Drive a Crooked Road (1954)

83 mins | Drama | April 1954

Director:

Richard Quine

Producer:

Jonie Taps

Cinematographer:

Charles "Bud" Lawton

Editor:

Jerome Thoms

Production Designer:

Walter Holscher

Production Company:

Columbia Pictures Corp.
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HISTORY

Working titles for the film were Little Giant , Johnny Big Shot and Speedy Shannon ... More Less

Working titles for the film were Little Giant , Johnny Big Shot and Speedy Shannon . More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
10 Apr 1954.
---
Daily Variety
17 Mar 54
p. 3.
Film Daily
21 Apr 54
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Oct 53
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Oct 53
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Mar 54
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
20 Mar 54
p. 2229.
New York Times
3 Apr 54
p. 19.
Variety
17 Mar 54
p. 6.
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Johnny Big Shot
Little Giant
Speedy Shannon
Release Date:
April 1954
Premiere Information:
New York opening: week of 3 April 1954
Production Date:
mid October--early November 1953
Copyright Claimant:
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
30 March 1954
Copyright Number:
LP3555
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
83
Length(in reels):
9
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
16804
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Los Angeles auto mechanic Eddie Shannon, a devoted car buff with no family or other outside interests, frequently competes in local car races to improve his driving. The other mechanics at work tease Eddie constantly over his diminutive stature and solitary nature. One day Eddie meets Barbara Mathews, an attractive woman who invites him to the beach. Uncertainly, Eddie accepts the invitation, and at the beach Barbara introduces him to Steve Norris, a handsome businessman from the East, who is spending several weeks in a Santa Monica beach house. Eddie is surprised when Barbara shows an interest in him and shyly begins dating her. Barbara tries to learn as much about Eddie's interests as possible, but asks him if he is content to remain a mechanic all his life. Eddie confides that his dream has always been to drive in one of the top European races. Barbara takes Eddie to a party thrown by Steve and his associate, Harold Baker, and during the evening, Steve asks Eddie his opinion about the best kind of race car. After the party, Barbara advises Eddie that Steve might be able to help him realize his dream of racing in Europe. Later that evening, Steve visits Barbara, eager to discuss plans for a bank robbery, for which they hope to use Eddie's driving skill. Barbara pleads with Steve to call off the heist, as she feels sorry for Eddie, a lonely man who has never experienced love, but Steve scoffs at her. The next day Steve invites Eddie to the beach house, where he and Harold present him with their plans to hold up a bank in Palm ... +


Los Angeles auto mechanic Eddie Shannon, a devoted car buff with no family or other outside interests, frequently competes in local car races to improve his driving. The other mechanics at work tease Eddie constantly over his diminutive stature and solitary nature. One day Eddie meets Barbara Mathews, an attractive woman who invites him to the beach. Uncertainly, Eddie accepts the invitation, and at the beach Barbara introduces him to Steve Norris, a handsome businessman from the East, who is spending several weeks in a Santa Monica beach house. Eddie is surprised when Barbara shows an interest in him and shyly begins dating her. Barbara tries to learn as much about Eddie's interests as possible, but asks him if he is content to remain a mechanic all his life. Eddie confides that his dream has always been to drive in one of the top European races. Barbara takes Eddie to a party thrown by Steve and his associate, Harold Baker, and during the evening, Steve asks Eddie his opinion about the best kind of race car. After the party, Barbara advises Eddie that Steve might be able to help him realize his dream of racing in Europe. Later that evening, Steve visits Barbara, eager to discuss plans for a bank robbery, for which they hope to use Eddie's driving skill. Barbara pleads with Steve to call off the heist, as she feels sorry for Eddie, a lonely man who has never experienced love, but Steve scoffs at her. The next day Steve invites Eddie to the beach house, where he and Harold present him with their plans to hold up a bank in Palm Springs. Steve has staked out the bank and knows the routine of the teller who opens the bank and has calculated that if they make a high-speed getaway across a dangerous dirt road, they can escape the police roadblocks that will be erected after the robbery is reported. Steve promises Eddie $15,000 to drive the getaway car, but Eddie is shocked by the request and more upset when Steve suggests he ask Barbara for advice. Eddie confronts Barbara at her apartment, and she admits knowing about the robbery and declares that the money makes the risk worthwhile. Disillusioned and hurt, but still unaware of Barbara's romantic connection to Steve, Eddie again refuses and returns home, where he spends a tormented night wondering what to do. The next day Eddie telephones Barbara, who is cool to him, then visits her that evening and agrees to join in the robbery. Steve has Eddie study a film made along the escape road, then purchases a car and authorizes Eddie to make the changes necessary to prepare it for the high-speed drive. Steve also advises Eddie not to see Barbara during the preparation period to keep her uninvolved should anything go wrong. Eddie continues working at the auto shop during the day and on Steve's car at night and studies the film repeatedly. The night before the robbery, Eddie goes to see Barbara and reveals that he is doing it for her. Taken aback, she urges him not to do it if he has any doubts and encourages him to do it for the money and the realization of his dream. The robbery goes as planned and Eddie drives furiously across the escape route. The next day Eddie tries to see Barbara, but discovers she has moved out of her apartment. Bewildered, Eddie goes to the beach house, where Barbara and Steve have been quarreling over him. Barbara hides in the bedroom while Steve tries to convince Eddie that he has no idea of her whereabouts. Angered over Steve's continued lies, Barbara emerges and confesses her complete involvement in the robbery and with Steve. She apologizes to Eddie for getting him mixed up in their crime and is hostile to Steve for his indifference. Stunned, Eddie rushes out of the house, prompting Steve to accuse Barbara of ruining everything as Eddie will have no choice but to go to the police. Barbara insists that Eddie will not, but Steve orders Harold to catch Eddie. Armed, Harold forces Eddie into a car and makes him drive along the darkened road, but Eddie rolls the car down an embankment. Harold is killed and, although dazed, Eddie takes his gun and walks back to the beach house. Steve's car is quickly spotted by the police, who find Harold's body and realize that the driver has fled the scene. Discovering that the car is registered to Steve, they head toward the beach house. Meanwhile, disgusted with Steve, Barbara flees, but Steve catches her on the beach. When Eddie stumbles upon them and demands that Steve stop badgering Barbara, Steve lunges at him, but Eddie shoots and kills him. The police find Eddie gently comforting the distraught Barbara. +

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.