a drink for himself. The bartender does so. Popeye doesn’t know what the drink is (chartreuse), so he just refers to it as, “That green shit.” The beverage is green. Green is a Christmas colour.

While at the bar, Popeye also eats a boiled egg. An egg is more of an Easter symbol but it can be Christmas too. It represents the birth of Jesus. Although, I guess the egg isn’t really…born yet. But no, life begins as conception according to Christian dogma. Christmas is a Christian holiday.

There’s a scene where Popeye Doyle goes to the beach. Jesus was born in the Middle East. The Middle East has a lot of deserts. Deserts have a lot of sand, just like beaches. This could be a reference to Jesus being born in the Middle East.

The chief of the Marseille police department is a character called Inspector Henri Barthélémy. “Barthélémy” looks a lot like “Bethlehem”, the place where Jesus was born.

Popeye Doyle is captured and forcibly injected with heroin for weeks. A street name for heroin is “snow”. Christmas movies usually have snow in them. There you go.

During Popeye Doyle’s recovery, he says, “Mickey Mantle sucks.” Mickey Mantle was a three time Golden Glove award winner. Gold. Gold used to be the colour of Christmas. Coincidence? I think not.

There’s no drug rehab programme. Popeye Doyle has to quit cold turkey. Cold. Turkey. You see where I’m going with this? Cold turkey sandwiches are a popular meal after Christmas.

Also, Popeye’s Chicken was named after Popeye Doyle (not Popeye the cartoon sailor, as you might assume). And a chicken is basically a small turkey. People eat turkey at Christmas.

There’s a long foot chase at the end of the movie. Where are they going? It’s reminiscent of walking to a family member’s house for Christmas. Assuming that your family lives within walking distance. Maybe you’re in a hurry so you’ll run. Same thing think as in the movie.

Then somebody gets shot and the movie ends abruptly. Christmas ends abruptly. There’s all this build up to the movie (and to the festive period) and then suddenly, at 12:01 am on 26 December, Christmas is over.

So on balance, I’d say that The French Connection is a Christmas movie. It has to be. There are just too many examples of Christmas things for it to be a coincidence.

Maybe director John Frankenheimer didn’t want to make an overt Christmas movie because his father was Jewish and his mother was Catholic and he was conflicted. He was raised Christian but maybe as a kid, he had to hide his love for Christmas so as not to offend his father. So he did the same thing in The French Connection II. Just subtle clues to let us know that this is a Christmas movie.

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