A recently paroled ex-con and his partner in crime and in life are forced to go on the run following a botched bank robbery.Released in 1972, The Getaway, starring Steve McQueen and Ali MacGraw, is the second film to be suggested for a food & a film feature. This time the recommendation comes from my cousin, Jared, who is the biggest Steve McQueen fan I know. In addition to being an enthralling action crime thriller with the King of Cool as its protagonist, The Getaway also happens to contain quite a few food moments, making it a superb suggestion for a post on food & a film. Thanks, Jared!
The very first reference to food in the film comes when Doc McCoy (Steve McQueen) returns home from prison and his wife, Carol (Ali MacGraw) asks him what he would like for dinner. However, instead of making any typical food requests, Doc simply replies, “Drinks, whiskey, whiskey, whiskey, whiskey, whiskey, whiskey.” Carol, without batting an eyelash, then goes to the kitchen and returns with three bottles of liquor and a shot glass. The first appearance of food is not until the next morning when Doc is in the kitchen cooking breakfast. On the kitchen counters we see several cans of Budweiser, a couple of bottles of Hunt’s ketchup, a bottle of Tabasco, a container of black pepper, and a carton of eggs (with another carton on top of the refrigerator). Although it is unclear exactly what Doc is cooking up, it appears to be scrambled eggs with onions. Carol then enters the kitchen and says, “Hey, I was going to fix you breakfast.,” to which Doc replies, “Ahh, you were sleeping.,” before taking a bottle of Hunt’s and narrating, “Add a little ketchup.,” as he pours the condiment onto his simmering scramble.
The next appearance of food comes during Doc’s lunch meeting with Jack Beynon (Ben Johnson) aboard a river boat in San Antonio. When Doc first arrives at the River Walk and sees Jack on a boat he says, “You got to be kidding.,” to which Jack responds, “Not at all. Just a pleasant way to have lunch. Sit down.” As the duo cruise down the river, Jack talks and eats a couple of forkfuls of food while Doc listens and takes a sip of water. Doc then begins to cut into his food; however, before he starts eating, the duo are joined by additional guests, causing Doc to forget about his food completely. It is worth noting that while food is clearly visible throughout this scene, it is unclear as to exactly what the two men have on their plates.
After the River Walk lunch scene, the next notable food moment comes when Doc is seated on a bench waiting for Carol. The scene begins with him taking a bite of a sandwich before washing down his mouthful with a big swig of Coca-Cola. When Carol appears driving a newly acquired car, Doc gets up from the bench and hops into the vehicle, leaving his half-full bottle of Coke behind. Once Carol and Doc drive away, the woman who has been sitting on the same bench along side Doc, picks up the partially finished bottle of Coke and takes a sip from it.
Another memorable food scene in the film is when Fran (Sally Struthers) and Rudy (Al Lettieri) are eating ribs in the car while Harold (Jack Dodson) is driving. Fran chews on one rib, while she offers the rib in her other hand to Harold. At this point, Rudy, who is in the back seat, throws the rib he has been eating at Fran. At first Fran is perturbed by the act, but when Rudy continues to pester her with saucy ribs, she then begins to playfully retaliate by throwing her own ribs at him. After a few back-and-forths, Fran begins to throw French fries instead of ribs, and after a couple of handfuls, Rudy becomes irritable, and abruptly and angrily ends the food fight.
Following the ribs sequence, the next food moment comes when Doc and Carol make a stop at a drive-in fast-food restaurant. When Doc orders “two hamburgers, a milkshake and two coffees,” the server asks, “What kind of milkshake?,” to which Doc replies, “Chocolate.” Then when the server then asks, “How about some fries?,” Doc responds, “Why not?.”
When the server then returns with the food, Doc takes a bite of his hamburger before realizing that they have been recognized and will need to cut their meal short.
Finally, additional food and drink moments in the film worth mentioning include Fran and Rudy sharing a chicken wing and passing it to each other using only their mouths, Carol taking a shot of whiskey on Doc’s first night home, Jack drinking Wild Turkey at his ranch, Carol having a drink in the cocktail lounge of the train station, and Doc asking Laughlin to bring some food up to his room when he arrives to the hotel. There are also multiple scenes that take place after characters have eaten, and the remnants from their meals are in the background or off to the side of the frame including when Doc and Carol are surveilling the bank, as well as during their first night in a hotel room when we see sandwich leftovers and a paper cup on the nightstand next to Doc. We also see room service leftovers in the hotel room that Rudy and the Clintons are staying in, along with sandwich wrap papers on the table in Jack’s office where his underlings are sitting around, waiting for instruction.
When Jared put in his request for The Getaway, he also suggested Tex-Mex for the food pairing. Seeing as the film’s actions take place primarily in Texas, and a bit in Mexico, I thought it was a particularly felicitous idea and decided to take him up on the suggestion. First I prepared a vegan refried bean tostada with shredded lettuce, pico de gallo, guacamole and grated jalapeno havarti. I then included a side of rice & beans, and of course, could not resist including a plate of BBQ ribs.
Then for drinks, I included a refreshing Coca-Cola, in a glass bottle, just like Doc’s, and it goes without saying that a meal inspired by The Getaway would not be complete without a little bit of whiskey (whiskey, whiskey, whiskey, whiskey, whiskey).
Finally, for my cinematic inspired tablecloth, I found a vintage fabric circa 1970 that has a similar color scheme to the one employed in the film, and one that is also reminiscent of the colorful collection of umbrellas situated along the San Antonio River Walk.
And that does it for this week’s entry here on food & a film! Thank you so much for reading, and thank you again, Jared, for the suggestion. Make sure to check back next week for another installment. Until then!