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  Big Wheels and Sailor 10-4 Good Buddy
Year: 1979
Director: Doug Aitken
Stars: Nigel Humphreys, Matthew Wright, Victoria Gibson, Julian Curry, Sally Hall, Seth Aitken, Sheila Reid, Glenn Cunningham, David Gillies, Dominic Letts, Terry Medlicott, Francis Sargent
Genre: ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Simon Harvey (Matthew Wright) is the son of a truck driver, and they are friends with the two kids of another trucker who when they go out on the road to accompany them, they stay in touch by means of a CB radio in the cabs. Today the two trucks, nicknamed Big Wheels and Sailor, are sent out to haul their cargo north, and the kids go along too, but one of them has noticed a taxi seems to be following them both on their drive. This doesn't make much sense, but they are willing to overlook it - however, they really should not, as the taxi firm is owned by Mother (Sheila Reid), a ruthless criminal who runs her small criminal empire with a rod of iron. She has sent her sons and their cohorts to trap the two truck and steal their cargo, and nothing will stop them...

Ah, nothing? How about a group of young kids? For this was the Children's Film Foundation moving into its final phase of production duties, as the nineteen-eighties dawned the British filmmaking landscape would be very different, basically because everyone ended up broke and American product flooded the market to fill every space the Brits had vacated. For this reason the seventies, which produced this right at the end of that decade, could be regarded as the last years of the golden age of the CFF, which lasted a fair few years. The example here has gone on to some notoriety in Britain for one of its young stars, prog rock fan and television presenter/journalist Matthew Wright, who was making an early appearance here as one of the heroes, sporting an enormous pair of glasses in case you don't recognise him.

The other kids were considerably less famous, and even the supposedly intrepid dads came across as relentlessly suburban rather than the Kris Kristofferson model they were evidently supposed to be evoking, the inspiration here being the Sam Peckinpah cash-in hit Convoy, itself based on a hit record that was all over the radio mid-seventies. Now, it's little surprise the desert highways of that movie bore little resemblance to the motorways and transport caffs of this effort, but dammit, they had those CB radios, and if you were a user of one of those then that was as good as being an American, wasn't it? Or that was the impression the users wanted to give, with their "handles" and "lingo" a very specific method of feeling as if they belonged to an exclusive club, be that driving their cabs or (more likely) twiddling the dial in their bedrooms. Back at the plot, there was some peril, the plans of the baddies to actually kill the goodies (!) a mark of the changing times and necessary raised stakes, but we were assured that somebody evil would end up in the water eventually. This one has a Convoy-esque theme song, too (by Wes McGhee).

[This is available with eight other CFF films on the BFI's Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 3, all on DVDs packed with extras.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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