Guilty Pleasures Film Festival 2013

“Gone in 60 Seconds” (1974)

Eleanor, a 1973 Ford Mustang Mach 1, battles it out in "Gone in 60 Seconds" (Halicki Films, 1974)

Eleanor, a 1973 Ford Mustang Mach 1, battles it out in “Gone in 60 Seconds” (Halicki Films, 1974)

This week’s entry is a classic car movie from the 1970s, “Gone in 60 Seconds” (Halicki Films, 1974). Not to be confused with the crappy studio remake in 2000, this film is independent film making at its most, well, crashing-est. The film was written, directed and produced by a California businessman named H. B. Halicki. He cast his own friends and associates in the film and the acting is plain terrible, which I guess adds to its charm. Halicki is also the star of the film, playing Maindrian Pace (I’m not making this up), an insurance salesman by day and a car thief by, well, night and day. Pace gets involved with some shady folks who pay him to steal 48 cars. The last car left to steal is actually the true star of the movie, a 1973 Ford Mustang Mach 1 named “Eleanor.” When the deal goes bad and Pace is ratted out, a fantastic 40-minute car chase happens that has to be seen to be believed. Eleanor gets chased all over Southern California, particularly the city of Long Beach. How Halicki ever pulled off some of these location shots and car stunts absolutely amazes me. I don’t think a film like this could ever be made today. If you like car chases, definitely check it out. “Pursuit is terminated… That is negative — pursuit is not terminated, repeat, not terminated.”

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