The Fast and the Furious
Crime, Drama, Mystery | 73 Mins | Released: 1955
Director: John Ireland
Starring: John Ireland, Dorothy Malone, Bruce Carlisle, Iris Adrian, Marshall Bradford, Bruno VeSota, Byrd Holland
Our Rating: 6
Charged with a murder he did not commit, truck driver Frank Webster (John Ireland) has broken out of jail. While on the run, and the subject of radio news reports, he is cornered in a small coffee shop by a zealous citizen who is suspicious of the stranger. Frank manages to escape and, as he gets away, kidnaps a young woman named Connie (Dorothy Malone).
Frank drives off with Connie in her Jaguar sports car. She soon proves a difficult hostage, trying to escape a few times, which leads him to treat her more roughly than they both would prefer. This mutual struggle soon leads the two to fall in love.
Continuing to elude police, the couple slips into a cross-border sports car race, which Frank plans to take advantage of in order to escape into Mexico. Faber (Bruce Carlisle), one of Connie’s friends, is wary of the new stranger driving her car and tries to find out more about Frank.
During the race, Frank gives up his chance to escape by coming to the aid of Faber who has crashed. Out of sympathy for Frank and a desire to be with him, Connie informs the police of his plan to reach Mexico so he might face trial and be acquitted, At the last moment, Frank also decides it is better to turn himself in and somehow find a future with Connie. The race ends with his imminent capture by the police.
The working title of The Fast and the Furious was Crashout.
The film was shot in 10 days. Corman says he “… set up a little of the racing car business because I was interested in that, and I did some of the second unit stuff. But I didn’t direct as such.” The deal that Corman set up included having the local Jaguar dealer donate his cars as well as having scenes take place at the Monterey race track. Most of the exteriors were shot around Malibu and Point Dume, California. Corman also subbed as a driver in the second of the Jaguar XK120 race cars.
After weighing offers from Columbia, Allied and Republic, Corman made a deal for The Fast and the Furious to be picked up for distribution by a new company, American Releasing Corporation. It later became American International Pictures.
Corman says that Ireland only appeared in the film on the condition he could direct it. “John did a fine job directing on a nine-day shoot with a budget of $50,000,” said Corman later. After having to operate as a second unit cinematographer and director, Corman realized he wanted to direct.”It was after that film that I decided to become a director.” Corman also said that Dorothy Malone “had left her agent and, having no work, accepted a part for next to nothing.”