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Casey Owens (James Darren), a young mechanic, has developed a design for a turbine car engine, paving the way for a jet-powered auto certain to set a new land speed record. Wealthy playboy Stanford Rogers (Peter Mann) hires Casey to build the car for him to race in the Tri-State Endurance Run. Chuck Manning (Doug McClure), an engineering student Casey met in a drag race, discovers potential flaws in the car's design. After an unsuccessful test run, Rogers abandons the turbine-powered car for a traditional racing model, but Casey and Chuck rework the turbine vehicle to compete with Rogers in the endurance run. Pamela Tiffin plays Eadie, Chuck's sister who becomes Casey's love interest. Written by
Dennis Lewis <email@example.com>
Chrysler supplied the turbine car for this movie in order to build up interest in their turbine project car. See more »
About 11:30 minutes into the film Chuck (Doug McClure) calculates the quarter mile time for the jet car. He states that the car would do 8.7 seconds in the quarter mile allowing for a one second throttle lag. With the figures provided, weight, thrust, lag and distance the time should be 7.69 seconds. See more »
I just watched this movie on AMC and I was struck by how similar it was to the cartoon "Speed Racer". I loved that cartoon as a child, and I wondered how Peter Fernandez (voice, writer and talent behind the cartoon) veered so completely from the more violent Japanese Anime original, to focus on a much more "Americanized" theme (Peter Fernandez wrote the scripts). It is interesting to see the cartoon's probable genesis.
James Darren plays a character just like Speed Racer--a young man totally focused on cars and racing, and how to make a car engine better, faster. He even has a white race car with the number five painted on it. His character, Casey Owens, is hard working and relentless, someone who would rather spend his talents creating than sitting in a college classroom. He wants to do things his own way, with or without help, so he drops out of college to satisfy his dreams of building a faster engine.
But he learns (by family and friends pushing him into it) that hard work and talent are not enough in the real world-- you have to have an edge (i.e. money). Eventually, with the support of friends and family, Casey builds the revolutionary turbine engine.
According to AMC, the film uses the real turbine engine that Chrysler pioneered. Three hundred were made and they ran on almost anything--perfume, alcohol, whatever. The engines were eventually destroyed, but at the time, they were ahead of their time, a hint of the technology to come.
Just like "Trixie" in the cartoon, Casey has a wonderful brunette sidekick in the way of actress Pamela Tiffin. She is a beauty, reminiscent of actresses Karina Lombard and Catherine Zeta-Jones, with a great comedic flair. Her character, Eadie Manning, knows about cars, and tolerates Casey's obsession. At first, all she wants is to marry Casey, then just to be his bud--she genuinely wants him to win, to help make his dreams come true.
Who can resist that kind of support? Casey isn't stupid--he doesn't, they marry and he wins the race of course. The only thing missing from this entertaining movie, is a small boy and a monkey. :-)
Great race scene at the end--but remember, this was made in the sixties.
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