The list of hot rod movies is quite a short one, especially those that are watchable, if you know what we mean. American Graffiti, Two-Lane Blacktop, and the made-for-TV Hot Rod all spring to mind. And while there are other cool, car-oriented films, such as Vanishing Point and Mad Max, they're not really hot rod movies, per se. Well, now there's another to add to the former list.
Deuce of Spades is exceptional in that not only is it a full-length movie with the plot based around a '32 roadster and the love story that is unearthed by its new owner after half a century, but because it was written and produced by a woman with a total lack of experience in the movie world. Faith Granger overcame all obstacles and brought her dream project to fruition, then organized a world premiere showing of the finished movie in the vintage Towne Theater in Fillmore, California, just north of Los Angeles. Built in 1916 and said to be one of the oldest, continuously running cinemas in the country, the location was fitting, as much of the movie was shot in the surrounding area.
As the theater only seats 300, Granger organized two screenings, with lunch on board the old train that features in the movie before each showing, located at the Fillmore & Western Railway Company station a few hundred yards from the theater. The center of Fillmore was closed off to traffic for the day, bands played in the town square, renowned hot rod artist Tom Fritz-who was responsible for the movie promotion artwork-was on hand with a display of his oil paintings in a town center gallery, and in addition to all the cars that appear in the movie being present, two streets were filled with rods and customs, providing a fitting backdrop to the movie premiere.
Bill Hines and Gene Winfield both had cameo roles and were present on that day, and though the remainder of the cast were unknown actors and actresses, we have a feeling some won't be for long! The locations, costumes, and cars (ignoring a couple of minor period-correctness issues, such as disc brakes on the '34 roadster) in the movie were fantastic, and while the plot revolves around the '32 today and its owner's racing exploits in the past, thanks to flashback sequences (or more precisely, flash-forward sequences as some 65 percent of the movie is set in the past), it's more than just a car movie, the '32 being merely a vehicle, if you'll excuse the pun, to carry the main human interest story line along. Check it out at www.deuceofspadesmovie.com, or rent it through Netflix.