Tony Mastroianni Review Collection

Cop connects with Seven-Upmanship

Cleveland Press December 7, 1973

Eddie Egan and Sonny Grosso are the real life detectives portrayed by Gene Hackman and Roy Scheider respectively in "The French Connection." The two have now gone their separate but equal ways, both involved in the movie business.

Egran is retired from police work; Grosso vill retire in January, meanwhile has been busy moonlighting as a technical consultant.

Now a new movie, "The Seven-Ups," has come along, this one based on another of Grosso's experiences. Actor Scheider once more plays him on the screen.

The almost ex-detective was in Cleveland this week sporting a non-regulation beard and promoting the new movie. Grosso is credited with writing the original story as well as serving as technical advisor.

"The Seven-Ups was the name of a special squad of detectives we had a few years ago," he explained. There were seven of us and each one had expertise in a particular field.

"Our job was to go after the high echelon members of the mob. Seven years and up is the lowest of the high felony sentences. I guess we got the name when Life magazine wrote us up.

"The incident in the movie is based on one of the first cases we worked on, the kidnapping of mobsters for ransom. These guys couldn't complain to the police and there was a rumor -- just like in the movie that police were in on it. The kidnappers were posing as officers.

"The business of the detective and the informer being boyhood friends also is true. We knew each other in school and he married a girl we both dated.

"What's happened to him now'. He's in jail."

Grosso also was involved in the making of the TV-pilot film, "Mr. Inside/Mr. Outside," was technical advtsor on "The Godfather" and works in the same capacity on the television series "Kojak," in which Telly Savalas plays a detective.

He is working with screen writer Abby Mann on a movie adaptation of "Report to the Commissloner" and with producer Philip D'Antoni on "French Connection Il."

The latter will be the further adventures of Popeye, the Eddie Egan character, but this time it is all fiction.

"He goes to Paris to follow that guy that got away at the end of 'French Connection.' He teams up with a Paris detective pIayed by Jean-Paul Belmondo. This time they catch the guy.

"I hope they don't call it 'French Connection II.' There's only one 'French Connection.' It'd be better if they called it something like 'Popeye Goes to Paris.'

"It's like a second marriage. If you keep comparIng it to the first it ain't gonna work."