HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Flag Day
Boris Karloff: The Man Behind the Monster
Nest, The
Martin Eden
Halloween Kills
Cicada
Sun Shines Bright, The
Last Thing Mary Saw, The
Comets
Herself
Mon Oncle d'Amerique
Wild Strawberries
Runner, The
Don't Look Up
Ghostbusters: Afterlife
Eternals
Forever Purge, The
Memoria
Venom: Let There Be Carnage
Legend of La Llorona, The
Japon
Glasshouse
Perdita Durango
Commando, The
Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: A History of Folk Horror
Boiling Point
Malignant
Deadly Games
Ailey
Voyeurs, The
Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes
In the Earth
Hiroshima Mon Amour
Hotel Poseidon
Zola
No Time to Die
Klaus
Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey
Candyman
Power of the Dog, The
   
 
Newest Articles
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
The Punk Rock Movie: Out of the Blue on Blu-ray
Yeah, Too Quiet: The Great Silence on Blu-ray
Vestron Double Bill: Dementia 13 and The Wraith
Farewell Dean Stockwell: His Years of Weirdness
Kung Fu Craft: Cinematic Vengeance! on Blu-ray
999 Letsbe Avenue: Gideon's Way on Blu-ray
Hungary for Cartoons: Hungarian Animations on MUBI
You Have No Choice: Invasion of the Body Snatchers on Blu-ray
You Can't Tame What's Meant to Be Wild: The Howling on Blu-ray
Commendably Brief: Short Sharp Shocks Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Super Silents: Early Universal Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Fable Fear: The Singing Ringing Tree on Blu-ray
Gunsight Eyes: The Sabata Trilogy on Blu-ray
Bloody Bastard Baby: The Monster/I Don't Want to Be Born on Blu-ray
Night of the Animated Dead: Director Jason Axinn Interview
The ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt - Interview with Director/Star Ian Boldsworth
On the Right Track: Best of British Transport Films Vol. 2
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
   
 
  Checkpoint Speed Kings
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, RomanceBuy from Amazon
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 3591 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
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Jason Cook
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
   

 

Last Updated: