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I first saw this movie back in 1981 and it struck a chord with me, being I was a successful street racer at the time. Steve's modified Porsche Speedster was one of the coolest looking cars of its time (big fender flares were in, but most cars looked cartoonish with them), and Cal's Corvette "rat racer" is still cool today. Some of the extras in the Mulholland scenes were actual racers themselves, and that helped to give an authentic feel to what street racing was actually like back in the late '70's/early '80's. There are some elements that aren't racing related ( the subplot of Buddy's music career, for example) that could be considered ponderous moments, but the racing sequences more than made up for them. The dynamic of the three friends (Steve, Buddy and Roger) sharing a common house worked, showing the differences in each character's personality. Steve (Harry Hamlin) in particular was my favorite... comfortable enough around his friends, quiet and reserved in normal social situations, but not really "alive" unless he was in his car racing. There's Buddy, loyal friend to the core, and budding musician. And Roger, former racer himself that feels he's outgrown Mulholland and now wants more out of life. Then there's Cal (Dennis Hopper), who was the previous top dog until he had a bad accident, never really recovering from it. Still, he wants to be back on top, no matter what or who stands in his way... I'm lucky enough to have this long out of print film on VHS, and would love nothing more than to see it on DVD. This is a film no true gearhead or fan of the "car film" genre should be without. Check it out if you get the chance.
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