HELL DRIVERS–A FILM NOIR SPECIAL

This film was shown in early 2013 as part of the San Francisco Film Noir Festival. It shows not the upper class British that got most of America’s press attention, but was more like an urban Grapes of Wrath, focused on the plight of those who were trying to make ends meet. Many in the cast went on to become hugely successful.

HELL DRIVERS

Until the above was screened @ San Francisco’s Castro Theatre, I had no familiarity with it @ all. There was a special tribute to British Film Star, Peggy Cummins & she was there, in person, to meet & greet her fans, newly converted & those already very aware of her contributions to the Film Noir Era. It was very gracious of her to autograph my DVDs that I brought in just for that occasion. This film presented a very nitty-gritty look @ Post World War II real British working class culture. There was no Royalty flitting around from place to place. These were ordinary people Hell-bent, you might say, on just earning enough money to keep the landlords satisfied. If lucky, they had enough extra from their pay to buy food, much of which remained high-priced & under ration for many years after the War was over. It was not an easy film for most Americans to connect with, but I think the pacing of it, the focus on the plight of the poor, made it real, and gave us some history that took the focus from London & palaces, to the people who could not take a daily bath, who had, at most two sets of clothing, and were in a dog-eat-dog world before the term became linguistic parlance. What we got on our side of the Atlantic, in terms of British culture, was usually painted up to show nothing but the very rich & we lost track that the average person there was not having an easy time of it due to economic restrictions that granted very few opportunities for culture & wealth to trickle their way down. Very well done, written, acted, directed! Bravo!

1937 Buick As Seen During 2012 Film Noir Festival

This 1937 Buick was parked in front of the Castro Theatre for a couple of evenings during the 2012 Film Noir Festival.  My point & click camera skills do not do it justice at all!  This car from yesteryear was truly a thing of beauty.  A detail not visible here is the red tint that was used for the tire rims, was also used for the upholstery.  The overall impact & the design detail was nothing less than spectacular.  The car’s presence added a touch of ‘real time’ to the atmosphere.  It almost was like being in the Woody Allen film, MIDNIGHT IN PARIS–but “only in San Francisco.”  It was a treat to see film star Peggy Cummins (Gun Crazy, Curse of the Demon, Hell Drivers)

This spectacular car was a star in its own right.

This spectacular car was a star in its own right.

being driven off in it–Small wonder that Princess Melita Bonaparte decided to grab the keys next night.  Wonder if the police ever caught up with her?  Or is this just Noir fiction?  

Seriously, it was a car fit for a Princess, fit for a star–a car for all seasons!   Thank you Eddie Muller! This car was the perfect touch of class from another era.