Sag Harbor Cinema continues its tie-in program with The Church’s “Road Rage” exhibit, which runs through September 18, with a new set of high octane titles — Jack Hill’s stock car racing classic, “Pit Stop” (1969); Steven Spielberg’s stunning feature debut, “Duel” (1971); and Quentin Tarantino’s ferocious “Death Proof” (2007) screening from August 27 to September 2.
“Pit Stop” was directed by Jack Hill (“Spider Baby,” “The Big Bird Cage,” “Switchblade Sisters”), a UCLA student of music, who became a gifted Roger Corman alumni. Hill is recognized as one of Quentin Tarantino’s favorite filmmakers and one who had a huge influence on his films. Fascinated by the chaotic destructiveness of figure 8 racing, Hill turned a typical exploitation premise — speed, twisted metal and sex — into an object of art. While “Pit Stop” delivers on the adrenaline rush promised in its poster —“Raw guts for glory! Flesh against steel!”— Hill creates a character study with cinematic integrity, filmed in beautiful black and white (a choice that didn’t help at the box office). The 7:30 p.m. screening of “Pit Stop” on August 28 will be followed by a special Q&A with collector, art and film scholar, Robert Rubin.
“In the world of exploitation films, Jack Hill is a prince,” said Sag Harbor Cinema artistic director Giula D’Agnolo Vallan. “I had the pleasure of showing his work in Italy several years ago and he helped us locate this wonderfully restored version of ‘Pit Stop,’ one of his strongest and most visually striking films.
“I am thrilled that Bob Rubin is a big fan of this film and will bring to SHC his passion for cars, art and cinema for a Q&A,” she adds.
Tickets will be available at sagharborcinema.org. Sag Harbor Cinema is at 90 Main Street, Sag Harbor.
“Road Rage” On The Big Screen:
Dir. Jack Hill
USA, 1969; 92 mins, in English
A slam-bang crash-o-rama, beautifully directed by exploitation poet Jack Hill, Richard Davalos (“East of Eden”) stars as a greaser who winds up in jail after a street race gone wrong. Bailed out by a veteran race promoter, Davalos is put on the deadly “figure-8” racing circuit where he comes up against a maniacal serial winner (a deliciously over-the-top Sid Haig). Equal parts hi-octane race documentary and deeply-rendered character study, “Pit Stop” is arguably Hill’s greatest artistic achievement. An outstanding supporting cast including Brian Donlevy (“The Great McGinty”), Ellen Burstyn (“The Exorcist”) and Beverly Washburn (“Spider Baby”) round out this recently restored, nearly-lost miracle of low-budget thrills.
Dir. Steven Spielberg
USA, 1971; 90 mins, in English
A businessman (Dennis Weaver) passes an old tanker truck on his way to an appointment with a client and sparks a relentless pursuit by the offended truck driver. The businessman is driven to paranoia by the faceless truck driver who repeatedly attempts to kill him. An empty desert highway is the setting of the hunt in Steven Spielberg’s feature debut — a man versus the monster/machine tale, scripted by the great writer Richard Matheson. Originally shot for television, the film opened in US theaters in 1973, with an additional 15 minutes of footage.
Dir. Quentin Tarantino
USA, 2007; 127 mins, in English
In this quintessential grindhouse slasher, Mike (Kurt Russell) is a professional stuntman who likes to take unsuspecting women for deadly drives in his free time. He has doctored his car for maximum impact; when Mike purposely causes wrecks, the bodies pile up while he walks away with barely a scratch. The insane Mike may be in over his head, though, when he targets a tough group of female friends on their days off from a movie set — including real-life stuntwoman Zoe Bell (who served as Uma Thurman’s double in “Kill Bill”), playing herself. A Bible of the “Road Rage” spirit, it quotes several landmarks of the genre from “Vanishing Point” to “Gone in 60 Seconds” to Russ Meyer psychedelic “Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!” Tarantino —who called “Death Proof” his reimagination of George Cukor’s classic “The Women” — does not believe in the use of CGI for car chases and was also a cinematographer on the film. The cinema will screen “Death Proof’s” extended version, presented at the 60th Cannes Film Festival.