Director William Friedkin told an audience of 300 last night that he made his latest film, "The Brink's Job" as a tribute to the men who pulled the robbery. "I really found I admired them," he said at the Hasty Pudding Theater. "They had a sense of humor about the whole thing."
Friedkin came to Boston along with 34 members of the 'Brink's" company to publicize the film's premiere on Thursday. 'The Brink's Job" was filmed last summer in Boston, the site of the original multimillion-dollar robbery of a Brink's armored car in the early 1950s.
Actor Peter Falk and Producer Dino DeLaurentiis, originally scheduled to appear along with Friedkin, could not attend the talk, which included a 10-minute excerpt from the film.
Members of the company who did attend included actor Peter Boyle, screenwriter Walon Green, and two of the original Brink's robbers, Jazz Maffie and Sandy Richardson.
Philip D. Murphy '79, President of Hasty Pudding Theatricals, said that Falk had "a legitimate last-minute committment," filming in either Mexico or Los Angeles, and that DeLaurentiis was in London having "serious production problems" filming "The Great Train Robbery."
"We're pretty embarrassed about it," W. Michael Cohrs '79, one of the producers of this year's Hasty Pudding show said last night. Cohrs said the Pudding found out yesterday morning that Falk and DeLaurentiis would not attend.
Before Friedkin spoke, Pudding producer Tom Randall presented him with a "rare and coveted" piggy bank, part of the "Triple Hog Award." Murphy tossed the other two piggy banks, intended for Falk and DeLaurentiis, out the door of the auditorium.
Friedkin, who won an Academy Award in 1972 for directing "The French Connection," and directed "The Exorcist," said that filming the $12 million comedy "Brink's" was more difficult than filming a thriller. "You can make people react to a car chase," he said, but "comedy is a very ephemeral thing. It's hard to make an audience laugh."
Friedkin cited "The French Connection" car chase scene in which unplanned crashes were used in the final film. "Comedies need more precision," he said. "There's very little improvisation."
Friedkin said he originally wanted to play professional basketball, "but, frankly, I wasn't good enough. So I went into television, where anybody's good enough."
The original robbers, Maffie and Richardson, received an enthusiastic and prolonged ovation from the audience. Both were released from prison in 1970, after serving 14 years. It took the FBI six years and 29 million dollars to track them down after the robbery