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CONVOY (director: Sam Peckinpah; screenwriter: Bill Norton/story by Bill Norton/based on C.W. McCall’s song “Convoy”; cinematographer: Harry Straddling Jr.; editors: Garth Craven/John Wright; music: Chip Davis; cast: Kris Kristofferson (Rubber Duck), Ali MacGraw (Melissa), Ernest Borgnine (Lyle Wallace), Burt Young (Pig Pen), Madge Sinclair (Widow Woman), Franklyn Ajaye (Spider Mike), Cassie Yates (Violet), Seymour Cassel (Governor Haskins), Cassie Yates (Violet), Brian Davies (Chuck Arnoldi); Runtime: 106; MPAA Rating: PG; producer: Robert M. Sherman; Cheezy Flicks; 1978)
“It might be worth seeing how the acclaimed auteur who made The Wild Bunch could also make the dreadful Convoy.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A moronic comic book movie based on the hit C.W. McCall song “Convoy,” about an independent trucker trying to survive in a changing America. Even an accomplished director like Sam Peckinpah (“The Deadly Companions”/”Ride The High Country”/”The Getaway”) can’t save this mess from a bad script by Bill Norton, cardboard characters and lame acting by the seemingly talented cast. The pic was savaged upon its release and has failed through the years to find acceptance even among most Peckinpah fans.

It has independent Albuquerque based trucker, using the CB handle “Rubber Duck” (Kris Kristofferson), driving in the Arizona desert and chatting on the CB with fellow truckers “Pig Pen” (Burt Young) and “Spider Mike” (Franklyn Ajaye). The trio runs into corrupt traffic cop Lyle “Cottonmouth” Wallace (Ernest Borgnine), who set-up a phony speed trap and forces them to pay wicked speeding fines on the spot or go to jail. The truckers are pissed at being harassed and paying off the corrupt cop. Rubber Duck and Lyle have a history of antagonistic encounters, and things escalate when Lyle threatens to arrest Spider Mike at a rest-stop and the other truckers come to his aid and prevent Lyle and the other officers from making a phony arrest. A brawl erupts and the restaurant gets destroyed and the cop cars get destroyed, but no one gets badly hurt. After the brawl the truckers go on the run and are joined by trucker “Widow Woman” (Madge Sinclair), while Rubber Duck gives the hottie photographer Melissa (Ali MacGraw) a lift in his rig. The truckers head for the state line and are chased by Lyle, in a car he forcefully takes from a teenager, and soon other cops come to Lyle’s aid in the chase. The truckers learn of the chase through their CBs and form a convoy to support their fellow truckers.

The uninspired story is amiable and has the stunt men doing yeomen work, but lacks style, subtlety, wit and and other traits of good filmmaking. It strangely never even caught on as a cult film. I guess, as a curio escapist chase trucker slapstick comedy, it might be worth seeing how the acclaimed auteur who made The Wild Bunch could also make the dreadful Convoy.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”