Free flick of the week: The Fast and the Furious (1955)
This week’s Fast Five is the fifth entry in the Fast and the Furious franchise, but there’s a sixth film that bears that name, 1955’s The Fast and the Furious, cowritten and produced by Roger Corman. Most online resources claim these movies share nothing but a title. But like its successors, the original Fast and the Furious is a story of macho fugitives set in the world of underground racing culture. John Ireland stars as Frank Webster, an innocent man with a Vin Diesel–ian dilemma: to keep running from the cops for a crime he didn’t commit, or face the music and win the love of the woman whose car he jacked (Dorothy Malone). Some of the night scenes in the streaming public-domain print are so murky they look as though they were shot through a lens cap. But Ireland and Malone’s caustic banter is a gas (“I guess I should be grateful you haven’t murdered me yet.” “Don’t tempt me!”). The Fast and the Furious is schlock, but it’s entertaining schlock. That’s another thing it has in common with the series it spawned.