Written by Double Dragon
Wednesday, 04 August 2010 23:37


The text of this article is written by and copyright D S Brown. Photos on book covers and movie posters are copyrighted to the individual studios and publishers who are not affiliated with OOCC.


BAIL JUMPERS (April 13, 1990)

CAPOTE (Sep 2, 2005)- see entry for IN COLD BLOOD


FREEWAY (Aug 23, 1996)

THE GETAWAY (Dec 13, 1972)

IN COLD BLOOD (Dec 14, 1967)

IN COLD BLOOD- TV miniseries (Nov 24, 1996)

INFAMOUS (Oct 13, 2006)- see entry for IN COLD BLOOD

KALIFORNIA (Sep 3, 1993)
THELMA AND LOUISE (May 24, 1991)

WILD AT HEART (Aug 17, 1990)


ROAD TRIP CRIME MOVIES chronicle characters on the run from the law. The chase, escape or danger of capture drives the plot. Crimes that occur in the course of a road trip or criminals on a road trip don't automatically qualify the film for this section without a chase or evasion motivating the trip.

THE FUGITIVE movie adaption would fit these criteria, but since it is discussed in relation to the TV series in THE FUGITIVE section of ROADTRIP MEDIA it doesn't appear here.

EASY RIDER doesn't qualify for this section even though crimes abound in the film. The protagonists use the proceeds of a drug deal to finance their road trip and are murdered at various stages of the film. In EASY RIDER, the road trip itself is not taken in order to commit crimes or evade capture. MY OWN PRIVATE IDAHO deals with street hustlers whose mode of transport is a stolen motorcycle, but again, the road trip is not being taken directly because of any crime or fear of detection. Solely the sub genre of crime driven road trips appear in this section.

Chase movies which generally are fueled by a crime are in here despite the fact that arguments could be made for an entirely separate section for these films.


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ANOTHER DAY IN PARADISE (Dec 30, 1998) follows James Woods on a cross country crime spree in his Cadillac hardtop with girlfriend Melanie Griffith. They recruit a young junkie and his girlfriend which leads to some character conflict down the road. The young junkie's girlfriend is suspicious of Woods' paternal routine. She deduces that Woods needs an accomplice as a shield between him and the law, while the protege takes longer to sour on Woods' manipulative ways.


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BAIL JUMPERS (April 13, 1990) follows the young lovers in flight to New York in a low budget road film and comedy.


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DIRTY MARY CRAZY LARRY (May 17, 1974) begins with a supermarket robbery in Stockton, California which immediately becomes a chase. Peter Fonda is a former race car driver pulling crazy stunts while his mechanic Adam Roarke simmers in the sidelines. Mary is a girl Fonda seduced the previous night who jumps into the first escape vehicle, a blue 1966 Chevy Impala four door.

They switch cars to a yellow 1969 Dodge Charger R/T 440, eluding CHP Dodge Polara squad cars and helicopters through a maze of vineyard back roads. There are some good long stretches of high speed running on country roads in both the Impala and Charger.

The stunts are done at real speed. The Impala makes a jump at the start. Things ramp up from there when the Impala drives between two oncoming semi trucks cracking the windshield in the process. Later, a right angle turn is taken at top speed right across the path of an oncoming bus, missing it by inches. The best stunt is probably when the Impala jumps a drawbridge in the process of being raised. The frame of the Impala shoots sparks when it lands and then veers to the right to clear a line of cars parked facing the other way.

The Charger gets into several scrapes, ripping off a cop car door as the cop car pulls out of a flea market. Later the Charger tears out a gas pump hose when cops spot the car during a fill-up. The Charger hits a pickup at high speeds and crunches the front end.

Police cars wipe out in crazy ways including going backwards into a river and jumping through a seatbelt warning billboard.

The police chase is coordinated by Vic Morrow who is a savvy non conformist cop. One of the young troopers is hilarious. Fonda ditches him immediately and writes off his Polara squad car. The trooper comes back with a souped up Polara and screams at Fonda as he stays glued to his tail,

"My top end is unlimited!"

The patrol car gets crushed under a telephone pole. All the patrol cars are 1972 or 1973 Dodge Polaras that seem to be real CHP cars. The black dashboards have discordant white steering wheels which were one of the stipulations of the real CHP when ordering their police cars. The white wheels reflect the heat of California sun.

The director of this film built his reputation on THE AVENGERS TV show and stuck to his guns about the ending of the film despite protests from the studio. He brought in one of his native British actresses, Susan George to pump some life and emotion into the Mary character. Her sassy interactions with Fonda degenerate into teary rejection when he dismisses her. Her need to attach herself to the robbers adds character and energy to the film which may contribute to its continued cult status.


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Sutherland cruises the FREEWAY (Aug 23, 1996) hunting for prey. The film retells Little Red Riding Hood with the big bad wolf as a serial killer hiding behind a mask of respectability, much the way the wolf disguises himself in the fairy tale.


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THE GETAWAY (Dec 13, 1972) begins with Steve McQueen's release from prison, orchestrated by his wife (Ali McGraw). A robbery goes awry immediately and they are on the run from cops and criminals alike. McQueen drives a blue 4 door 1963 Ford Galaxie 500 right through a porch of a house.

The fugitives go through some turbulent personal conflicts that become as intense as the chase itself which spans Huntsville, Texas through El Paso, Texas- about 730 miles of high speed driving in a 1969 4 door post blue Chevrolet Impala and a 1968 4 door post Grey Mercury Monterey. The film was shot in locations through Texas.

Walter Hill's script was based on a Jim Thompson book. Thompson's retro noire style ensures that he continues to sell books even to this day for Black Lizard Vintage Crime publishing. Walter Hill directed THE DRIVER. McQueen's character 'Doc' reaches the breaking point during prison scenes of him running the textile machines and lying in his cell, and playing chess with an old man on the yard. He tells his wife he's for sale and she goes to facilitate his release through a prominent businessman.

The business man arranges a bank robbery to cover up misappropriated funds. Unknown to McQueen part of the price of his release from prison was his wife going to bed with the businessman. This act spurs Ali McGraw to shoot the businessman which sets off not only the road trip chase, but ignites a seemingly irresolvable rage and resentment inside 'Doc' against his wife for the duration of the chase.

One of the best scenes occurs in a train station when a hustler cons the wife out of her suitcase unaware that it contains $500,000.00. McQueen's hunt for him is nerve wracking. Fans of shoot em up will not be disappointed by director Sam Peckinpah's bloodbath scene in the hotel near the end of the film.

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IN COLD BLOOD is the one of the first nonfiction books written in the style of a novel, spawning the True Crime genre of writing. Since the time of publication there has been criticism of distortion of actual events to suit narrative purposes. Capote's experimental 'novel' examined the characters behind the Nov 15, 1959 senseless, stupid mass murder of a happy well liked moral family in Kansas. The book was serialized in the NEW YORKER beginning Sep 25, 1965. The book was published in Jan, 1966.

in cold blood book

The first movie version of IN COLD BLOOD was filmed with actors who resembled their real life counterparts. Real life people and locations were used whenever possible. The film was shot in black and white and released Dec 14, 1967. The reverie that can occur when travelling comes to life in a scene where Robert Blake as one of the killers rides in on a Greyhound bus. Blake lugs all of his stuff with him and goes off into a dream world in the mirror of a bus station bathroom mirror. The trip taken by the killers to get to the murder site and the subsequent flight in various cars as far south as Mexico spans a large part of the film. Details of the confession are revealed on a ride to trial in a police motorcade.

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in cold blood film life may 12 67

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The soundtrack by Quincy Jones is incredibly eerie and intense, and can be jarring to the extreme. One of the best soundtracks out there, it was released by Colgems Records.

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The film was later remade under the same title in a color TV miniseries (Nov 24, 1996) with Eric Roberts as the killer, Perry Smith.

Later, two films came out simultaneously detailing Capote's life. Both films touch on the murders and the killers' odyssey with the main focus on the relationship between Capote and Perry Smith. CAPOTE (Sep 2, 2005) starred Philip Seymour Hoffman as Capote and Clifton Collins, Jr. as Smith. INFAMOUS (Oct 13, 2006) starred Toby Jones as Capote and Daniel Craig as Smith.

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KALIFORNIA (Sep 3, 1993) follows a road trip traveled by two hipster writer/ photographer chroniclers of serial killers. The need for gas money motivates them to take on two strangers. They revisit murder sites oblivious to the fact that they have real live serial killer Brad Pitt and his girlfriend riding with them in their black 1963 Lincoln Continental convertible. Brad Pitt does a great job as the Southern boozing thug until his characterization gets lost in the overblown ending filmed around Amboy, on old Route 66.


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NEON SIGNS (1996) has lots of desert filmed on location in California City, Boron and Mohave, California. Sets use real life old retro 'motor court' motels and a classic Caddy. Plenty of double crossing and conning, too.


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THELMA AND LOUISE (May 24, 1991) rides the edge between being a message film, a buddy film, feminist film and a crime film. The trip is motivated by a police chase, and crimes are committed enroute which nudges the film into this section. The freedom and emancipation the characters experience while fleeing in their 1966 Ford Thunderbird convertible escalates until there is no way back. The elation that eluded them in normal life is fleeting and impossible to maintain except briefly on their escapist road trip.

Harvey Keitel does a terrific job as the sympathetic cop tracking them who tries to avert tragedy. A piece of trivia: Brad Pitt appears as a hitchhiker in this film who robs them. He also hitched a ride in KALIFORNIA with more grim results.

The movie car was auctioned off with signatures of the movie stars on it and extensive documentation. The Thunderbird VIN is 6Y85Q105070. It was a Turquoise convertible with white interior and 428 engine. Brad Pitt signed the rear seat arm rest, and Geena Davis signed the sun visor.


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THUNDERBOLT AND LIGHTFOOT (May 23, 1974) is Michael Cimino's first film (writing and directing). It broke new ground for Clint Eastwood, allowing him to slightly ratchet down his stoic screen image. Clint is a bank robber hiding out from disgruntled ex partners. When they catch up with him, he pairs up with young drifter Jeff Bridges in a stolen Firebird. They travel together on a road trip that spans open vistas in a stolen 1973 Plymouth Fury and a stolen Riviera ending with a ferry ride downriver in Idaho. Clint and Jeff team up with the gang to rob the bank again. The film takes time to follow quirky tangents that lead down dead ends that current films would not have time for, much the way the characters follow the landscape in their travels. An entertaining buddy film with Bridges gradually winning over the elder Eastwood. The end of the film shows a glimpse of the last car they will road trip in: a White Cadillac Eldorado convertible with a Maroon interior.

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David Lynch was the first to rework a classic tale for his road film called WILD AT HEART (Aug 17, 1990). Lynch sewed in references to the WIZARD OF OZ in his adaption of one section of a Barry Gifford story about Sailor (Nicolas Cage) and Lulu (Laura Dern). Willem DeFoe as Bobby Peru is one of the most sinister scary characters to appear in a Lynch film. Robert Blake in LOST HIGHWAY (Feb 21, 1997) as Mystery Man might slightly trump this role, but just barely.



Last Updated ( Tuesday, 27 June 2017 21:16 )