The Daredevil (1973)

PG | 91 mins | Melodrama | 1973

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HISTORY

Although The Daredevil lists a 1972 copyright statement by Visualscope Theatrical Productions onscreen, the film was not registered for copyright. The Daredevil was the first release of Trans World Film Corp., a production company formed by producer K. Gordon Murray in the fall of 1971, according to a 1 Mar 1972 Var article. As noted in the onscreen credits and other contemporary sources, Visualscope Theatrical Productions co-produced the film. According to a 6 Mar 1972 Box article, The Daredevil was shot in Tampa, FL, where sections of the downtown were closed for chase sequences. The film crew purchased four patrol cars, two stock cars, a truck, a semi-trailer and a Mark IV Lincoln Continental for demolition, according to the Var article. A modern source added that Murray was the voice of the speedway announcer, who is heard in voice-over during the film. The Daredevil was the last American film made by actor George Montgomery ... More Less

Although The Daredevil lists a 1972 copyright statement by Visualscope Theatrical Productions onscreen, the film was not registered for copyright. The Daredevil was the first release of Trans World Film Corp., a production company formed by producer K. Gordon Murray in the fall of 1971, according to a 1 Mar 1972 Var article. As noted in the onscreen credits and other contemporary sources, Visualscope Theatrical Productions co-produced the film. According to a 6 Mar 1972 Box article, The Daredevil was shot in Tampa, FL, where sections of the downtown were closed for chase sequences. The film crew purchased four patrol cars, two stock cars, a truck, a semi-trailer and a Mark IV Lincoln Continental for demolition, according to the Var article. A modern source added that Murray was the voice of the speedway announcer, who is heard in voice-over during the film. The Daredevil was the last American film made by actor George Montgomery (1916—2000). More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
6 Mar 1972.
---
Daily Variety
25 Feb 1972.
---
Daily Variety
28 Feb 1972.
---
Hollywood Reporter
3 Mar 1972
p. 19.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Mar 1972
p. 21.
Variety
28 Jan 1972.
---
Variety
1 Mar 1972.
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Asst cam
Asst cam
FILM EDITORS
Asst ed
SOUND
MAKEUP
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Scr girl
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stunt driver
Stunt driver
Stunt driver
SOURCES
SONGS
"One Night Stand," words and music by B. Flast and S. Gordon, sung by Lois Lee
"Daredevil" and "Love," words and music by Robert W. Stringer.
PERFORMER
DETAILS
Release Date:
1973
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 4 April 1973
Production Date:
February--late March 1972 in Tampa, FL
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Guffanti
Duration(in mins):
91
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Daredevil racecar driver and Daytona 500 winner Paul Tunney returns to his hometown and races at the local speedway to pay for his younger sister’s hospital bills. Although he triumphs, Tunney’s ruthless driving is blamed for the fatal crash of black driver Ray Butler. At Matt’s Red Lantern bar that night, a pompous Tunney explains that Ray was bluffing on the track and insinuates that blacks need to be segregated. While his mechanic, Huck Holman, believes in Tunney, many others in the bar resent his return. After a fight between Tunney and bar patron Rusty Denton leaves the latter unconscious, Tunney seduces Rusty’s girl, Julie Thompson, the queen of the speedway. When police sergeant Mackey finds Rusty unconscious, he immediately suspects Tunney, who almost killed Mackey in a car accident years before. That night after Julie coyly rebuffs him, Tunney returns home to find a body bag and a note suggesting that Tunney is next to die. When Tunney arrives at the funeral home listed on the card, the mortician and his thug knock him out. Tunney regains consciousness in a coffin and is greeted by Ray’s sister Carol Butler, who accuses him of deliberately running Ray off the track and vows to see Tunney die. Shaken by the encounter, Tunney speeds away, fearful that Carol and the mortician are following him. After Tunney’s reckless driving nearly kills him and others on the road, Mackey pulls him over to issue a citation and a warning. Days later, Tunney demands that he be allowed to participate in the race to benefit Ray’s funeral, knowing that race track owner Gordon will agree because of the publicity. On the day of the ... +


Daredevil racecar driver and Daytona 500 winner Paul Tunney returns to his hometown and races at the local speedway to pay for his younger sister’s hospital bills. Although he triumphs, Tunney’s ruthless driving is blamed for the fatal crash of black driver Ray Butler. At Matt’s Red Lantern bar that night, a pompous Tunney explains that Ray was bluffing on the track and insinuates that blacks need to be segregated. While his mechanic, Huck Holman, believes in Tunney, many others in the bar resent his return. After a fight between Tunney and bar patron Rusty Denton leaves the latter unconscious, Tunney seduces Rusty’s girl, Julie Thompson, the queen of the speedway. When police sergeant Mackey finds Rusty unconscious, he immediately suspects Tunney, who almost killed Mackey in a car accident years before. That night after Julie coyly rebuffs him, Tunney returns home to find a body bag and a note suggesting that Tunney is next to die. When Tunney arrives at the funeral home listed on the card, the mortician and his thug knock him out. Tunney regains consciousness in a coffin and is greeted by Ray’s sister Carol Butler, who accuses him of deliberately running Ray off the track and vows to see Tunney die. Shaken by the encounter, Tunney speeds away, fearful that Carol and the mortician are following him. After Tunney’s reckless driving nearly kills him and others on the road, Mackey pulls him over to issue a citation and a warning. Days later, Tunney demands that he be allowed to participate in the race to benefit Ray’s funeral, knowing that race track owner Gordon will agree because of the publicity. On the day of the race, Carol’s presence as the speedway queen disturbs Tunney, who then flips his car. Shaken but not deterred, Tunney then asks Huck to be his partner for several races hoping to win enough money to cover his mortgage payment. Tunney wins the first race, but is disturbed by thoughts that Carol is constantly watching him. After failing to win subsequent races due to his increasing paranoia, Tunney finally crashes and is admitted to a hospital for a concussion and burns. That night, barely able to stand, Tunney leaves the hospital and joins the Hurricane Hell trick driving team. Soon after, Tunney learns that several black men beat up a teammate of his and left a threatening message for him, he decides to return home on a bus. Knowing Tunney’s desperate financial circumstances, old school friend Chris Barrett offers him a fast car and a job running drugs. Tunney at first refuses but when Barrett threatens to set fire to his house, Tunney makes the first run. Although Tunney begins an affair with Julie, he evade her questions about his job and becomes increasingly distant. Late one night, Tunney meets a small plane at a landing strip to pick up the drugs and drives them to Barrett’s warehouse. When Tunney returns to the bar, Huck warns him that Mackey has been asking questions. Days later, Barrett forces Tunney at gunpoint to the funeral home, where the mortician shows him Huck’s dead body, suggesting that his friend died because he knew too much about the drug operation and Tunney must continue to run drugs or die. Tunney accepts another job but demands $2,000, which Carol hands him in cash. After the run, Tunney goes to the bar, where Julie desperately offers to help him, but Tunney dismisses her concern. On another run that night, Tunney outmaneuvers the police with his speedy driving, but the next day Mackey threatens to jail him. Unmoved, Tunney continues his drinking. Suspecting that the police will soon catch Tunney, the mortician decides to set him up by sending him to the landing strip to pick up some drugs then placing a call to the police to inform them of the location. Late that night, despite Matt’s warnings that he is “on the skids,” Tunney vows to return to the winners’ circle. When Tunney refuses to tell Julie the truth about Huck and orders her to leave him, she laments that it is not speed that intrigues him, but destruction. Later, Tunney arrives at the rendezvous, but Barrett and the mortician attack Tunney and inject him with an overdose of heroin. Tunney escapes in his car, but the drug impairs his driving. Soon, several police cars are in pursuit as the barely conscious Tunney races down the road and vaults over a bridge, leaving the police behind. Meanwhile, Mackey sets up a roadblock with a semitruck. Haunted by Carol’s screams and visions of the carnage he has wrought, Tunney runs straight into the truck and dies in the explosion. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.