|NIGHT DRIVE (NIGHT TERROR-tv movie) (director: E.W. Swackhamer; screenwriters: Richard DeNeut/Carl Gabler; cinematographers: Frank Beascoechea/Vilis Lapenieks; editor: Aaron Stell; music: Fred Steiner; cast: Valerie Harper (Carol Turney), Richard Romanus (The Killer), Beatrice Manley (Aunt Vera), Nicholas Pryor (Man in Sports Car), Michael Tolan (Walter Turney), Jan Burrell (Waitress), Edward Cross (Dr. Jacobson-voice only), John Quade (Old Derelict), Quinn Cummings (Nancy), Damon Bradley Raskin (Buddy), Gary Springer (Gas Attendant), Gary Barton (Gas Attendant), John War Eagle (Indian); Runtime: 73; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Daniel Selznick/Joel Glickman; MGM; 1977)|
slight story might work for television, but
as a movie it doesn't come close to
channeling Spielberg’s similar
themed legendary made-for-TV brainchild
by Dennis Schwartz
Veteran TV director E.W. Swackhamer ("Man and Boy") adequately directs this made-for-television, damsel-in-distress thriller. The teleplay is by Richard DeNeut and Carl Gabler.
Phoenix, Arizona, the Turney family are moving to
Denver, Colorado, because the patriarch Walter's (Michael
Tolan) firm is transferring him. His wife Carol
(Valerie Harper) is a nervous wreck. Her sister Vera
(Beatrice Manley) is a calming influence, who will fly
with the kids (Quinn Cummings & Damon
Bradley Raskin) to Denver first so that
the parents can drive to Denver together and make the
drive into a second honeymoon.
Phoenix, Carol is left alone in a motel because
Walter's firm keeps him out of town for business. Late
at night Vera calls to tell her sister that their son
is hospitalized and needs her permission for a minor
operation. The harried housewife can't reach hubby and
learns that the Denver airport is closed because of a
snow storm. Even though it's midnight, Carol decides
to take the 16-hour road trip to
Denver alone. Running on a near empty tank, she's
refused service at closing time by two rude gas
attendants (Gary Springer & Gary Barton).
Unable to locate another station, she gets on the
freeway anyway. Carol witnesses a police officer
chasing a speeder and tries to get his attention to
ask where she can get gas, but the cop is executed
with a high-powered rifle (Richard Romanus).
The fearful Carol is then pursued by the crazed
killer, who has seen her face in the headlights. She
must use her wits to get gas, elude the killer and
survive a nerve-wrecking trip.
slight story might work for television, but as a movie
it doesn't come close to channeling Spielberg’s
similar themed legendary made-for-TV brainchild Duel.
That's the memorable sinister thriller where Dennis
Weaver is in peril from a crazed driver.
REVIEWED ON 3/16/2017 GRADE: C+
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ