HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Man Under Table
Freedom Fields
Settlers
Boy Behind the Door, The
Swords of the Space Ark
I Still See You
Most Beautiful Boy in the World, The
Luz: The Flower of Evil
Human Voice, The
Guns Akimbo
Being a Human Person
Giants and Toys
Millionaires Express
Bringing Up Baby
World to Come, The
Air Conditioner
Fear and Loathing in Aspen
Kandisha
Riders of Justice
Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Maki, The
For Those Who Think Young
Justice League: War
Fuzzy Pink Nightgown, The
Plurality
Scooby-Doo! Moon Monster Madness
Night of the Sharks
Werewolves Within
Honeymoon
King and Four Queens, The
Stray Dolls
Diana's Wedding
Deerskin
Toll, The
Two of Us
Nowhere Special
Rainbow Jacket, The
Crazy Samurai: 400 vs 1
First Cow
Undiscovered Tomb
Being Frank
   
 
Newest Articles
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
Freewheelin' - Bob Dylan: Odds and Ends on Digital
Never Sleep: The Night of the Hunter on Blu-ray
Sherlock vs Ripper: Murder by Decree on Blu-ray
That Ol' Black Magic: Encounter of the Spooky Kind on Blu-ray
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
Let Us Play: Play for Today Volume 2 on Blu-ray
Before The Matrix, There was Johnny Mnemonic: on Digital
More Than Mad Science: Karloff at Columbia on Blu-ray
Indian Summer: The Darjeeling Limited on Blu-ray
3 from 1950s Hollyweird: Dr. T, Mankind and Plan 9
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
   
 
  Checkpoint Speed Kings
Year: 1956
Director: Ralph Thomas
Stars: Anthony Steel, Odile Versois, Stanley Baker, James Robertson Justice, Maurice Denham, Michael Medwin, Paul Muller, Lee Paterson, Anne Heywood, Anthony Oliver, Philip Gilbert, MacDonald Hobley, Robert Rietty, Andreas Malandrinos, Dino Galvani
Genre: Action, Thriller, RomanceBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: The world of international motor racing has its own brand of espionage associated with it, and there are industrial spies willing to steal secrets from one organisation to give to another, which is why O'Donovan (Stanley Baker) is at this Italian factory which manufactures racing cars in the middle of the night. He manages to get what his bosses have been looking for, but he also manages to get spotted, and when the nightwatchman tells him he's just doing his job he is shot dead for his trouble. The spy tries to escape, but the police are quickly on the scene, so the only method of evading them is to shoot at various components to get them to explode, leaving five cops dead. But he does get away...

Except he's still stuck in Italy having been identified in the media and with no path out of the country, which leaves him a liability for the main man at the racing car company he was working for, Warren Ingram (James Robertson Justice), who is keen to see the back of him. Here was the intrigue in this British thriller shot on the Continent: how can O'Donovan make a clean getaway when the massed forces of the Italian police are hot on his heels? The answer to that was the reason Checkpoint became a cult movie among fans of motorsport, as it involved racing footage and plenty of it, for Ingram took it upon himself to devise a scheme that would see his spy paid off and out of his life for good.

If you're thinking, well, that's forward thinking of a British film of the nineteen-fifties to have such a bad guy as its lead character, hold your horses, as while Baker had become a very big star playing two-fisted, dark-hearted rogues, he was not actually the hero, nor was he the anti-hero, that role went to the matinee idol Anthony Steel. He was something of a bad boy in real life, but audiences liked to see him play the goodie, so here he was again with his chiselled features put to good use as race car driver Bill Fraser (as opposed to the actual actor Bill Fraser, who was not anyone's idea of a matinee idol). While Steel proved a major success in his day, time has been less kind to him, and even a film like this was unlikely to have him lingering in the memory.

How unlike Baker, who still has his fanbase thanks to his very modern approach to morally shaded characters, and despite his relatively early death in middle age after a run of movies that were not the hits his fifties and early sixties efforts had been, he remained a star all of his career and was willing to take chances many other leading men were not. You could pick up on that here, a not especially distinguished thriller outside of the depiction of the fast cars haring around picturesque Italian scenery which drew those fascinated by the sport to return to it, for Baker had his magnetism which often made it look as if he were the most committed actor in the production, no matter that this work was not exactly needing such forceful dedication. But thank goodness he was there to lift the material.

O'Donovan and Fraser meet thanks to Ingram's devious machinations that see the former posing as the co-driver of the latter, so he can get out of Italy without the authorities noticing. Well, eventually, as there was a dollop of romance to endure as Steel and his leading lady Odile Versois made eyes at each other in various scenes that may have you wondering what the point of his appearance was when she appeared superfluous to requirements. She did make herself useful in the closing stages of the movie when she tried to alert Fraser's team to the interloper in the passenger seat, but ultimately had very little influence on the outcome of events; nevertheless, these productions liked to have an attractive lady with a non-British accent in them to add a little exoticism, and Versois was present for that. But at least this had a memorably ridiculous finale, action packed as the second half had been, and a fitting comeuppance, if an abrupt one in what was already a brief experience. The action made up for that, once it got going. Music by Bruce Montgomery.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 3369 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
   

 

Last Updated: