DENNIS SCHWARTZ Movie Reviews

THE SPEED LOVERS (director/writer: William McGaha; screenwriters: Fred Tuch/Elaine Wilkerson/story by William McGaha & Fred Tuch; cinematographer: Joe Shelton; editors: Bill Freda/John Fitzstephens/David Moscovitz ; music:  Carleton Palmer; cast: Fred Lorenzen (Himself), William McGaha (Scott Clayton), Peggie O'Hara (Vanessa Hamilton), David Marcus (Pinkerton Bentley), Carol Street (Kitty), Fritz Congdon (Ben 'Flip' Clayton), Bob Montgomery (Announcer), Sharon Sellinger (Hillary), Harry Millard (Mickey), Judy Lewis (Mickey's Wife, Lili), Mike Branford (Ticker), Nancy Berg (Scott's girlfriend); Runtime: 82; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: William McGaha; Something Weird Video; 1968)

"An amateurish "speedsploitation" movie."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

The stock car racing film is almost passable when showing mediocre racing footage at such sites as at Atlanta, Riverside, Daytona Beach, Darlington and Charlotte. Otherwise it's an  amateurish "speedsploitation" movie: its melodrama is weird, the dialogue stinks, the acting is wooden and the pic is a bore. Director/co-writer/star/producer William McGaha ("Bad Girls for the Boys"/"J.C."/"The Shrink") does a bad job acting and directing. The film is based on a story he wrote with Fred Tuch.

Race car driver champion Fred Lorenzen appears as himself, and though not an actor still gives the only performance in the film that's decent. The theme song "Speed Lovers" and another tune called "A Girl I Know" are pitifully sung by Billy Lee Riley. The movie is filled with even worse southern-styled rock music.

William McGaha plays Scott Clayton, the whiny, braggart, unlikable son of Ben (Fritz Congdon). Dad's the popular race car mechanic of Fred Lorenzen, who the kid idolizes. But no one on that racing team wants him as part of the operation. So Scott asks Vanessa Hamilton (Peggie O'Hara), a manager rival of Fred's racing team, about a racing job, and she promises him a job if he can convince his father and Fred to join her team. To give him a further reason to do so, she introduces him to effete millionaire mobster Pinkerton Bentley (David Marcus), who is secretly her boss. Bentley hooks the kid up with slutty go-go girls and promises of other goodies if he can come through. At the time of the big race in Atlanta, the kid is told to either get his pop and Fred on board or there will be consequences to pay.

It should be pointed out that McGaha, one of the worst actors to grace the big-screen, looks too old to play the "punk kid," as his dad looks much younger than him.

REVIEWED ON 3/28/2015       GRADE: C

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"

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