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Crazy kids…living to a wild rock ‘n’ roll beat!

July 7, 2014

Hot Rod Gang (1958)

Wednesday, July 9th

Film starts at 8:00pm

Lady Jay’s: 633 Grand St, between Manhattan & Leonard, Bklyn, NY 11211

Free popcorn, Juke Box Meccanica, $2 Bingo for Prizes. PRIZES!

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We are also pleased to announce that dinner will now be provided by Delilah’s Steaks…so come HUNGRY!!

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`Hot Rod Gang’: A Weird, Offbeat, Unusual and Disturbing Comedy of 1958

by Timothy Sexton

“Hot Rod Gang” is the kind of movie they are talking about when they say they don’t make them like that anymore. In fact, I’m not sure they ever made them like “Hot Rod Gang.” You would expect from the title that this movie is just another entry in the genre of juvenile delinquents with cool cars movies, but in fact it is a comedy, I think, unlike any comedy you have ever seen.

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Of course, it may not be quite right to call it a comedy. “Hot Rod Gang” is also a rock and roll musical. The plot is about a rich kid who hides his wild life from his aunts in order to gain his inheritance. That plot is just an idea upon which to hang singing, dancing and some of the oddest comedy elements of all time. And then, just to make sure everything is as offbeat as possible, the movie also does, in fact, contain some juvenile delinquency aspects in dramatic form.

 

One of the weirdest parts of the comedy that is derived from “Hot Rod Gang” has to do with those two aunts. This movie was likely seen, if not entirely remembered, by the creator of “Pushing Daisies.” The sisters seem very much in line with the two synchronized swimming sisters there. But even funnier is the maid who has a mind of her own. Remember Benson back when he was funny on “Soap” and before he got his own series? The maid in “Hot Rod Gang” will remind you of that…except that Benson never took to the suspended rings in a gym. Her gymnastic ability leaves something to be desire, but the comedy will leave your jaw agape.

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The leading female character, played by Jody Fair, sometimes almost appears to be making another movie entirely. Her facial reactions and asides lend “Hot Rod Gang” an estimable amount of postmodernist credibility. Except that you just mainly wonder if she was doing it on purpose or was she just a bad actress?

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As if that weren’t enough, some unintentional comedy-I think it was not by intention-arrives courtesy of two singing numbers by Gene Vincent. Gene Vincent was a sort of cut rate Elvis Presley. If you have ever watched movies of this type, you are doubtlessly familiar with the presence of two females who accompany the Elvis singer type character by getting up closer to either side of the singer’s face, snapping fingers, clapping hands and generally enjoying their role as eye candy. “Hot Rod Gang” features this common trope…except that the accompanying singers are both male. Homophobia is not a problem I have, but there is something singularly disquieting about watching these scenes play out in a 1950s movie. It just is not what you expect and it leads you down a road that starts out with cautious laughter before it just becomes disturbing.

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Check out “Hot Rod Gang.” I guarantee you have never seen a comedy quite like this one before.

For more from Timothy Sexton, check out: The Unbearable Lightness of Realism

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Proud young rebels!

Car Facts

Hot Rod Gang…The ’32 Ford roadster that Steve Drexel drives is actually the famous Pete Hendersen roadster which is the car that had the famous race with a quarter horse that set the blueprint for quarter mile drag racing. The other ’32 Ford in this movie is Tony LaMasa’s chopped and channeled green roadster that was the same car that was featured in an episode of Ozzie and Harriet where Ozzie raced it in a Model T.

 

Hot Rod Gang was filmed in Hollywood. The opening scene is them racing down Santa Monica Blvd. The curb race scene was shot on 2 different streets and then edited together but the last shot of them on the curb is on Highland.

 

The other ’32 in Hot Rod Gang is the Bob McGee/Dick Scritchfield rod. Dick owned it at the time Hot Rod Gang was filmed in ’58.

See all the cars of the film HERE ON IMCDB

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WATCH THE FULL FILM HERE

 

CM JULY 2014

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