|SPEED (director: Edward L. Marin; screenwriters: Michael Fessler/story by Milton Krims & Larry Bachman; cinematographer: Lester White; editor: Ben Lewis; music: Edward Ward; cast: James Stewart (Terry Martin), Wendy Barrie (Jane Mitchell), Ralph Morgan (Mr. Dean), Una Merkel (Jo Sanderson), Weldon Heyburn (Frank Lawson), Patricia Wilder (Fanny), Walter Kingsford (Uncle Edward Emery); Runtime: 75; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Lucien Hubbard; MGM; 1936)|
|"The mere presence of James
Stewart elevates the B film to passable."
by Dennis Schwartz
produced this low-budget action film. The mere
presence of James Stewart elevates the B film to
passable. Director Edward L. Marin ("Nocturne"/"Johnny
Angel"/"Tall in the Saddle") follows the formulaic
blueprint for such films, and tacks on archive race
car footage. It's based on a so-so story by Milton
Krims & Larry Bachman, and is
expediently written by Michael Fessler.
former race car driver Terry Martin (James
Stewart) is the mechanic and chief test
driver for the NY based Emery Motors, where he works
in Los Angeles at the company's testing facility. The
cars are manufactured in Detroit. Terry's loyal
sidekick mechanic is the comical Gadget (Ted Healy).
attractive Jane Mitchell (Wendy Barrie) comes aboard
as the new head of publicity and attracts the love
interest of the company's chief engineer, Frank Lawson
(Weldon Heyburn), and Terry. The
ambitious test driver has spent the past year
inventing a new carburetor, and the company agrees to
test it after Jane gets company Vice President Dean
(Ralph Morgan) to agree. But Terry is upset that the
pencil-pusher engineer is partnered with him on his
invention, not knowing that it was Jane's idea.
Terry's inferiority complex about being a grease
monkey keeps him away from Jane, even though she
prefers him to the more sophisticated Frank.
the new office manager, Jo Sanderson (Una Merkel), who
worked herself up the ladder from a stenographer
position, pines for Frank. But he only considers her a
dear friend, and goes full blast after Jane.
no one but Mr. Dean knows is that Jane's second name
is Emery and her uncle (Walter Kingsford)
is the head of the big company.
gets his due when he tests his invention at the
Indianapolis 500, at the Memorial Day race, and again
at Muroc, on a dry lake. The pic wraps up with Terry,
despite all the things that go wrong, getting
his invention approved and winning the girl.
REVIEWED ON 5/30/2015 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ