Matthew Lickona 2:57 p.m., May 17
The hit-and-run car, with no markings, no license plates, and no driver, belongs properly to the tradition of monster movies instead of car movies; and Elliot Silverstein, the director, dwells not on chases and crashes, but on the rapidly mushrooming sense of alarm and amazement (some of the exclamations recapture the delightful absurdity found in 1950s sci-fi movies: "Wade, that car flew into that house four feet off the ground!'). The personification of the unstoppable speed demon is pretty clever: the ominous cloud of dust or glint of light, far off in the strange Utah landscape, that announces its approach; the panther-like pacing, pouncing, growling; the triumphant horn blasts following every kill; the inscrutable blankness of the headlights and windshield. Of course, the basic premise carries little conviction, and the resolution of the problem, after a drunken deputy sheriff who doubles as a Bible School instructor divines the truth about the ungodly machine, carries still less. But in movies conviction is less a question of subject matter than of shot selection; and Silverstein, heedless of the silliness of the material, maintains high levels of technical ingenuity and emotional intensity throughout. With James Brolin, Kathleen Lloyd, John Marley. 1977.
— Duncan Shepherd
- Rated PG