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Old school stunt men and action sequences. Slow but interesting plotline.
Sophisticated moviegoers will be furious very fast with this
Daniel C. Markel | Rosharon, TX USA | 10/05/2005
(2 out of 5 stars)
"This review is for the 2003 Alpha DVD
The synopsis of the film is that a truck driver played by John Ireland is arrested for vehicular homicide. Claiming to be innocent, he escapes from prison and kidnaps a beautiful woman (Dorothy Malone) and together drive towards the Mexican border in her late model Jaguar sportscar. Since the police are after this kidnapper, he realizes his best chance of escaping is by racing her car in a road rally that goes across the Mexican border.
The problems and flaws with the film seem insurmountable. The acting in the opening scene in the diner is hideous and improves only marginally as the film goes on. The cinematography is suspect at times, especially in many of the outdoor scenes where no fill lighting was used, thus creating harsh shadows on the faces of the characters. The editing was poor at times also. But the biggest problem is the plot itself. There are just too many situations that don't seem believable - mainly the ongoing hate-love-hate-love relationship with the two main characters. The most idiotic scene has to be where John Ireland locks Dorothy Malone in a small wooden shack with no windows out in the country and she decides to set the shack on fire from the inside to get herself out. Another obvious flaw is why would a beautiful and wealthy young woman settle for this poor and plain looking loser who could be a murderer? The only two things that save this film from being a complete bomb are Dorothy Malone and some marginally interesting film footage of early 1950's European sportscars racing through the mountains and rural countrysides. But inspite of the serious problems, I found these flaws morbidly laughable at times, and therefore I can at least credit this film for having some minor entertainment value.
As for the DVD, the B&W full screen picture shows lots of film damage and lacks sharpness and at times has contrast problems. There are also several breaks in the continuity of the film, probably due to poor splicing jobs. It's obvious that Alpha found one worn copy of this film and transferred it to DVD without any restoration or re-mastering. The DVD did not have any bonus material.
DVD Quality: D+"
Great 50's Film Noir Classic!! John Ireland Rules!!
viewer | US | 03/16/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"John Ireland rules in this great 50's film noir classic about an innocent escaped convict who kidnaps a beautiful lady and her Jaguar and becomes romantically involved.It's a must see!!"
Not very fast, not very furious
Andrew McCaffrey | Satellite of Love, Maryland | 07/31/2005
(2 out of 5 stars)
"(Note this movie shares its title with a more recent film. Apart from the name and the presence of allegedly fast cars, the two films have nothing in common.)
If you like the interaction between the two main characters, then you'll almost certainly like THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS (1954). However, if -- like me -- you find the relationship shallow and unbelievable, then the rest of the movie will probably fail to impress you too. The problem is that there isn't much else to the film outside of that relationship
The plot is overly simple. A man (John Ireland), wrongly accused of murder, is on the run from the authorities. By necessity, he kidnaps a woman (Dorothy Malone) to make use of her car. It turns out that not only is the car a souped up sports car, but the woman is a race car driver on her way to an international car race (starts in California, crosses into Mexico). Ireland's character decides this is the perfect way to escape the US police and plans to enter the race despite never having raced before.
I can certainly appreciate what the film was attempting. It's a character study. Put two dissimilar people in close quarters and see what happens. Unfortunately, while I like the theory, for me, this film lacks in execution. I just didn't think that the characters had as much substance as the movie thought they did. And the way they eventually feel about each other comes across more as contrived than natural.
I don't understand why Connie (the kidnapped woman) begins the film with absolutely no fear of the criminal. She doesn't know he's an innocent man. All she knows is that he's wanted for murder and has escaped from jail. She's seen him beat a man to unconsciousness. He has a gun and threatens to use it on her and their pursuers. I find it unfathomable that she would be so blasé about the situation. Shouldn't she act at least a little scared of this guy?
There are lots of little moments of illogic throughout this film. Why are the cops so mindbogglingly stupid? At one point a spectator comes up to the man and young woman in a Jaguar, tells them how the police are searching for a man and a young woman in a Jaguar and then obliviously heads off with a cheery farewell. Oh, and in another sequence, a rescue of a car crash victim takes place in which the rescuer actually encourages the head of the victim to flop around all over the place. Neck injuries, guys!
As this is a Roger Corman produced film (more on this later), film buffs will know to expect a very low budget. However, apart from some obvious back-screen projection filming during the driving sequences, the production doesn't really suffer from the lack of money. The problems with this movie stem from the script and not from the production values or the acting.
As an aside, along the way, the "innocent" man gets in a scuffle and assaults a rather large truck driver (by the way, I'm not sure it's exactly justifiable to commit loads of other crimes while on the run from a crime of which you're innocent). I couldn't figure out why this man was familiar to me until I consulted the Internet Movie Database. It's Bruno VeSota, who I fondly remember from the mocking that the MST3K guys gave him in THE GIANT LEECHES (another Roger Corman produced film). Small world.
I'm reviewing the Digiview Productions release of this movie, and their lack of packaging care has struck again. The text on the back of the box proudly states, "The Fast and the Furious was the second film directed by legendary director Roger Corman [...]" Leaving aside the "legendary" descriptor, there is a rather obvious blunder in the statement. Namely that Roger Corman is not the director of this film. According to the credits (and confirmed by the Internet Movie Database), the co-directors were Edward Sampson and star John Ireland. Corman produced the film, he suggested the story, but he did not direct it. Apart from that, the description is flawless.
Despite the problems with the Digiview DVD box, the movie itself is in decent condition as far as sound and picture are concerned. It's not great; there are some places where the film skips and drops out. But it's certainly watchable.
THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS is a film I didn't like, though I can concede to understanding how others would. Even ignoring the central relationship, I found the movie too full of people acting stupid just because the plot requires it. You can get this movie cheap if you look in the right places, but I don't think it's particularly worth it."
Johnny 5 | NY | 11/21/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This film is nothing like the 2001 film of the same name and that's good. John Ireland does a great job being the criminal in this one and Dorothy Malone is good as the head smart woman in a man's world. While the film really does look like Roger Corman found a group of racers and decided to build a film around them, this is definitely not a bad film. It is defiantly a great little classic to watch."
It's not that bad...
inframan | the lower depths | 04/27/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Sure, there's almost no plot, but that Jag is one of the most beautiful cars I've ever seen on the screen and the 2 leads are sexy & there are some some great race & Concours d'Elegance scenes shot at what looks to be Carmel & Pebble Beach. Leave it to Roger Corman to pick his locations where there's plenty of sexy action going on."