Rick Bowman (Richard Davalos) takes part in dangerous street racing, playing fast and loose with women and the law. When he beats the more experienced Grant Willard (Brian Donlevy in his last performance), Willard sees the opportunity to make money from the talented youngster and introduces him to the latest and most dangerous driving craze, figure 8 racing – cause of countless fatalities. But one man rules the figure 8, Hawk Sidney (Sid Haig)
In the latest Arrow Video addition to its Jack Hill lexicon, Pit Stop is a testosterone filled stock car racing drama. Lovingly restored by technical supervisor James White, who has overseen the likes of The Fury, Time Bandits and Zombie Flesh Eaters.
Hill tells us that Roger Corman asked him to make a movie about stock cars, which was enjoying success at the time. Corman wanted to capitalise on this. Hill agreed but only if he could make an art film. The result was Pit Stop which he wrote, directed and edited and although isn’t one of his best known works, but might be one of his best.
The archetypal components of the sports movie are all present and correct, the single-mindedness, arrogance and life endangering behaviour of Bowman to best his rival Sidney. The build up to the big showdown. Haig is excellent as Sidney, the king of the figure 8 track. With Corman’s demands for swift, cheap productions, Pit Stop does look like thrown together pieces of stock video for brief moments. But Hill manages to pull together a coherent movie from the disparate elements.
Though the film was clearly made on the hoof, Pit Stop still stands up narratively nearly 50 years after its release and you can see elements of its DNA in its modern day contemporaries the Fast and Furious franchise, Days of Thunder and Rush. Hill may not have created the art film he wanted but he did create a powerful one.
Arrow Video’s James White talks about the restoration process for Pit Stop
DVD Special Features
- New High Definition digital transfer supervised and approved by director Jack Hill
- High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentation
- Original mono 1.0 audio (uncompressed PCM on the Blu-ray)
- New audio commentary with Jack Hill moderated by his biographer Calum Waddell
- Crash and Burn! – Jack Hill on the making of Pit Stop
- Drive Hard – actor Sid Haig speaks about his experience of acting in Pit Stop
- Life in the Fast Lane – producer Roger Corman on the genesis of Pit Stop
- Restoring Pit Stop – restoration demonstration by Technical Supervisor James White
- Theatrical trailer
- Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Jay Shaw
- Collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by critic Glenn Kenny and musicologist and writer Gray Newell on the film’s soundtrack, illustrated with original stills and artwork.
Starring Richard Davalos, Brian Donlevy, Ellen Burstyn, Sid Haig
Director Jack Hill
Release Date Monday 7th April 2014