Gone in 60 Seconds (1974 film)

Gone in 60 Seconds (1974 film)

:"This is about the 1974 film. For the 2000 remake, see Gone in Sixty Seconds (2000 film)"

Infobox Film
name = Gone in 60 Seconds

caption ="Gone in 60 Seconds" promotional poster
director = H.B. Halicki
producer = H.B. Halicki
Richard L. Muse
writer = H.B. Halicki
starring = H.B. Halicki
Marion Busia
Jerry Daugirda
James McIntyre
George Cole
Ronald Halicki
Markos Kotsikos
music = Ronald Halicki
Philip Kachaturian
Eb Jensen
cinematography = Scott Lloyd-Davies
Jack Vacek
John Vacek, Sr.
editing = Warner E. Leighton
P.J. Webb
distributor = HB. Halicki Junkyard and Mecantile Company
released = July 28, 1974
country = flagicon|United States United States
runtime = 98 min. (approx.)
language = English
budget = $1,000,000
gross = $40,000,000
preceded_by =
followed_by = The Junkman
amg_id = 1:20275
imdb_id = 0071571

"Gone in 60 Seconds" is a 1974 film written, directed, produced and starring H.B 'Toby' Halicki. It centers on a group of car thieves and the 48 cars they must steal in a matter of days. The film is famous for having wrecked and destroyed 93 cars in a 40 minute car chase scene. It was later remade in 2000 under the same name.


When he goes to work, the excitement starts...
and GOES... and GOES... and GOES!

You can lock your car,
But if he wants it...
It's Gone in 60 Seconds.

Let the wrecking begin

Plot summary

Insurance investigator Maindrian Pace (played by H.B 'Toby' Halicki) and his team lead double lives as car thieves. Everyone knows him as an intelligent, respectable insurance investigator, they also know that he runs a quality auto shop in town. What very few know is that he is the leader of a group of professional car thieves.

If a car disappears, it's most likely Pace's gang that's done it. In order to protect themselves in the event the police overhear them, Pace declares that they will only refer to cars by code names, not by the actual make and model of the car. Today is Tuesday and a very valued client has just contacted Pace with an exceptional order. A South American drug lord pays Pace $400,000.00 to steal 48 specific cars for him, and all but one - a 1973 Ford Mustang Mach 1, whose code name is "Eleanor" - are successfully stolen by Maindrian and his associates. The buyer wants Pace to deliver the cars to him by Saturday.

All are very high-end cars ranging from Mustangs to limousines, making the order difficult to fill under the time limit. Still, Pace savors the challenge and agrees to complete the order. Pace also has Eugene's wedding to go to in Dunkirk, New York where he asks Eugene to call off his honeymoon for some court cases next week. After arriving back at Los Angeles International Airport Pace and his crew spot Eleanor at the airport and Corlis (Ronald Halicki) tries to steal her but fails because the driver is still in the car asleep at the wheel. Then they leave the airport.

Later that night his crew is somewhat taken aback by the audacity of the plan, but they realize that if anyone can do it, Pace can. Mapping out a basic strategy, the gang begins to scout out their targets, which have all been given female names. Being part of the insurance industry, Pace does have one small idiosyncrasy when it comes to stealing, all of the cars he steals must be insured. Pace refuses to steal an uninsured car, because his secretary Pumpkin (Marion Busia) got him to agree to it during a walk in a park in Dunkirk.

Later that night Pace goes to Ascot Park and steals J.C. Agajanian's 1974 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow. Also later that night Pace goes and steals Harold Blight Smith's (Edward Abrahms) Eleanor right out of his garage at his home. After Mrs. Smith's constant nagging, Mr. Smith takes his dog out to the front yard where he discovers his Mustang backing out of his garage. Mr. Smith then jumps in his blue 1972 Plymouth Satellite and chases Pace for several miles screaming "that's my car", causing the police to pull him over in order to find out why he is driving maniacally around town. Because Smith has cheated a number of people on insurance claims, Pace returns Smith's undamaged automobile in the exact position it was in the garage, so that when Smith and the police officers return, Smith is in trouble because (as far as they can see) nothing has happened.

Pace manages to steal all seven Limousines and The Pantera and finally Eleanor. Then Atlee steals the 1974 Cadillac Coupe De Ville right in front of the Hungry Tiger Restaurant. Then Pace steals the 1974 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow and the 1971 Chevrolet Corvette. And so they begin stealing the 48 cars. As it happens, it's proceeding extremely smoothly, the thieves have found all the cars they need with little hardship, and no complications have arisen. That is, until they come to Eleanor, a prized '73 Mach 1 Ford Mustang. They've found their Eleanor, stolen it, but then discover that it's not insured. The owner has placed an ad in the paper pleading for the car's return, no questions asked. Because of giving his word to Pumpkin, Pace decides, much to the chagrin of his buddies, to return it. Pace spots another 'Eleanor' Mustang in Long Beach and prepares to steal it, but is unaware that Eugene (Jerry Daugirda) has alerted to the police to the potential theft as a result of a dispute involving a stolen Cadillac that was discovered to have a million dollars worth of heroin hidden in it (Eugene wanted to keep the drugs but Pace decides to park it in a dirt lot and burn it, after telling Eugene he would take care of it). As a result of the tip-off, two detectives (Butch Stockton) and Phil Woods) are waiting for Pace as he steals Eleanor. They do not suspect him at first but decide to check him out. Pace spots them as he has stopped in the driveway to disable the car alarm and decides to run when they show the police light. The ensuing pursuit is the longest car chase (40 minutes) in movie history and takes Pace through five cities as he attempts to lose police.

In a notable scene, Eleanor is clipped by a Cadillac as a result of misjudging the freeway exit, spins out and collides with a lamp post. This scene was, in fact, a real accident, as Halicki misjudged both the lane and speed of the Cadillac. Halicki was injured in the crash, but the scene was left in, and Eleanor is seen driving away from the accident and as chase continues.

The jump scene at the end of the chase is also notable and set the standards for a number of subsequently produced pictures. Acting as the climax to the lengthy chase sequence, Eleanor is seen jumping over the scene of a traffic accident unrelated to the chase, after a hood leaning on a car, allows him to catch air. The jump manages to achieve a height of 30' over a 128' in distance - a feat which would not be easily replicable without the use of modern CGI techniques - and the Mustang barely manages to land safely as it meets the ground in a rather awkward fashion, injuring Halicki once again.

Shortly after this jump, the chase is ended when Pace spots another yellow Mustang pulling into a car wash. He asks for his car to be washed and then dupes the owner of the other Mustang into believing that her car must be washed again and instructs her to report to the manager's office. Pace subsequently leaves the car wash with the stolen car as the manager (who matches the description of Pace, who was wearing a grey wig and a grey jacket during the chase) is believed to be the suspect and arrested. Pace removes his disguise, asks a police officer at a road block directions, and gets away scot-free.

Production and trivia

"Gone in 60 Seconds" was classified as an independent film - H.B. Halicki wrote, starred, directed, produced and even did his own stuntwork in the film, which, at the time, was phenomenal. In a contemporary context, however, the portions of the film preceding the chase sequences are seen as typical of a badly acted - and poorly received - 70s movie. The reason for this view is that Halicki employed family and friends (instead of professional actors) to play parts in his movie to keep the budget low. Therefore, the acting is somewhat substandard when compared to other films of the time. The characters depicted as being members of the emergency services were actual police officers, firemen, or paramedics. The then-mayor of Carson, California, Sak Yamamoto, also appeared as himself.

All of the police cars damaged in the film, as well as the garbage truck that overturns, three fire trucks, two waiting for the cars to clear, and another one stopping to put out a fire, were bought at city auction by director H.B. Halicki in 1972, for an average price of $200 each. They sat in an empty lot for over a year until production on the movie began in 1973. The fire trucks seen on the Vincent Thomas Bridge during the main chase were real Long Beach FD units on their way to an emergency call. The "crash" staged for the film was blocking both lanes and they could not get past until the cars were cleared. Director Halicki asked the camera crew to film them in case there was somewhere to fit the shot into the movie, and there was room for the scenes.

There was no official script for the movie, apart from several pages outlining main dialog sequences. Much of the action/dialog was improvised and made up by the cast and crew as they went along. This caused many problems for the editor, Warner E. Leighton, who never knew what footage was being dumped on him or where in the movie it belonged. In the DVD audio commentary, he described the script for the construction site portion of the main pursuit as a piece of cardboard with a circle on it. Director Halicki pointed at it and said, "That's the dust bowl. We went around it twice. There's your script."

Nearly every civilian vehicle seen in close proximity to the main chase (especially in downtown Long Beach) was owned by director H.B. Halicki. This resulted in several of them being seen multiple times throughout the 40-minute sequence. The second "Eleanor" (that Maindrian steals from the car wash) and the white Ford that he and Stanley spend much of their time in are visible parked in one street that Maindrian turns into before hitting the boat in Long Beach. The white Ford also shows up in many other shots.

When Maindrian is first telling Atlee about the new contract, a message on the blackboard behind them is visible saying, "Sgt. Hawkins called about Vacek case" - a reference to director of photography Jack Vacek.

The scene where the Mustang tags a car on the highway and spins into a telephone pole at 100mph was a real accident. Star/director H.B. Halicki was badly hurt and filming was stopped while he recovered. According to people on the set, after the mishap the first thing that Halicki said when he regained consciousness was "Did we get coverage?". The scene was left in.

Director/star H.B. Halicki compacted ten vertebrae performing the "big jump" in the Mustang at the end of the movie, which reached 30 feet high and cleared 128 feet. Fortunately the injury was not very serious, although according to director of photography Jack Vacek, Halicki never walked the same again.

With the exception of a few extras, the bulk of the by-standers/public in the movie are real people just going about their business who had no idea that a film was being made. This caused several incidents where people assumed a real police pursuit was in progress, with many trying to help the accident "victims". In the scene at the Carson Street off-ramp where the two cars collide after Maindrian drives against traffic, a pedestrian can be seen in the background shouting angrily at the passing police cars for not stopping to help the occupants.

93 cars are crashed in this 97 minute movie.

The license plate of the Rolls-Royce outside the airport reads "HBH", the initials of the film's star/director/writer, H.B. Halicki.

At the airport, when they get back from Eugine's wedding the Eleanor's license plate they spot reads 613HSO. This is 1 number off the registration of the Eleanor stolen from the International Towers in Long Beach. That licence plate reads 614HSO

The scene in which a train derailment is observed in the film was not part of the original shooting script but it is in fact a real train that derailed and when the director heard about this he wanted to incorporate it into the film.

The 2001 video release features an all new musical score and all new sound effects. In the original video release, the sound effects made by the cars (engines, tires, crashes, etc.) is authentic.

Ronald Halicki, the director's real-life brother and Corlis Pace in the film, operated the crane that lifted "Jill", the red Challenger, to its fate in the car-crusher at the junkyard.

The workshop scenes at Chase Research were filmed at director H.B. Halicki's real-life workshop, and occasionally filming would stop for several days so he could repair cars to earn money and continue production.

'J.C. Agajanian Jr.' , who plays a detective in the roadblock sequence at Torrance Mazda Agency, was almost killed when a stunt with "Eleanor" went wrong and the Mustang slammed into his unmarked police car, which he was standing behind. The scene was left in the film.

The car that flips during the earlier night-time chase in Torrance was actually overturned by six men lifting it up from one side. The film was later skip-framed to create the desired effect.

The garbage truck that overturns when two police cars smash into the side of it was actually pulled over at the precise moment the cars hit by two tow trucks. Cables can be seen attached to the top of the garbage truck as it topples.

Much of the crowd at the gas station where Harold Smith is pulled over after the night-time Torrance chase were part of a real biker gang, who verbally abused the police officers "arresting" the actor and demanding they leave him alone. Being an independent production, the film used real civilians who happened to be wherever they were filming. It was the police officers' bad luck that at the gas station there was a real biker gang filling up.

In one scene at the construction area where the Mustang has been surrounded, a patrol car roars up a hill in pursuit and overturns. This was a real accident, and the officer inside was nearly crushed when the siren "can" on the roof caved the roof in. The scene was left in.

To achieve the effect of cars sliding into each other when hit by the patrol car at Moran Cadillac, the filmmakers put oil under the tires of the first few cars to help them slide. When it came time to do the stunt, it worked too well and many of the agency's own Cadillacs that were for sale were badly damaged. Director H.B. Halicki had to purchase all of them.

1-Baker-11 is a 1970 Mercury Montego.

Parnelli Jones still owns his Big Oly Ford Bronco, and often brings it out to car shows.

When Pumpkin tells Maindrian that they have to give Eleanor back because the car is not insured, Maindrian reads the owner's address from a newspaper - 18511 S Mariposa Ave, Gardena. This was in fact director/star H.B. Halicki's own real home address at the time.

The warehouse actually had sections for the cars and was located at the docks.

The six original songs by Philip Kachaturian featured in pre-1999 releases of the film (but since removed in the remastering process) are:"Gone in 60 Seconds""Lois Lane Blues""I Do Hope the Man Doesn't Catch Me""Big Town, Big City""Charriot Ride""Low Rider"

The first-draft or pre-release version of the movie can be seen (albeit in still frame form) on the 25th Anniversary DVD. By accessing the hidden "Easter Egg", you get to watch an older version of the film - possibly a pre-release version - as the first half of the movie has different order and also additional scenes. Unfortunately, at this time it is unknown whether this version will ever be released to the public in full form.


Following its release, a home video VHS was released containing the theatrical version, complete with original soundtrack and effects. It has, however, been out of print since around 1986, and is therefore considered a collector's item.

In 2000, a 25th anniversary remastered edition was released on DVD and VHS to American viewers. This special remastered edition contained a completely reworked image, with a newly cleaned up print compared to the grainy, dirty and unsatisfactory previous version. It also contained another significant change to the soundtrack, replacing the original with a slightly generic overlay rather than the more country style of music chosen by Halicki for the original theatrical release. This has been the center of debate for many fans, who have objected to this alteration and, in some cases, feel almost cheated. The sound effects were also reworked for the remastered version, using more typical collision and engine sounds. This is an improvement over the theatrical release, which contained often-distorted sound effects (although these were the actual sounds used at the time of filming). In May 2005 a Region 2 DVD was released in Europe.

In the SPEED Channel broadcast of the movie, a documentary, hosted by Denice Halicki, is also shown before the beginning of the movie. The documentary described the production processes of the movies produced by H.B. Halicki as well as his life.

Cast and crew

*J.C. Agajanian Jr.

*Sak Yamamoto
*Edward Booker

*Anthony Cole
*Mark Cole
*Michael Cole
*Billy Englehart

*Jack Popejoy
*Don Simmons
*Ron Simmons
*Bud Wacen
*Christine Wright
*Phil Boroff
*Chip Giannettino
*Garland Brown

Written, directed and produced by H.B "Toby" Halicki

Executive Producers
*H.B 'Toby' Halicki
*Richard L. Muse

Cinematography by Tony Syslo, Jack Vacek, Scott Lloyd-Davies, and Daniel Pearl.

Original music by Eb Jensen, Philip Kachaturian, and Ronald Halicki.

The 48 cars stolen in the film

*Locations seen in film


External links

* [http://www.halicki.com/ Official website]
* [http://www.mustangv8.com/en2/mydownloads+viewcat.op++cid+2.htm Gone in 60 seconds videos]

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