As followup by 20th-Fox to its surprise success with last year's "Dirty Mary Crazy Larry," this meller should do okay with action audiences, since it includes the requisite road chases and hyped-up thrills, some of them slickly executed by director Jack Starrett. Otherwise the production is a sloppy, cynical blend of second-hand plot elements.

As followup by 20th-Fox to its surprise success with last year’s “Dirty Mary Crazy Larry,” this Peter Fonda-Warren Oates meller should do okay with action audiences, since it includes the requisite road chases and other hyped-up thrills, some of them slickly executed by director Jack Starrett. Otherwise the production is a sloppy, cynical blend of second-hand plot elements.

Patchwork screenplay also uses story elements from horror pix as it pits vacationing Peter Fonda, Warren Oates and their wives Lara Parker and Loretta Swit against a horde of rampaging Satanists in the Texas backwoods.

Pic seems to be trying at times for an archetypal confrontation between middle-American values, as repped by the couples in their fortress-like motor home, and bizarre counter-culture elementsm embodied by the Satanists. But the story would have had more dramatic punch if the antagonists weren’t such formula types.

The film’s action highlight is a slam-bang duel between the camper and several trucks, but generally the pic is done with perfunctory TV-like stylelessness.

Oates does his usual believably gritty job with the meagre character material here. Fonda is less dreamy than usual, though still without evoking much interest. Swit and Parker suffer from heavily-cliched direction that makes them hysterical and totally useless in every crisis. R.G. Armstrong and Bishop are convincing as the redneck sheriff and his deputy.

Lensing by Robert Jessup has moments of inventiveness but mostly looks flat and hasty. Leonard Rosenman’s score is unobtrusively effective, and other tech credits are okay.

Race with the Devil

Production

20th Century-Fox. Director Jack Starrett; Producer Wes Bishop; Screenplay Wes Bishop, Lee Frost; Camera Robert Jessup; Editor Alan Jacobs; Music Leonard Rosenman

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1975. Running time: 88 MIN.

With

Peter Fonda Warren Oates Loretta Swit Lara Parker R.G. Armstrong Clay Tanner
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