Matchup of the Day: The Getaway vs. The Blob
In both The Blob and The Getaway Steve McQueen plays a character at odds with the law. In the former, he’s a punk kid who commits a traffic violation and is mildly antagonistic toward the local authorities. In the latter, he’s a convicted criminal who robs a bank and shoots up a police car. The Blob, McQueen’s first lead screen role, was financially, if not critically, successful. McQueen doubted the film would make any money and turned down the opportunity to receive a share of the profits, instead accepting a much smaller sum. His character, also named Steve, along with his girlfriend, Jane, stumble upon an old man who is slowly being eaten by the alien monster of the title. After finishing its first victim it oozes toward the rest of the town. Steve and Jane spend most of the film either running from the creature or trying to convince the local police of the ever-growing menace.
The Getaway, directed by Sam Peckinpah, also did well at the box office. McQueen stars as Doc McCoy with Ali MacGraw as his wife, Carol. From what I’ve read, MacGraw, who was married at the time, had an affair with McQueen during the shooting. They were married a year later. In the film, Doc is paroled from prison on the condition that he participate in a bank robbery. A shady businessman, Jack Benyon, arranged his release. Two other men are assigned to the job with him. After the robbery, one of Doc’s associates, Rudy, pulls a double-cross and tries to kill him. Doc shoots him first and takes off, not knowing that Rudy survived. Benyon also attempts a double-cross and is shot by Carol. The pair spend the rest of movie on the run with Rudy and Benyon’s brother in pursuit.
The final showdown in The Blob takes place in a diner. The monster slowly engulfs the building where Steve and Jane are holed up. When the diner’s owner tries to put out a fire with an extinguisher, Steve notices that the creature can’t tolerate the cold. The town bands together and freezes it in its tracks with twenty more fire extinguishers. In The Getaway, McCoy and his pursuers have it out in an El Paso hotel. After blasting his way out, he and Carol get a ride to Mexico with a guy in a pickup. After paying him generously for his services, the husband and wife appear to be on the way to living happily ever after. The ending of The Blob suggests that more danger may lie ahead. (There was a sequel, Son of Blob, so…)