30 DAYS OF FANDOR, DAY 7: THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS (1955)

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Day 7: THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS (John Ireland & Edward Sampson, USA, 1955)

A rather ramshackle affair with obviously no budget to speak of; it’s pleasantly low-key, simmering cheerfully without ever actually reaching a full boil. Aside from featuring high-speed vehicles there are no direct connections to the popular franchise (only the title rights, not the story, were purchased for the 2001 reboot), but the film nonetheless managed to launch the storied career of independent filmmaking maverick Roger Corman: just 28 years old, he served as the film’s producer and got the film made in just nine days for a mere $50,000. When it proved to be a success a multi-picture deal soon followed—and he never really stopped cranking out movies after that. My primary interest was in the presence of Dorothy Malone who unfortunately isn’t given much to work with: there are flashes of the earthy high-spiritedness that makes her such an appealing and memorable screen presence—and this happens to catch her just before her 1956 Oscar win for Written on the Wind. Playing a wealthy woman who races cars for fun, her character is frustratingly incoherent: one moment she’s a brash daredevil bridling under gender restrictions, the next she’s simpering pathetically in the passenger seat. Her costar John Ireland co-directed with the film’s editor, Edward Sampson. Not much, but not unenjoyable either.

[Watch The Fast and the Furious on Fandor here.]

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