HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Adrift
Never a Dull Moment
McQueen
Ugly Duckling, The
Apostle
Distant Voices, Still Lives
Hereditary
Cup Fever
Peril for the Guy
3 Days in Quiberon
Club, The
Best F(r)iends: Volume 1
Pili
Suspect, The
Baxter!
Dead Night
Thoroughbreds
Ghost and the Darkness, The
Strike Commando
Molly
Full Alert
Up the Academy
Darling Lili
Tehran Taboo
Follow That Bird
I, Olga Hepnarová
Finders Keepers
Breadwinner, The
All About Steve
Bad Samaritan
   
 
Newest Articles
Tee-Hee, It's 80s Sci-Fi Horror: Night of the Comet, The Stuff and Night of the Creeps
Chance of a Ghost: The Uninvited and The Ghost and Mrs. Muir
3 Simian Slashers: Phenomena, Link and Monkey Shines
When is a Jackie Chan Movie Not a Jackie Chan Movie? Armour of God and City Hunter
Anytime Anywhere: The Complete Goodies at the BBC Episode Guide Part 2
Anytime Anywhere: The Complete Goodies at the BBC Episode Guide Part 1
I-Spy Scotland: The Thirty Nine Steps and Eye of the Needle
Manor On Movies--Black Shampoo--three three three films in one
Manor On Movies--Invasion USA
Time Trap: Last Year in Marienbad and La Jetée
Gaining Three Stone: Salvador, Natural Born Killers and Savages
Right Said Bernard: Cribbins on DVD
1969: The Year Westerns Couldn't Get Past
A Network Horror Double Bill: Assault and Death Line on Blu-ray
The Edie Levy: Edie Sedgwick, Andy Warhol and Ciao! Manhattan
   
 
  Checkpoint Speed KingsBuy this film here.
Year: 1956
Director: Ralph Thomas
Stars: Anthony Steel, Odile Versois, Stanley Baker, James Robertson Justice, Maurice Denham, Michael Medwin, Paul Muller, Lee Paterson, Anne Heywood, Anthony Oliver, Philip Gilbert, MacDonald Hobley, Robert Rietty, Andreas Malandrinos, Dino Galvani
Genre: Action, Thriller, Romance
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: The world of international motor racing has its own brand of espionage associated with it, and there are industrial spies willing to steal secrets from one organisation to give to another, which is why O'Donovan (Stanley Baker) is at this Italian factory which manufactures racing cars in the middle of the night. He manages to get what his bosses have been looking for, but he also manages to get spotted, and when the nightwatchman tells him he's just doing his job he is shot dead for his trouble. The spy tries to escape, but the police are quickly on the scene, so the only method of evading them is to shoot at various components to get them to explode, leaving five cops dead. But he does get away...

Except he's still stuck in Italy having been identified in the media and with no path out of the country, which leaves him a liability for the main man at the racing car company he was working for, Warren Ingram (James Robertson Justice), who is keen to see the back of him. Here was the intrigue in this British thriller shot on the Continent: how can O'Donovan make a clean getaway when the massed forces of the Italian police are hot on his heels? The answer to that was the reason Checkpoint became a cult movie among fans of motorsport, as it involved racing footage and plenty of it, for Ingram took it upon himself to devise a scheme that would see his spy paid off and out of his life for good.

If you're thinking, well, that's forward thinking of a British film of the nineteen-fifties to have such a bad guy as its lead character, hold your horses, as while Baker had become a very big star playing two-fisted, dark-hearted rogues, he was not actually the hero, nor was he the anti-hero, that role went to the matinee idol Anthony Steel. He was something of a bad boy in real life, but audiences liked to see him play the goodie, so here he was again with his chiselled features put to good use as race car driver Bill Fraser (as opposed to the actual actor Bill Fraser, who was not anyone's idea of a matinee idol). While Steel proved a major success in his day, time has been less kind to him, and even a film like this was unlikely to have him lingering in the memory.

How unlike Baker, who still has his fanbase thanks to his very modern approach to morally shaded characters, and despite his relatively early death in middle age after a run of movies that were not the hits his fifties and early sixties efforts had been, he remained a star all of his career and was willing to take chances many other leading men were not. You could pick up on that here, a not especially distinguished thriller outside of the depiction of the fast cars haring around picturesque Italian scenery which drew those fascinated by the sport to return to it, for Baker had his magnetism which often made it look as if he were the most committed actor in the production, no matter that this work was not exactly needing such forceful dedication. But thank goodness he was there to lift the material.

O'Donovan and Fraser meet thanks to Ingram's devious machinations that see the former posing as the co-driver of the latter, so he can get out of Italy without the authorities noticing. Well, eventually, as there was a dollop of romance to endure as Steel and his leading lady Odile Versois made eyes at each other in various scenes that may have you wondering what the point of his appearance was when she appeared superfluous to requirements. She did make herself useful in the closing stages of the movie when she tried to alert Fraser's team to the interloper in the passenger seat, but ultimately had very little influence on the outcome of events; nevertheless, these productions liked to have an attractive lady with a non-British accent in them to add a little exoticism, and Versois was present for that. But at least this had a memorably ridiculous finale, action packed as the second half had been, and a fitting comeuppance, if an abrupt one in what was already a brief experience. The action made up for that, once it got going. Music by Bruce Montgomery.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 1352 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Who's the best?
Steven Seagal
Pam Grier
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Paul Shrimpton
Andrew Pragasam
Stately Wayne Manor
  Patrick Keenan
Enoch Sneed
Ian Phillips
  Afra Khan
   

 

Last Updated: