Almanac Poetry: The Car Chase in Films from Six Different Countries


Cinema poster for Bullitt (1968), starring Steve McQueen. (Source: Wikipedia.)


The Car Chase in Films from Six Different Countries


In America, it’s Steve McQueen
Ford Mustang crash bang Bullitt
streets of San Francisco stuff;
Germany, there’s a focus
upon needles on dashboard gauges
rising dangerously into the red;
France, it’s a character study:
the wily, corrupt old cop
emotionally torturing
his wet behind the ears sidekick
while letting the villains get away.
In Italy, everything’s frantic
– arguing, gesticulating,
crooks and carabinieri
equally incompetent.
In India? A series of cuts from the chase
to floridly attired
singing and dancing girls,
jangling bracelets of bells,
while, in Iceland, the car is driven
by an unaccountably nude
unselfconscious blonde au pair,
with her precocious seven-year-old male charge
both passenger and navigator.
Then, in Australia, there is a ute
pursued along a dusty
outback road to vanishing point,
rifle fire, tinnies,
swearing and scattering kangaroos.


(Acknowledgements: first published in Other Poetry (UK) in 2003; then in my first poetry collection, Vigorous Vernacular, Picaro Press, 2008, reissued by Ginninderra Press, 2018.)



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Kevin Densley is a poet and writer-in-general. His fourth book-length poetry collection, Sacredly Profane, has just been published (late 2020) by Ginninderra Press. He is also the co-author of ten play collections for young people, as well as a multi Green Room Award nominated play, Last Chance Gas, which was published by Currency Press. Recent other writing includes screenplays for films with a tertiary education purpose. He laments the extinction of Cascade Pale Ale and Kiwi Lager.


  1. Kevin Densley says

    Further note: Bullitt was the film that made the Ford Mustang an international icon.

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