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Sunday, September 14, 2014

Every 40's Boy Had Or Wanted One ...


Where Monogram's Hot Rod (1950) Meets The Road

Kids and their hot rods ... is there a modern equivalent? Does youth any longer care about speed, other than what's achieved w/ vid games or band width? I never souped up an engine, but this Monogram budgeter makes it look like fun. The serious issue was teens using public roads to race, it leading to many then-casualties. Hot Rod is for state-sanctioned, thus safety assured, contests on dedicated tracks, model son James Lydon (as opposed to "Jimmy" of previous work) teaming with stern judge dad Art Baker to make organized racing a reality. To this nod for social responsibility was added jalopies in fast action, doing the very things Hot Rod counsels against; in fact, producer Jerry Thomas called cast and crew back after filming to shoot more chase/race stuff as sweetener. Thomas wanted also to juice casting with former Our Gang members, telling Variety in 6/50 that he'd use them "chiefly for exploitation purposes." Thus came Tommy (Butch) Bond, but no others from the Gang. Maybe they didn't care to be exploited. 1950 was a busy year for Monogram, spokesman producer Scott R. Dunlap announcing sixteen features for release, plus six more under the Allied Artists banner, AA being Mono's upward reaching alter-ego. Hot Rod is pleasingly available from Warner Archive on remastered disc, their customary A+ job.

2 Comments:

Blogger Mike Cline said...

Art (YOU ASKED FOR IT) Baker, Tommy 'Butch' Bond and Sky King's niece Penny (Gloria Winters). Neat.

10:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

The simple chase scene at the end of HOT ROD -- bad guy's car chased by teen hot rod chased by police -- just a few cars, almost never more than one in frame at the same time, tootling along narrow highways and dusty country roads...nothing to it. But it was more exciting than anything in FAST AND FURIOUS 6 (the only one of that series that I've seen). Simply a matter of real cars, real locations, no CGI, and a director who knew just where to put the camera, and an editor who knew just how to put it together.
HOT ROD is nothing spectacular, but it's a wonderful example of low-budget filmmaking simply getting it right.

12:42 PM  

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