Gone in 60 Seconds (1974 film)

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Gone in 60 Seconds
Gone in sixty seconds 1974 movie poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byH. B. Halicki
Produced byH. B. Halicki
Written byH. B. Halicki
StarringH. B. Halicki
Eleanor
Marion Busia
Jerry Daugirda
James McIntyre
George Cole
Ronald Halicki
Markos Kotsikos
Music byRonald Halicki
Philip Kachaturian
CinematographyJack Vacek.
Editing byWarner E. Leighton
Distributed byH.B. Halicki Junkyard and Mercantile Company
Release dates
  • July 28, 1974 (1974-07-28) (United States)
Running time105 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$150,000[1]
Box office$40 million
 
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Gone in 60 Seconds
Gone in sixty seconds 1974 movie poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byH. B. Halicki
Produced byH. B. Halicki
Written byH. B. Halicki
StarringH. B. Halicki
Eleanor
Marion Busia
Jerry Daugirda
James McIntyre
George Cole
Ronald Halicki
Markos Kotsikos
Music byRonald Halicki
Philip Kachaturian
CinematographyJack Vacek.
Editing byWarner E. Leighton
Distributed byH.B. Halicki Junkyard and Mercantile Company
Release dates
  • July 28, 1974 (1974-07-28) (United States)
Running time105 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$150,000[1]
Box office$40 million

Gone in 60 Seconds is a 1974 American action film written, directed, produced by, and starring H.B. "Toby" Halicki. It centers on a group of car thieves and the 48 cars they must steal in a matter of days. The film is famous for having wrecked and destroyed 93 cars in a 40-minute car chase scene. This film is the basis for the eponymous 2000 remake starring Nicolas Cage and Angelina Jolie. The car "Eleanor" appears in both films.

Plot[edit]

Maindrian Pace (H.B. "Toby" Halicki) is an intelligent, respectable insurance investigator who runs a quality auto chop shop in Long Beach, California. What very few know is that he is the leader of a group of professional car thieves which steals cars around the town and sells them remodeled for a good price.

One day, a South American drug lord arrives at Pace's office and offers him $400,000 to steal 48 specific cars to be delivered to the Long Beach docks within five days. The cars are all very high-end, ranging from Ford Mustangs and Cadillacs to Stutz to rolls Royce and many high end big block engines. limousines and race vehicles, making the order difficult to fill within the time limit, but Pace still wants the money.

Mapping out a basic strategy, the gang begins to scout out their targets, which have all been given female names. One example is a yellow 1973 Ford Mustang, code named "Eleanor". As an insurance industry insider, Pace does have one small idiosyncrasy when it comes to stealing cars: all of the vehicles the gang steals must be insured, because Pace wants to make sure the owners get the insurance money for their cars.

The thieves carry out their plan easily at first but run into a couple of obstacles. First, a white Cadillac the gang steals is revealed to have several kilos of heroin stashed in the trunk. Against his brother-in-law Eugene's suggestion to sell the heroin on the side, Pace has the Cadillac and its contents burned at a remote location. Then they discover the "Eleanor" they stole is not insured, after its owner posts a notice on the local newspaper. After pleas from his fiancée Pumpkin Chace, he decides, much to the chagrin of his buddies, to return it. After that, they manage to get 47 cars stolen and delivered.

On the day before the deadline, a disguised Pace spots another "Eleanor" at a radio station in Long Beach and prepares to steal it, but is unaware the police have been alerted after his brother-in-law sold him out anonymously following a fight over the stolen Cadillac. As a result of the tip-off, two detectives (Butch Stockton and Phil Woods) confront a disguised Pace as he is about to drive out of the Car park. except the car alarm goes off so Pace gets out from the car to take out the fuse that makes the car alarm go off then Butch And Stockton chase after the stolen Eleanor This results in a 34-minute car chase (in which 93 vehicles are destroyed) that spans from Long Beach to Carson. During the chase, Pace drives a battered "Eleanor", which belongs to the radio DJ of Constant Country K-Fox, who is giving updates on the chase but doesn't know it's his car, into a 30-foot jump over a prior car crash, losing the police in the process.

Pace is now desperate because the car is almost destroyed. Minutes later, Pace spots another yellow "Eleanor" Mustang pulling into a car wash. He asks for his car to be washed and then dupes the owner of the other Mustang into reporting to the manager's office. He subsequently leaves the car wash with the other Mustang, switching the license plates and removing his disguise. The Mustang owner faints at the sight of the wrecked "Eleanor" exiting the car wash machine while the manager is arrested by the police, who mistake him for Pace.

Production[edit]

Gone in 60 Seconds was classified as an independent film. H. B. Halicki wrote, starred, directed, produced and even did his own stuntwork in the film, which, at the time, was phenomenal.[citation needed] In a contemporary context, however, the portions of the film preceding the chase sequences are seen as typical of a badly acted 1970s movie. Halicki employed family and friends (instead of professional actors) to play parts in his movie to keep the budget low. Therefore, the acting is somewhat substandard when compared to other films of the time. The characters depicted as being members of the emergency services were actual police officers, firemen, or paramedics. The then-mayor of Carson, California, Sak Yamamoto, also appeared as himself.

All of the police cars damaged in the film, as well as the garbage truck that overturns, three fire trucks, two waiting for the cars to clear, and another one stopping to put out a fire, were bought at city auction by Halicki in 1972, for an average price of $200 each. They sat in an empty lot for over a year until production on the movie began in 1973. The fire trucks seen on the Vincent Thomas Bridge during the main chase were real Long Beach FD units on their way to an emergency call. The "crash" staged for the film was blocking both lanes and they could not get past until the cars were cleared. Halicki asked the camera crew to film them in case he found a place and time to fit the shots into the movie.

There was no official script, apart from several pages outlining main dialog sequences. Much of the action/dialog was improvised and ad-libbed by the cast and crew as they went along. This caused many problems for the editor, Warner E. Leighton, who never knew what footage was being dumped on him or where in the movie it belonged. In the DVD audio commentary, he described the script for the construction site scenes of the main pursuit as a piece of cardboard with a circle on it. Halicki pointed at it and said, "That's the dust bowl. We went around it twice. There's your script."

The pursuit is the longest car chase (40 minutes) in movie history and takes Pace through five cities as he attempts to lose police. Nearly every civilian vehicle seen in close proximity to the main chase (especially in downtown Long Beach) was owned by Halicki. This resulted in several of their being seen multiple times in the 40-minute sequence. The second "Eleanor" that Maindrian steals from the car wash, and the white Ford that he and Stanley spend much of their time in, are visible parked in one street that Maindrian turns onto before hitting the boat in Long Beach. The white Ford also shows up in many other shots.

Locations[edit]

The workshop scenes at Chase Research were filmed at Halicki's real-life workshop, and occasionally filming would stop for several days so he could repair cars to earn money and continue production.

Vehicles[edit]

Stunts[edit]

The car that flips during the earlier night-time chase in Torrance was overturned by six men lifting it up from one side. The film was later skip-framed to create the desired effect.

The garbage truck that overturns when two police cars smash into its side was pulled over at the precise moment two tow trucks hit the cars. Cables can be seen attached to the top of the garbage truck as it topples.

To achieve the effect of cars sliding into each other when hit by the patrol car at Moran Cadillac, the filmmakers put oil under the tires of the first car to help it slide. According to the commentary track on the DVD, the film company owned only the first two Cadillacs in the row. When it came time to do the stunt, the oil trick worked too well, and many of the agency's own Cadillacs that were for sale were badly damaged. Halicki had to purchase all of them.

The jump scene at the end of the chase is notable and set the standards for a number of subsequent pictures. Acting as the climax to the lengthy chase sequence, the "Eleanor" jump managed to achieve a height of 30' over a 128' distance, a feat which not easily replicable without the use of modern CGI. Halicki compacted ten vertebrae performing this jump. The injury was not serious, although according to director of photography Jack Vacek, Halicki never walked the same again.

Real accidents[edit]

In one scene at the construction area where "Eleanor" has been surrounded, a patrol car roars up a hill in pursuit and overturns. This was a real accident, and the officer inside was nearly crushed when the siren "can" on the roof caved the roof in. The scene was left in.

J.C. Agajanian Jr., who plays a detective in the roadblock sequence at Torrance Mazda Agency, was almost killed when the stunt with "Eleanor" went wrong and the Mustang slammed into his unmarked police car, which he was standing behind.

The scene where "Eleanor" tags a car on the highway and spins into a light pole at 100 mph was a real accident. Halicki was badly hurt and filming was stopped while he recovered. According to people on the set, the first thing Halicki said when he regained consciousness was, "Did we get coverage?" Likewise, the film's opening scene captures a real-life train derailment that was not part of the original shooting script; when Halicki heard about this, he wanted to incorporate it into the film.

General public as extras[edit]

With the exception of a few casted extras, the bulk of the bystanders in the movie are the general public going about their business. This caused several incidents wherein people assumed a real police pursuit was in progress, with many trying to help the accident "victims". For example, in the scene at the Carson Street off-ramp, where the two cars collide after Maindrian drives against traffic, a pedestrian can be seen in the background shouting angrily at the passing police cars for not stopping to help the occupants., and much of the crowd at the gas station where Harold Smith is pulled over after the nighttime Torrance chase were part of a real biker gang, who verbally abused the police officers "arresting" the actor and demanded they leave him alone.

Ronald Halicki, the director's real-life brother who played Corlis Pace in the film, operated the crane that lifted "Jill", the red Challenger, to its fate in the car-crusher at the junkyard.

"In" jokes[edit]

When Maindrian is first telling Atlee about the new contract, a message on the blackboard behind them says, "Sgt. Hawkins called about Vacek case" — a reference to director of photography Jack Vacek. The license plate of the Rolls-Royce outside the airport reads, "HBH," the initials of the film's star/director/writer, H. B. Halicki.

When Pumpkin tells Maindrian that they have to give "Eleanor" back because the car is not insured, Maindrian reads the owner's address from a newspaper: 18511 S. Mariposa Ave, Gardena. This was, in fact, Halicki's home address at the time.

Early in the film, when the boys are stripping down the Challenger, they are conversing about how Atlee became a "professional". Atlee says, "Butch Stockton was a professional and he got caught." Butch Stockton is the driver of 1-Baker-11 in the film.

Cast and crew[edit]

ActorRole
H.B. "Toby" HalickiMaindrian "Vicinski" Pace
Marion BusiaPumpkin Chase
Jerry DaugirdaEugene Chase
James McIntyreStanley "Sage" Chase
George ColeAtlee Jackson
Ronald HalickiCorlis Pace/The Crane Operator
Markos KotsikosUncle Joe Chase
Christopher J.C. AgajanianHimself (the host of Ascot Park)
Gary BettenhausenHimself (the King Midget racer)
Parnelli JonesHimself (Parnelli Jones Enterprises owner)
Terence H. WinklessLyle Waggoner's Car Cleaner (Roy's Auto Detail)
Butch Stockton1-Baker-11 Detective (Driver)
Phil Woods1-Baker-11 Detective (Passenger)
Wally BurrMale Police Dispatcher
John HalickiSgt. Hawkins
Hal McClainHimself (Constant Country K-Fox announcer)
Jonathan E. FrickeHimself (Constant Country K-Fox interviewer)
J.C. Agajanian, Jr.Light Blue Unmarked Detective
Sak YamamotoHimself (City of Carson mayor)
Edward AbrahmsHarold Blight Smith
Edward BookerLowrider
Anthony ColeLowrider
Michael ColeLowrider
Mark ColeLowrider

Home video releases[edit]

In 2000, Denice Shakarian Halicki and her business partner Michael Leone, under the banner Halicki Films, released the 25th anniversary remastered edition on DVD and VHS to American viewers. This special remastered edition contained a completely reworked image, with a newly cleaned up print compared to the grainy, dirty, and unsatisfactory previous version. In May 2005, a Region 2 DVD was released in Europe.

The pre-release version of the movie can be seen (albeit in still frame form) on the 25th Anniversary DVD. By accessing the hidden "Easter Egg", one can watch an older version of the film — possibly a pre-release version — as the first half of the movie has a different order and additional scenes. At this time it is unknown whether this version will ever be released to the public in full form.

In the Speed Channel broadcast of the movie, a documentary, hosted by Denice Halicki, is shown before the beginning of the film. The documentary described the production processes of the movies produced by H.B. Halicki as well as his life.

On October 16, 2012, Denice Halicki and Leone, under the banner Halicki Films, released the Gone in 60 seconds DVD/Blu-ray combo pack. It includes a rare interview with Lee Iacocca.

The 48 cars stolen in the film[edit]

#YearsAutomobilesCodes
11974Cadillac Fleetwood 75Marion
21974Cadillac Fleetwood 75Barbara
31973Cadillac Fleetwood 75Lindsey
41972Cadillac Fleetwood 75Dianne
51971Cadillac Fleetwood Seventy-FiveNicole
61972Cadillac Fleetwood Seventy-FiveRuby
71972Lincoln ContinentalJulie
81971Freightliner WFT 6364Frances
91973Cadillac Coupe DeVilleMary
101972Mercedes-Benz 450SEJoanne
111930Hudson Motor Car CompanyBeverly
121974Cadillac Coupe DeVillePatricia
131974Lincoln Continental Mark IVRuth
141927Citroën B14 ConduiteElizabeth
151971Rolls-Royce Silver ShadowTerri
161924Rolls-Royce Silver GhostEileen
171972Plymouth BarracudaSusan
181970Jaguar E-TypeClaudia
191959Rolls-Royce Phantom VRosie
201970Rolls-Royce Silver ShadowMaria
211972Ferrari Daytona 365 GTB/4Sharon
221970Rolls-Royce Silver ShadowKathy
231953Chrysler Coupe EleganceAlice
241973Cadillac Fleetwood Station WagonLeona
251971Rolls-Royce Silver ShadowKelly
261971Cadillac EldoradoNancy
271973Jensen InterceptorBetty
281971Citroën SMPatti
291962Ferrari 340 AmericaJudy
301966Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud IICarey
311966Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud IIIJackie
321973Cadillac EldoradoLaurie
331972Maserati Ghibli CoupeSandy
341971Chevrolet VegaChristy
351969Chevrolet Corvette StingrayMichelle
361967Lamborghini MiuraTracy
371969De Tomaso MangustaMarilyn
381971De Tomaso PanteraMaxine
391968Intermeccanica Italia GFXLorna
401971Chevrolet Corvette StingrayJean
411949Ferrari V12Paula
421966Lotus Europa S1Renee
431974Manta MirageAnnie
441971Ford "Big Oly" BroncoJanet
451972Stutz BlackhawkKaren
461957Mercedes-Benz 300SLDorothy
471973Stutz BlackhawkDoris
481973Ford Mustang"Eleanor"

Post-Gone in 60 Seconds[edit]

Marriage, Gone in 60 Seconds 2 and death[edit]

Halicki was introduced to Denice Shakarian in 1983, and in 1986, they were engaged. The couple lived in Southern California and married on May 11, 1989, in Dunkirk, New York.

On June 9, 1989, Halicki and Denice began to shoot Gone in 60 Seconds 2, which was unrelated to his 1974 film. Halicki wanted a new and bigger story about a professional international thief who unwittingly becomes the central figure in a cross-continental duel-to-the-death to locate a secret item and steal it before it falls into the clutches of the most feared man alive.

On August 20, 1989, while filming in Dunkirk and Buffalo, New York, Halicki was preparing for the most dramatic stunt sequence in the film, during which a 160-foot-tall (49 m) water tower would suddenly topple. The stunt went wrong when a cable attached to the tower snapped, shearing off a telephone pole that killed him on impact.

In light of the Gone in 60 Seconds 2 project, and his recent marriage, Halicki's estate faced a number of legal challenges from 1990 to 1994. After seven trials, in 1994, the court released Halicki's films and the associated copyrights to his widow Denice, but she was forced to sell the car and toy collection to pay the legal fees.

Denice plans on finishing her late husband's dream and will make a new Gone in 60 Seconds 2 based on the 1989 unfinished film.

Legacy and remake[edit]

In 2000, Denice kept Halicki's legacy alive by licensing some of her rights and producing the Gone in Sixty Seconds 2000 remake along with Touchstone Pictures and Jerry Bruckheimer.

In its opening weekend, the remake grossed $25,336,048 from 3,006 U.S. theaters, leading all films that weekend. By the end of the film's theatrical run, it had grossed $101,648,571 domestically and $135,553,728 internationally, comprising a total gross revenue for the film of $237,202,299 worldwide.[2]

The popularity of the remake revived that of "Eleanor" (now a 1967 Ford Mustang, not a 1973 model as in the original). A number of car shops started to produce Eleanor-tagged replicas, requiring Denice again to resort to legal action to protect her trademark and copyrights to the Eleanor car character's image. In 2008, she won a case against Carroll Shelby, who had been selling Eleanor replicas without her consent. A 2008 appeals court ruled that "Eleanor" and its likeness are copyrighted.

References[edit]

External links[edit]