Journal: Drivers' Cinema: Gone in 60 Seconds (1974)

Drivers’ Cinema: Gone in 60 Seconds (1974)

By Andrew Schneider
November 27, 2013

Gone in 60 Seconds (1974) was written, directed, and produced by H.B Halicki. This well-known flick follows a team of professional car thieves who double as insurance employees. They are commissioned by a South American drug lord to hijack a slew of automobiles. Their plan to acquire the cars is unique and well thought out as they grab the totaled cars from wreck yards and replace the parts from the totaled cars on the new cars. Impressively, the thieves are able to steal all but one of the 48 cars. The one missing link is none other than the infamous 1971 Eleanor Fastback. The film portrays the stealing of the cars but ultimately centers on the final chase that takes police through five different cities in Southern California.

This film provides a nice showing of rare automobiles. The 1970 Dodge Challenger that appears in the opening sequence of the film is in my favorite color. The car is later involved in a somewhat of a chase. This chase in particular is entertaining, as the car is hitched to a tow truck that is running from police. Be prepared to close your eyes shortly after, because watching the car being crushed is something I could hardly bear. The most unique car in the film is the yellow Manta Mirage, and it produces the finest exhaust note as well. Additionally, getting to watch a 1968 Intermeccanica Italia GFX take off is pretty awesome.  Finally, last but not least is the 1971 Ford Mustang code-named “Eleanor”. This car is really one of the only cars that is driven hard and fast in the film. This is one of the main differences between the original film and the remake released in 2000. The remake of the film features more of the stolen cars being driven instead of mainly focusing on the Eleanor’s wild chase.

At times the plot is a little iffy and the exposition becomes a little too obvious, but what more could you ask from a B-level ’70s flick. I would recommend this film for the near 40-minute chase scene that finishes the movie. It’s captivating and the stunts will leave you on the edge of your seat. True car enthusiasts will find some very enjoyable moments in the film, so if you haven’t seen this classic tune in and buckle up for a wild ride.

Click here to pick up the DVD from Amazon.

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Ae Neuman
Ae Neuman
10 years ago

this film is total dreck, even the bluray is awful.
bad picture, worse sound, non-original soundtrack as the original songs are tied up in internecine wrangling over hwo owns the rights.
inho the 2000 nicolas cage remake is a superior film in every way.

Rodney Wren
Rodney Wren
10 years ago

I tell you. You have to be a Serious car guy to get through the bad acting in this movie. I actually started an online model car business several years ago and this Eleanor was one of my hottest sellers. Great car chase movie though.

Andrew Adamides
Andrew Adamides
10 years ago

Just to clarify, Eleanor is supposed to be a 1973 Mustang (note the position of the lights in the grille in the images here) but is actually a 1971 Mustang made up to look like a ’73. Eleanor still exists and is owned by Denice Shakarian Halicki, the widow of producer/director/writer/star HB Halicki who created [i]Gone in 60 Seconds[/i] and it’s semi-sequel, [i]The Junkman[/i] (AKA [i]Gone in 60 Seconds 2[/i]).

Some of the posters you show (the ones with the Jensen Interceptor) have imagery from the 1977 Joe Don Baker/Stockard Channing film [i]Speedtrap[/i]. They may actually be [i]Speedtrap[/i] posters from territories where the film was retitled something along the lines of [i]Gone in 60 Seconds 2[/i] (well, something with a “60” in it as that’s all I can read!) to try and tie it to the earlier movie as I’ve never seen an actual [i]Gone in 60 Seconds[/i] poster that didn’t feature the correct picture of Eleanor.

Also, it’s been well recorded elsewhere, the DVD is a somewhat compromised viewing experience as the original music was replaced with generic tracks, which rather detracts from the atmosphere. You need to find it on VHS to get the best out of it. The original songs composed by Philip Kachaturian are available online. Trivia note; country legend Hoyt Axton provided songs for and appears in [i]The Junkman[/i]. Instead of paying him in cash, Halicki gave him a 1960’s Rolls-Royce.

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