Two-Lane Blacktop

Two-Lane Blacktop

4.1 7
Director: Monte Hellman

Cast: James Taylor, Warren Oates, Laurie Bird

     
 

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A '55 Chevy takes on a '70 GTO in a race across the Southwest in Monte Hellman's cult favorite. The Driver (James Taylor) and the Mechanic (Dennis Wilson) phlegmatically slouch from race to race, pitting their gray Chevy against any and all gearheads in order to make money for gas and food. They and the tag-along Girl (Laurie Bird) meet their match in "Oh Maybelline"… See more details below

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Overview

A '55 Chevy takes on a '70 GTO in a race across the Southwest in Monte Hellman's cult favorite. The Driver (James Taylor) and the Mechanic (Dennis Wilson) phlegmatically slouch from race to race, pitting their gray Chevy against any and all gearheads in order to make money for gas and food. They and the tag-along Girl (Laurie Bird) meet their match in "Oh Maybelline" fan GTO (Warren Oates), and they all set off on a cross-country race to Washington D.C., with the winner getting the loser's car. But it isn't the end that really counts; it is the process of getting there, as the Girl's fickleness forces the Driver to decide what matters more: endless races or her. Shot on location from a spare script by Rudolph Wurlitzer and Will Corry, Two-Lane Blacktop was trumpeted as the "film of the year" in Esquire magazine before its release. It bombed, and disputes over music rights kept it from home video until 1999, but repertory and TV screenings have gained it an avid following for its automotive detail, flashes of authentic idiosyncrasy, and artfully abstract examination of the urge to forge ahead, whether or not there is anywhere to go.

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Gregory Baird
A hypnotic road trip and an ode to the lonesome highways of America, Two-Lane Blacktop follows two car-obsessed drifters who put up their customized 1955 Chevy in a cross-country race against a straight-from-the-factory 1970 Pontiac GTO. But this skeletal story quickly dissolves into a series of stops for hitchhikers, small town drag races, brushes with the law, and rest stops at an endless succession of small-town diners, motels, and gas stations. The only music is heard through car radios and cafe jukeboxes, and the sparse, nuts-and-bolts dialogue -- the two laconic drifters don't talk about much besides headers and sparkplugs -- ultimately yields to the ever-present rev of engines. No character names here, just "The Driver" (singer James Taylor) and "The Mechanic" (Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys) versus "G.T.O." (a magnificent Warren Oates), with a hitchhiker, "The Girl" (Laurie Bird), along for the ride -- the principals competing for her affection. Directed by the iconoclastic Monte Hellman, Two-Lane Blacktop is a haunting reminder of the often-brilliantly conveyed sense of disaffection and alienation that pervaded American films in the 1970s.
All Movie Guide - Mark Deming
1971 was a banner year for existential road movies, as Two-Lane Blacktop and Vanishing Point hit theaters within four months of each other, but Two-Lane Blacktop has stood the test of time as the stronger, more compelling picture. Monte Hellman's deliberate pacing and sharp widescreen framings capture the drivers' wanderlust and obsession with speed with a determined casualness that allows us to look past the cars and into the minds of the men who drive them. The screenplay by Rudy Wurlitzer and Will Corry captures the characters' personal and philosophical sides while also getting their tech talk right. As The Driver, James Taylor has the determined gaze, even if he's not much on dialogue, and Beach Boys drummer Dennis Wilson is quite good as The Mechanic, half-bright until he starts talking about engines. Laurie Bird is both confounding and charming as the chatty hippie that they pick up along the way, but it's Warren Oates who steals the show, giving one of the finest performances of his career as GTO, a brash braggart whose tall tales change depending on who he's talking to. If Two-Lane Blacktop is a sometimes puzzling film that doesn't reveal all its mysteries on first viewing, Oates's superb performance provides the incentive (and all the reward) you'll need to stick it out to the end.

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Product Details

Release Date:
01/08/2013
UPC:
0715515102414
Original Release:
1971
Rating:
R
Source:
Criterion
Region Code:
A
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Time:
1:43:00
Sales rank:
140

Special Features

Two Audio Commentaries: One By Hellman And Filmmaker Allison Anders And One By Screenwriter Rudy Wurlitzer And Author David N. Meyer Interviews With Hellman, Actor James Taylor, Musician Kris Kristofferson, Producer Michael Laughlin, And Production Manager Walter Coblenz Rare Screen Test Outtakes Performance And Image, A Look At The '55 Chevy Used In The Movie And The Film's Locations In 2007 Color Me Gone, Photos And Publicity Material From The Film Trailer

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
James Taylor Driver
Warren Oates G.T.O.
Laurie Bird Girl
Dennis Wilson Mechanic
David Drake Station Attendant
Harry Dean Stanton Oklahoma Hitchhiker
Richard Ruth Station Mechanic
Alan Vint Man in Roadhouse
Melissa Hellman Child
George Mitchell Driver at Accident
Charles Moore Texas Policeman
Don Samuels Actor
Katherine Squire Old Woman
Rudolph Wurlitzer Hot Rod Driver
Jaclyn Hellman Driver's Girl
James Mitchum Man at Race Track

Technical Credits
Monte Hellman Director,Editor
Richard Bruno Costumes/Costume Designer
Will Corry Original Story,Screenwriter
Gary Kurtz Producer
Michael Laughlin Producer
Ken Swor Asst. Director
Rudolph Wurlitzer Screenwriter

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