Early in William Friedkin’s masterpiece The French Connection, Gene Hackman and Roy Scheider, playing New York City police detectives Doyle and Russo, go for an after-work drink at a New York nightclub that appears to be the Copacabana.
This is the page from the original script describing the interior shot that was originally intended.
However, instead of a chorus line with — in the words used in the script — “lots of tits and ass…,” at some point a decision was made to have The Three Degrees perform Jimmy Webb’s “Everybody Gets to Go to the Moon.” I have no idea when or why this choice was made.
Doyle and Russo, having just come from a back alley roust and beating of a drug suspect, walk out of the dark, through the club’s front door, and into the brightly lit club. The Three Degrees’ electric performance smacks them in the face. The three women are luminous. The performance is tight.
Jimmy Webb’s song was the essence of powerful 70’s pop, and — rather than seeming out of place in a gritty cop film — skillfully establishes just how quickly these two cops move between violence and glitz.
Great film. Great song. And powerful lead singing by the incomparable Sheila Ferguson.