- Convoy (film)
name = Convoy
caption = Film poster
Robert M. Sherman
writer = B. W. L. Norton
Kris Kristofferson Ali MacGraw Ernest Borgnine
Harry Stradling, Jr.
United Artists EMI Films
runtime = 106 min.
language = English
imdb_id = 0077369
"Convoy" is a 1978
action filmdirected by Sam Peckinpahand starred Kris Kristofferson, Ali MacGraw, Ernest Borgnineand Burt Young. The movie is based on the 1975 country and westernand novelty song"Convoy" by C.W. McCall. It is considered a member of the CB Radio/trucker film genre which rose to prominence in the 1970s following the success of " Smokey and the Bandit".
Truck driverMartin "Rubber Duck" Penwald (Kristofferson) comes into conflict with Sheriff Lyle "Cottonmouth" Wallace (Borgnine). Rubber Duck and his trucker friends, Pig Pen (Young), Spider Mike ( Franklyn Ajaye) and Widow Woman ( Madge Sinclair), get into a fight with Wallace and his deputies at a truck stop. After handcuffing Wallace to a barstool, they decide to head for the state line to avoid prosecution. Melissa (MacGraw), a photographerwhose car has broken down, agrees to ride with the Rubber Duck, and the pair soon fall in love.
The truckers drive across
Arizonaand New Mexico, with Wallace in belated pursuit. Additional independent truckers join them to form a mile-long convoyin support of the Rubber Duck's vendetta against the abusive Wallace. The truckers communicate with each other via CB Radio, and much of the jargon associated with the CB craze is sprinkled throughout the film. The trip touches on social empowerment issues of class, race and gender as well as the place of the law in society. As the rebellious truckers run from the police, the Rubber Duck becomes a reluctant folk hero.
It becomes apparent the truckers have a great deal of political support and the
Governorof New Mexico, Jerry Haskins ( Seymour Cassel), meets Rubber Duck. At about the same time, Wallace and a brutal Texas sheriffarrest Spider Mike, who left the convoy to be with his wife after giving birth to their son. Wallace's plan is to trap Rubber Duck. A janitor at the jail, unaware of the plan, messages by CB radio that Spider Mike has been arrested. Various truckers relay the message to New Mexico.
Rubber Duck ends the meeting with Haskins and leaves to rescue Spider Mike. Several other truckers join him and head east to Texas. The truckers eventually destroy the
jailand rescue Spider Mike. Knowing they will now be hunted by the authorities, the truckers head for the border of Mexico.
The film culminates with a showdown near the
United States-Mexico borderwhere Rubber Duck is forced to face Wallace and a National Guard unit stationed on a bridge. Firing a machine gun, Wallace and the Guardsmen destroy the truck causing it to plummet from the bridge and crash into the churning river.
The movie concludes with a public
funeralfor Rubber Duck, in which Haskins promises to work for the truckers by taking their case to Washington, D.C.Disgusted with the politics of the situation, Pig Pen abruptly leaves the funeral. A distraught Melissa is led to the school bus with the "long-haired friends of Jesus", where she finds Rubber Duck in disguise sitting in the back. He asks, "You ever seen a duck that couldn't swim?" The convoy takes to the road with the coffinin tow, abruptly ending the politicians' speeches. As the bus passes Wallace he spies the Duck and bursts into laughter.
"Convoy" was filmed almost entirely in the state of
New Mexico. [cite web |title=Internet Movie Database, Filming Locations for "Convoy" |work=imdb.com |url=http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0077369/locations |accessdate=2007-07-20] Production began in 1977 when the CB Radio/trucking craze was at its peak, inspiring such films as " Smokey and the Bandit" (1977), "Handle with Care" (1977), " Breaker! Breaker!" (1977) and "High-Ballin"' (1978), as well as the television series "Movin' On" (1974-1976) and " B.J. and the Bear" (1979-1981).
During this period of Sam Peckinpah's life, it was reported he suffered from
alcoholismand drug addiction. His four previous films, " Cross of Iron" (1977), " The Killer Elite" (1975), " Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia" (1974) and " Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid" (1973), had struggled at the box office and the director needed a genuine blockbuster success. [cite book |first=David |last=Weddle|authorlink= David Weddle| title="If They Move...Kill 'Em!"| publisher=Grove Press |year = 1994|pages=514. ISBN 0-8021-3776-8] Unhappy with the screenplay written by B.W.L. Norton, Peckinpah tried to encourage the actors to re-write, improvise and ad-lib their dialogue, with little success. [cite book |first=David |last=Weddle|authorlink= David Weddle| title="If They Move...Kill 'Em!"| publisher=Grove Press |year = 1994|pages=515. ISBN 0-8021-3776-8] In another departure from the script, Peckinpah attempted to add a new dimension to the film by casting a pair of black actors as members of the convoy including Madge Sinclairas Widow Woman and Franklyn Ajayeas Spider Mike. [cite book |first=Garner |last=Simmons|authorlink= Garner Simmons| title=Peckinpah, A Portrait in Montage| publisher=University of Texas Press |year = 1982|pages=232. ISBN 0-292-76493-6] The director's health became a continuing problem, so friend and actor James Coburnwas brought in to serve as second unit director. Coburn directed much of the film's footage while Peckinpah remained in his on-location trailer. [cite book |first=David |last=Weddle|authorlink= David Weddle| title="If They Move...Kill 'Em!"| publisher=Grove Press |year = 1994|pages=515. ISBN 0-8021-3776-8]
The picture finished 11 days behind schedule at a cost of $12 million, more than double its original budget. Surprisingly, "Convoy" was the highest-grossing picture of Peckinpah's career, notching $46.5 million at the box office. But his reputation was seriously damaged by rumors of increasingly destructive alcohol and
cocaineabuse. Peckinpah would make just one more film, "The Osterman Weekend" in 1983, before his death the following year. [cite book |first=David |last=Weddle|authorlink= David Weddle| title="If They Move...Kill 'Em!"| publisher=Grove Press |year = 1994|pages=517-518. ISBN 0-8021-3776-8]
Peckinpah has a cameo as a sound gaffer during an interview scene. [cite web |title=Internet Movie Database, Trivia for "Convoy" |work=imdb.com |url=http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0077369/trivia |accessdate=2007-07-20] Rubber Duck's
truckis generally represented in the movie as a 1977Mack RS786LST [ [http://www.stlouisdumptrucks.com/convoy9-04b_003.htm Trucks from the film "Convoy"] ] .
This film going round the cinemas in Britain started a massive lasting wave of illegal
CB radiouse in Britain, leading eventually to CB radio becoming legal in Britain.
*"Convoy" by C.W McCall
*"Cowboys Don't Get Lucky All The Time" by
*"Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue" by
*"I Cheated On A Good Woman's Love" by
Billy "Crash" Craddock
*"Okie From Muskogee" by
*"Southern Nights" by
Blanket on the Ground" by Billie Joe Spears
*"Keep On The Sunny Side" by
*"Walk Right Back" by Annie Murray
* [http://thehighhat.com/Nitrate/002/bottom_shelf_convoy.html Review by Scott Vondoviak]
* [http://www.convoytm.com Convoy The Movie]
* [http://www.cw-mccall.com C.W. McCall: An American Legend]
* [http://www.stlouisdumptrucks.com/ConvoyMackTruck/index.html The Trucks from Convoy]
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