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Freebie and the Bean (1974) Poster

Trivia

The film became an action-comedy after Alan Arkin and James Caan met for improvisational sessions in which they explored a more comedic approach to the characters' relationship.
Alan Arkin commented in a 23 Dec 1974 "People" magazine news item that he only acted in the film because he needed a paycheck, but felt that it was "absolute garbage."
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Alan Arkin and James Caan threatened to quit the production because they felt that director Richard Rush unwisely prioritized stunts over the relationship between their characters.
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Reportedly, Alan Arkin and James Caan's representatives were to meet with Warner Brothers executives to plan a sequel in which the actors reprised their roles, with Arkin directing.
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Producer-director Richard Rush recalled a difficult moment in which Alan Arkin and James Caan, along with Rush and cinematographer László Kovács, were stuck on a construction elevator at the top of a skyscraper under construction. Caan was afraid of heights, and the men had to jump out of the elevator onto the floor below them and descend the building's 65 floors on foot.
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In the dentist office scene, Alan Arkin) reads an issue of "Good Housekeeping" with Mary Tyler Moore on the cover. This is most likely an inside joke, as Arkin's wife is played by Valerie Harper, Moore's co-star at the time on Mary Tyler Moore (1970).
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The SFPD detective car the lead characters drive was a white 1972 Ford Custom 500 police interceptor sedan. Over the course of filming, they totaled over a dozen of the cars. These were actual decommissioned San Francisco police vehicles purchased by Warner Brothers for this movie; many of them also appeared in Magnum Force (1973).
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There's a scene where T.E. Lawrence and Lawrence of Arabia (1962) is discussed. Ironically, Peter O'Toole was such a fan of this movie that he agreed to read the script for The Stunt Man (1980)when presented at a party by director Richard Rush. O'Toole wound up being nominated for his performance in that film.
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Executive producer Floyd Mutrux sold the original script to Warner Brothers for almost $200,000.
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Plans to distribute the film early in 1974 were abandoned due to concerns about competition with Peter Hyams' similar film, Busting (1974). "Freebie and the Bean" was released in Christmas of 1974 instead.
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Producer-director Richard Rush said that the film contained "four major chase scenes and over 100 car crashes" and that it was comprised of many short scenes which required constant changing of filming locations throughout the day.
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The 11-week shoot on location in San Francisco was frequently delayed by rain.
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The original 1972 draft by Floyd Mutrux was very different from the actual film. The screenplay was set in Cleveland, OH, instead of San Francisco.
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