The Sand Pebbles and The Great Escape are two of my favorite movies , so I’m not sure how I missed this collection of essays from The Cooler on Steve McQueen’s career. But you should go read the whole thing anyway, including this introduction to McQueen’s five essential performances from The House Next Door.
A quick note about The Great Escape: Has a (successful) star turn ever felt less essential to a movie than McQueen’s portrayal of Virgil Hilts, aka The Cooler King? McQueen spends half the movie in solitary confinement, is almost completely uninvolved in the actual escape plan, and legendarily demanded a tacked-on motorcycle chase at the end of the movie. And you know what? The whole thing is still completely awesome.