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Should be titled 42: The Lee Petty Story
...which is what the film is actually about. I would imagine that it was titled the way it was because Richard Petty is a big name in racing, but no one from that era remembers his father Lee. A very strange and cheesy drive in film on the life of the Petty family. The story is very disjointed, most of the facts are incorrect, the acting is horrible (except for Darren McGavin, who's always good), and the non actors (Maurice and Richard Petty, mainly) don't add a whole lot to the movie. But, it's still watchable, if only for the footage of early Nascar racing that's sprinkled throughout the film (even though you see footage from several different eras in one race, particularly during the 1961 Daytona qualifier race where Lee was critically injured). A few of the incidents shown really did happen, like Lee protesting a win by Richard so that he could win. Less accurate is the portrayal of Curtis Turner, who supposedly got Lee into racing and was banned from Nascar for trying to unionize the drivers. The part about being banned was true, but there's no evidence that Turner and Petty were anything more than competitors. There's a great story out there waiting to be filmed about the Petty family, but this one isn't it.
- Nov 22, 2006
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