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Insurance investigator Maindrian Pace and his team lead double-lives as unstoppable car thieves. When a South American drug lord pays Pace to steal 48 cars for him, all but one, a 1973 Ford Mustang, are in the bag. As Pace prepares to rip-off the fastback, codenamed "Eleanor", in Long Beach, he is unaware that his boss has tipped off the police after a business dispute. Detectives are waiting and pursue Pace through five cities as he desperately tries to get away. Written by
There was no official script for the movie, apart from several pages outlining main dialog sequences. Much of the action/dialog was improvised and made up by the cast and crew as they went along. This caused many problems for the editor, Warner E. Leighton, who never knew what footage was being dumped on him or where in the movie it belonged. In the DVD audio commentary, he described the script for the construction site portion of the main pursuit as a piece of cardboard with a circle on it. Director H.B. Halicki pointed at it and said, "That's the dust bowl. We went around it twice. There's your script." See more »
In Lincoln Park, the Mustang is blocked-in at the front by two patrol cars facing each other with no space between them. When Maindrian speeds off to escape, the patrol cars are now suddenly some distance apart and he is able to drive between them. See more »
Hey, Atlee, how come you don't get called up at five o'clock in the morning?
Because I live right.
Yeah, well I'll fix your living habits! Tomorrow morning you can get up at five o'clock and start tearing that truck apart to find out how come he hit the train.
Okay, if Stanley helps me. I think five years in the army gave him brain damage!
Hey, hey, I'll learn the business next week, all right? I don't even know how these switch-overs work.
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The ending credits in the 2001 DVD release features footage of H.B. Halicki's widow, Denice Shakarian Halicki, riding in "Eleanor." See more »
It's amazing what could be done with a tiny budget and no digital effects. I watched this after having seen the trashy remake, and expected a similar degree of dumb wisecracks and hackneyed sub-plots.
I was impressed, however, to discover real talent behind the camera. The plot is simple: a car thief has to steal 40 fancy cars in a very short time. Using a combination of skill, insider knowledge of the insurance business and just sheer brass, the protagonist and his pals start their automotive harvest. Everything seems done and taken care of, when everything goes to hell at the last moment, leading to what surely be the longest car chase put to film.
The best thing about this movie is its low-budget feel. Many of the early scenes are almost mimed, with voices overdubbed later; you don't see actual dialogue, just hear it on top of the action. But as things progress, it begins to show more polish, and by the time we get to the big chase, you get what appears to be the entire 7th Cavalry Division in squad cars chasing one li'l yellow Mustang.
A very smart touch during the big chase was to frequently cut to the aftermath of car crashes, with wounded cops and civilians being dragged from burning cars and hustled away in ambulances -- it added an edge to the film, to show there are actually consequences to these actions (and how often is that shown on the big screen?).
Aside from the marvelously-choreographed action sequences, there are many moments of great wit, which I won't describe so's not to spoil them.
All in all, a brilliant piece of film-making, made not with glitz, glamor, star-power or special effects -- just sheer talent (and pretty cars, o'course!).
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