Dragstrip Riot


1h 8m 1958

Film Details

Also Known As
Teenage Rumble
Release Date
May 1958
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Trans-World Productions
Distribution Company
American International Pictures
Country
United States
Location
Malibu, California, United States; Malibu--Paradise Cove, California, United States; Paradise Cove, California, United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 8m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White

Synopsis

In a beach community near Malibu, California, Rick Martin and several friends prepare for a car race the following day. Rick's family recently moved to the area from San Francisco, where Rick served time in a juvenile detention hall for beating up a fellow student, and Rick's mother Norma and grandfather argue about how much freedom to allow Rick. The strict Gramps chastises Norma for being too lenient, but she insists that Rick has promised never to fight again. One afternoon at a beach party, Rick is challenged by Bart Thorsen for the attentions of Janet Pearson, but Rick refuses to rise to Bart's taunts. Later at the local beach diner, a motorcycle gang interrupts the teens' dancing, and a fight breaks out among the girls. When Rick intervenes, he is confronted by gang leader Silva, but walks out of the diner rather than fight, to Janet's bewilderment. In the diner parking lot, however, Silva makes a pass at Janet, and Rick can no longer contain himself and beats up Silva, amazing the other teenagers. Back at home, Gramps demands that Norma take action when Rick returns, having clearly been in a fight. Norma questions Rick, who apologizes for having broken his promise, then explains his need to defend Janet. Under pressure from Gramps, Norma takes Rick's car keys and forbids him to attend the race. Dismayed, Rick telephones his friend, mechanic Cliff, who comes over later that night and hot-wires Rick's car. Cliff cautions Rick about disobeying his kindly mother, but Rick explains that he believes the overly severe Gramps is responsible for his grounding and divulges his frustration that he has never won his grandfather's respect. The next day, Rick sneaks away, retrieves his car at Cliff's and enters the race, only to lose when Bart cuts him off intentionally at the final turn. Angered by Bart's action, Rick demands satisfaction, and Bart agrees by suggesting the two meet in a "train drag" contest, where each driver sits on a train track facing an oncoming train. The first driver to panic and turn off the track loses. With two of the other boys as official witnesses, Rick and Bart meet at the diner, then go out to the tracks. Panicking, Bart loses the contest, and humiliated, drives off in search of the bike gang to demand that Silva help him get revenge on Rick. Silva agrees and, taking other gang members Gordie and Dutch along, follows Rick on his bike after he takes Janet home that night. Rick attempts to outdrive the gang, but on the winding ocean drive, is unable to evade them. Silva and the others surround Rick's car, but when Silva hurls a large wrench at Rick, he slams on his brakes and the wrench strikes Gordie, sending him over the cliff. Silva, Dutch and Bart hasten to Gordie, who dies in Silva's arms. Stunned, Rick considers running away, then reconsiders and, returning home, telephones the police to report the accident. Rick is arrested when Silva's gang insists that Gordie was the victim of a hit-and-run accident. Norma gets Rick out on bail, under the stipulation that Rick remain at home. The next day at the diner, Bart and the others read the news reports of Rick's previous arrest in San Francisco, and some of the boys believe he has lied to them. When Janet is doubtful, however, her friend Marge encourages her to believe in Rick. Rick telephones Janet and entreats her to meet him so that he might explain how the accident really happened. Janet agrees to meet Rick at the beach, unaware that Bart is eavesdropping on their conversation. That evening, Norma tries to prevent Rick from leaving the house, but he storms off after a heated argument with Gramps. Distraught, Norma breaks down, until Gramps promises to bring Rick back, and Norma agrees to go with him in search of her son. Meanwhile, Rick arrives at the beach only to find Janet being harassed by Bart. When Bart flees to Silva, Rick reveals the details of the accident to Janet and his arrest at the age of fourteen for assault precipitated when the other boy threatened him with a knife. Janet assures Rick that she trusts him, then Silva, his gang and Bart return and encircle the couple. Silva plans to kill Rick with an arrow-shooting gun, but when he insists that Janet too must be killed, Bart protests. Silva demands that Bart hold Rick, but Bart is distracted when Janet screams, and Rick is able to break away, causing Bart to be impaled by the arrow. Janet's screams attract the attention of the other teens in the diner, and they rush to the beach, where a violent brawl breaks out. Driving by, Norma and Gramps are attracted by the commotion, and when Gramps sees how well Rick fights, he is pleased. The police arrive and stop the fight and assist the wounded Bart, who declares that Silva was responsible for Gordie's death, not Rick. Heartened to have Gramps's approval and knowing his name will be cleared, Rick reunites with Janet and heads home.

Film Details

Also Known As
Teenage Rumble
Release Date
May 1958
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Trans-World Productions
Distribution Company
American International Pictures
Country
United States
Location
Malibu, California, United States; Malibu--Paradise Cove, California, United States; Paradise Cove, California, United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 8m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The working title of the film was Teenage Rumble. The opening and closing cast credits differ slightly in order. Although there was a copyright statement onscreen, there was no listing for the film in the copyright catalog. Daily Variety production charts mistakenly list Frank Tuttle as the director of the film. An August 1957 Hollywood Reporter casting news items indicates Sam Marlowe was to appear in the film, but dropped out because script changes were not made. Hollywood Reporter casting adds Sam Scar to the cast but his appearance in the film has not been confirmed. Hollywood Reporter news items state that portions of the film were shot at various locations in Malibu, including Paradise Cove, CA.