Grand Theft Auto (1977)
USA / English
"See the greatest cars in the world destroyed!
"Teenage carnappers go wild in the funniest car movie ever; in Ron Howard's directorial debut.
Fasten your seat-belts.
A young couple Sam and Paula are planning to be hitched, but when they
confront Paula's influential parents about it. They won't have any of
it, and beg her to marry the snobby, rich Colin. Instead she and Sam
steal her father's Rolls Royce and head to Las Vegas to elope. From
this a large road chase eventuates with Colin calling a radio station
to announce a $25,000 reward for Paula. While on their tails, Colin's
mother Vivian joins in with another $25,000 for his return. Soon
Paula's father has got out the big guns to stop them, while plenty of
nutty people join in chase for the doe and the local radio station DJ
happens to be commentating the action in a hovering helicopter.
Just sit back, and soak it all up. Following the success of Ron
Howard's starring vehicle "Eat My Dust". Another chance was on offer,
and this follow up had Ron Howard kicking off his directorial debut
under the watchful eye of producer Roger Corman and what we get is
purely light-headed fun with non-stop bustle and chaos ensured. This
tight budget drive-in, b-film is a madcap chase comedy all the way,
which is ebulliently staged and provides such a rush due to Howard's
concisely economical and desirable direction. The animatedly mindless
screenplay, which is penned by Ron and his father Rance Howard crackles
with plenty of freedom to cluster and stretch out the story with mini
sub-plots, clever visual gags, highly witty dialogues and a circus show
of colourful characters. The concept is simple, old-school and
cartoonish, but Howard's knowledgeable timing and honest tailoring lets
the film open up naturally with its crackerjack pacing that never lets
the momentum slip and expansively robust and tightly choreographed
stunts that lead onto a smash-a-thon of fast and stolen motor vehicles
ending in flourish of explosions. Howard captures many well-displayed
images. Helping out behind the scenes, is that of Joe Dante's airtight,
sped-up editing to Gary Graver' sharply inventive cinematography and
giving the film some heart is the casually, cosy music score that can
spruce up when needed. Being shot on location in open desert back roads
gave it a down 'n' dirty feel of authenticity. Attached to it are
joyful performances from the entire cast who like to gesture a lot.
Nancy Morgan shines excellently in a sprightly cheeky turn as Paula and
Ron Howard amusedly sits on cruise control as Sam. The Corman-regulars
that co-star on this one range from the eccentrically self-absorbed
performance by a fantastic Don Steele, Clint Howard, Rance Howard and a
minor appearance by Paul Bartel. Marion Ross and Paul Linke are a riot
as Vivian and Collin Hedgeworth. Playing Paula's snotty parents are the
enjoyably comic Elizabeth Rogers and Barry Cahill. Also Jim Ritz, Hoke
Howell and Garry Marshall give capable, snappy and crazy support. Oh,
they don't make 'em like this anymore. Man, these type of spirited
features really put these wannabe shallow Hollywood dosh to shame.
Something about these outings just seem to stay fresh.
"Grand Theft Auto" is a groovy, no-nonsense splurge into high-octane
overload, which is considerably well executed with clarity and
precision for what it is. So go ahead and floor it for one pleasurable
and fulfilling genre romp.