Blu-ray Review: Pit Stop (1969)

Pit Stop BR CoverDistributor: Arrow Video

BBFC Classification: 12

Director: Jack Hill

Starring: Brian Donlevy, Richard Davalos, Ellen Burstyn, Sid Haig, Beverly Washburn, George Washburn

There’s nothing gets the adrenaline going than a bit of competitive car racing, and in director Jack Hill’s 1969 action racer Pit Stop the stakes are high as the track is the deadly Figure Eight. Street punk Rick Bowman (Richard Davalos – Cool Hand Luke) is arrested after a street race goes wrong and is bailed out by a race promoter looking for a new driver. Rick is persuaded to race on the Figure Eight against the best drivers around, including the cocky current champion Hawk Sidney (Sid Haig – The Devil’s Rejects), who doesn’t take kindly to the ruthless young newcomer.

Also featuring Ellen Burstyn (The Exorcist), Pit Stop is 90 minutes of effortless cool as classic cars are driven about at reckless speeds and Sid Haig makes wild-eyed threats at just about everybody. Richard Bowman makes for a fine moody hero in the classic James Dean mould and with his Brylcreemed hair and cigarette dangling out of his mouth when he isn’t driving, the film has the air of a late 1950s teenage rebellion drama, despite the fact that the main cast are all around 30 years of age. The pacing does take a bit of a dive about halfway through and the film could have easily been trimmed a little bit but the race scenes are well staged and all of the performances draw you right in to the competitive world of racing, with Sid Haig being the most notable actor given his stature among genre fans today (and the fact he has hair in this film), and with a bundle of extras including a commentary from Jack Hill, interviews with Sid Haig and producer Roger Corman, and a featurette detailing the restoration of the film – which looks superb – this is a decent all-round package that offers much for the B-movie connoisseur to get stuck into… provided they like racing, of course.

Pit Stop BR Cover

Special Features: New audio commentary with Jack Hill moderated by his biographer Calum Waddell, Crash and Burn! – Jack Hill on the making of Pit Stop, Drive Hard – actor Sid Haig speaks about his experience of acting in Pit Stop, Life in the Fast Lane – producer Roger Corman on the genesis of Pit Stop, Restoring Pit Stop – restoration demonstration by technical supervisor James White, original trailer, reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Jay Shaw, collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by critic Glenn Kenny and musicologist and writer Gray Newell on the films soundtrack, illustrated with original stills and artwork.

UK Release Date: 7th April 2014

Arrow Films – Website

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One thought on “Blu-ray Review: Pit Stop (1969)

  1. Pingback: Blu-ray Review: Spider Baby (1967) | Ancient Slumber

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