Written by / 5/01/2020 / No comments / , , , , , , , , , , , ,

MARK HAMILL RIDES THE DISCO CHROME OF 'CORVETTE SUMMER'

Mark Hamill searches close and narrow through Las Vegas during his CORVETTE SUMMER YEAR: 1978
Kenny Dantley, a naïve yet determined California high school senior about to graduate, builds a Corvette and, as the story goes, after his dream machine's stolen he journeys to Las Vegas with a girl he ends up rescuing: And then, having gained wisdom, has a do-or-die confrontation with a villain adorned in formidable black attire...

Which sounds awfully familiar; but CORVETTE SUMMER came out a year after STAR WARS. And with a natural albeit languorous performance by Hamill (his face noticeably reconstructed from the infamous motorcycle accident), a knockout Stingray and an involving odyssey turned racy romance with Annie Potts as motormouth wannabe hooker Vanessa — fitfully living in a plush 1970's van — it's an eclectic adventure that throws everything into the pot...
Mark Hamill walking the sands of Tatooine to Las Vegas in CORVETTE SUMMER
As this SUMMER is a hybrid of loose drive-in exploitation and popcorn mainstream. And with a last-minute moral message, our hero almost turns to the dark side before realizing he may love the girl more than his beloved ride...

Although the best scenes involve Hamill's Kenny perfectly alone — a desperate and vulnerable fish out of water searching for that needle in a seedy Las Vegas haystack and, set mostly during daylight hours, we see the town without the glittering neon: a sleeping skeleton beneath the hot desert sun.
Mark Hamill chasing a dream in CORVETTE SUMMER aka THE HOT ONE
From the beginning as Kenny builds his labor-of-love from a junkyard field trip to the high school auto shop class (run by a helpful yet ambiguous Eugene Roche) — once completed, after a quick cruise down Hollywood boulevard, it's mysteriously ripped off no thanks to flaky loser/classmate Danny Bonaduce.

Then, following a lead from back home, lost in busy Las Vegas or its desolate, dilapidated outskirts, Kenny works random odd jobs as the peripheral/exterior search continues despite random distractions, like losing his virginity...
Kim Milford in CORVETTE SUMMER aka CALIFORNIA HIGHWAY
But the real climax is an afternoon chase along the desert stretch from Vegas back towards L.A. vs LASERBLAST actor Kim Milford (who in that cult classic would ironically blow up a STAR WARS sign). Which, to casual viewers, might be too little/too late for a title promising full-throttle hot rod action...

And while probably too clean and corny for 1970's exploitation buffs (hoping Vanessa would take more off and get more on), and too risque for STAR WARS/Luke Skywalker fans (or those seeking another breezy SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT-style joyride), CORVETTE SUMMER aims to please everyone — but delivers only if you let it.
The gorgeous Corvette Stingray from CORVETTE SUMMER aka STINGRAY aka THE HOT ONE
Mark Hamill in CORVETTE SUMMER aka THE HOT ONE
Mark Hamill in CORVETTE SUMMER aka THE HOT ONE
Kim Milford in CORVETTE SUMMER aka THE HOT ONE aka STINGRAY
Blade Runner meets Star Wars with Mark Hamill and Brion James in Corvette Summer
Mark Hamill in CORVETTE SUMMER aka THE HOT ONE
Mark Hamill's stuntman in CORVETTE SUMMER aka THE HOT ONE
Mark Hamill in CORVETTE SUMMER aka THE HOT ONE
Kim Milford in CORVETTE SUMMER aka THE HOT ONE
Kim Milford in CORVETTE SUMMER aka THE HOT ONE
Mark Hamill in CORVETTE SUMMER aka THE HOT ONE with Annie Potts
Mark Hamill in CORVETTE SUMMER aka THE HOT ONE
Las Vegas or Bust in CORVETTE SUMMER aka CALIFORNIA HIGHWAY
from CORVETTE SUMMER as Kenny's Corvette is so close yet so far, far away
Mark Hamill brings the Corvette back to life from CORVETTE SUMMER
Supercool font from the opening credits of CORVETTE SUMMER released in glorious 1978
Supercool font from the opening credits of CORVETTE SUMMER released in glorious 1978
Mark Hamill in CORVETTE SUMMER aka THE HOT ONE
Mark Hamill in CORVETTE SUMMER aka THE HOT ONE
Datsun in CORVETTE SUMMER aka THE HOT ONE aka STINGRAY
Mark Hamill in CORVETTE SUMMER aka THE HOT ONE
Mark Hamill and Annie Potts in CORVETTE SUMMER aka THE HOT ONE
Mark Hamill and Annie Potts in CORVETTE SUMMER aka THE HOT ONE
Mark Hamill starts from scratch in CORVETTE SUMMER aka THE HOT ONE
The Vanishing Point of CORVETTE SUMMER aka California Highway

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