Pit Stop (1969)

Not Rated   |    |  Action, Drama, Sport


Pit Stop (1969) Poster

Grant Willard sponsors drivers in a "new" form of race car driving called The Figure Eight. The rise and fall of one such driver is the whole story behind PIT STOP.


6.8/10
570

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  • Pit Stop (1969)
  • Richard Davalos in Pit Stop (1969)
  • Richard Davalos in Pit Stop (1969)
  • Brian Donlevy and Richard Davalos in Pit Stop (1969)
  • Sid Haig in Pit Stop (1969)
  • Sid Haig in Pit Stop (1969)

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10 April 2003 | manuel-pestalozzi
Amazing masterpiece
Recently I watched for the first time Peter Bogdanovich's highly acclaimed "The Last Picture Show". And while watching it, this movie, made only a few years earlier by Jack Hill, came to my mind immediately. Ever since I wonder why I find The Winner so much superior.

The Winner has a similar setting and a story with similar protagonists like Picture Show. Both have Ellen Burstyn. Somehow The Winner is very direct. I suppose that whereas Picture Show was intellectual to the point of resembling a theses on film theory, The Winner shows the artisan's approach. It goes to your heart, not to your brain. I could not explain how it is done technically, but it is very effective.

Although apparently a "cheapie", The Winner is made by good professionals. The story is simple but coherent, straightforward and always entertaining. The acting performances are convincing throughout; there is screen veteran Brian Donlevy, the most peculiar of all "naturals" and definitively one of my all time Hollywood favorites, playing the type of the greedy sports manager. "Cheapie"-star Sid Haig plays a bad boy with appropriate cartoonish zeal, the same can be said of the performance of "the chick", played by Beverly Washburn. The main character, a young racing enthusiast, is presented like a junk yard gladiator: taciturn, brooding and determined - "existentialistic". It all fits. Ellen Burstyn's low-key performance as a racer's wife is extremely touching - her part again compares favorably with the Oscar winning one in Picture Show.

The black and white fotography is excellent, there is a long, almost dreamlike sequence of dragster cars making artful figures in the sand dunes. The soundtrack is fantastic and a good early example of heavy rock music. This is an artful portrait of American provincial youth just before the hippy movement started.

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