Written by / 3/31/2013 / No comments / , , , ,

MARK HAMILL IN CORVETTE SUMMER

year: 1978 cast: Mark Hamill, Annie Potts, Kim Milford, Eugene Roche, Brion James, Dick Miller rating: ***1/2
Kenny Dantley, a naïve yet determined California teenager, builds a corvette from a junk heap... It's stolen and he journeys to Las Vegas with a girl he ends up rescuing... And then, having gained wisdom, has a do-or-die confrontation with the main villain...

This sounds like the template of another Mark Hamill flick but CORVETTE SUMMER came out a year after STAR WARS: with a laidback and likable performance by Hamill, a gorgeous orange Stingray, and an involving odyssey turned romance with Annie Potts as a motormouth hooker/love interest.
Kenny's Corvette is so close yet so far, far away
There are similarities of low-budget exploitation films such as VAN NUYS BLVD and MALIBU BEACH but with a higher budget and a very popular (at that time) current superstar. Thus SUMMER has the combination of breezy drive-in flicks and that of a mainstream nature, with a last-minute moral message as our hero turns to the dark side before realizing he may love the girl more than making money.

Although the best scenes involve Hamill's Kenny Dantley as a fish outta water during the second act, searching for that needle in the seedy Las Vegas haystack. Filmed almost entirely in Sin City during daylight hours, we see the town without the glittering neon: a sleeping skeleton in the desert heat.
The Vanishing Point of Corvette Summer
This gloriously addictive curio keeps on rolling... from the beginning as Kenny builds his labor-of-love in the high school auto shop class and, after a quick cruise down Hollywood boulevard, it's mysteriously ripped off in the care of a flaky student... through the middle as Kenny journeys through Las Vegas working odd jobs as the peripheral search continues... to the end with a climactic car chase "dogfight" against LASERBLAST actor Kim Milford...

This provides a fantastic and thrilling chase along the road back to Los Angeles, which, to casual viewers, might be too little/too late for a movie that promises high octane action-packed fun.

Recommended viewing for lazy afternoons, this summertime cult classic features Eugene Roche as Kenny's faithful and possibly crooked auto shop teacher, Wendy Jo Sperber as a student and Danny Bonaduci as the dork that let the HOT ONE get away and with cameos by Roger Corman stock actor Dick Miller as a lucky gambler, SOUTHERN COMFORT veterans Brion James and T.K. Carter and an appearance by TV favorite Stanley Kamel as a thieving casino pimp.
Roaring through the Vegas desert near Tatooine
Las Vegas or Bust
Two vehicles during the final CAR WARS
The Hot One
Mark Hamill's Kenny goes hitchhiking to Las Vegas
Mark Hamill chasing a dream
Kim Milford and Brion James beating up Mark Hamill
The infamously bad yet fantastically awesome b-movie LASERBLAST stars Kim Milford as a bullied teenager who finds an alien's laser gun that fits on his arm, and in using the weapon he slowly turns into a monster killing people and road signs...

One being an advertisement for STAR WARS, the sci-fi blockbuster from the previous year that starred MARK HAMILL who, the following year, starred in CORVETTE SUMMER wherein LASERBLAST's Kim Milford played a criminal who, after he gets outmaneuvered by Hamill, blows up his own car: but with a pistol this time.
Mark Hamill and Kim Milford
Kim Milford blasts a STAR WARS sign
Kim Milford in LASERBLAST
Kim Milford in CORVETTE SUMMER
Destruction of the Death Car
LIKE CORVETTE SUMMER ON FACEBOOK AND THE CORVETTE SUMMER BLOG
WARNER ARCHIVE CORVETTE SUMMER ON AMAZON
And, as part of pop culture history, you can often find this corvette revving on the TCM cable channel...
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