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The Devil at Your Heels ( The Late Show Presents: The Devil at Your Heels )

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4.7 out of 5 stars 3 reviews from Amazon.com

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Australia released, PAL/Region 0 DVD: LANGUAGES: English ( Dolby Digital 2.0 ), SPECIAL FEATURES: Commentary, Interactive Menu, Scene Access, SYNOPSIS: Ken Carter is a Canadian daredevil driver who spent five years preparing a rocket-powered car so he could launch the car from a ramp and literally soar across a mile-wide section of the St. Lawrence Seaway. Due to the undeniably off-beat nature of Carter's fixation, director Robert Fortier found financial backing to spend five years documenting Carter's preparation -- a bit unusual in itself. As the engines finally gun, the rockets light, and the car takes off, Fortier may have the additional problem of making a documentary about a wash-out. ...The Devil at Your Heels ( The Late Show Presents: The Devil at Your Heels )

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Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars 3 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Devil at your heels 29 Dec. 2011
By Waldo E. Stakes - Published on Amazon.com
This is one of my favorite films of all time. say what you will about Ken Carter, he is a character you just can't stop watching. If he was alive today he would be at the top of the reality show stardom list. He has that pie in the sky "I will do this" attitude that is what made this World what it is today. The scale of what he attempts to do all by himself is staggering and on a level only a major corporation could undertake. Whatever he has to do to make this happen and all the problems that get in his way simply don't matter to him, undaunted he always proceeds.
Carter is on a quest to either make himself World famous as the World's greatest stuntman or die trying. He is a real modern day Gladiator minus the Evel Knievel angry arrogance. Although he reminds me of a Saturday Night Live, Dan Ackroyd character in a silly, comical sort of way this man works hard and actually possesses a heart and stones of Gold!
Behind the scenes the money to finally make the jump happen after 5 years of work was put up by the 1970s American television program "That's Incredible". When the producers get tired of spending money waiting for Carter to make the jump when it is convenient for himself, the producers con his "best friend" (with friends like this who needs enemies)Ken Powers to steal the jump out from under Ken Carter. God teaches all involved a valuably needed lesson but does not kill Powers so that the lesson has time to sink in. The crash footage on this film was also used in one of the "Faces of Death videos" even though Ken Powers is still alive as that is how powerful it is.
In the end the TV producers get what they wanted anyway, fantastic footage and a huge viewing audience on the TV program. I watched this live on That's Incredible back in the late 1970s and have seen "The Devil at your heels" ten times. Say what you will, a 506 foot flight in a 200 M.P.H. plus rocket car is nothing to take lightly. For all you sarcastic critics out there, I have to ask you...How far did you jump your rocket car? There is a reason why this video is so expensive no matter what format you buy it in.....It is worth it!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Mad Canadian 18 Feb. 2005
By Comet Zipper - Published on Amazon.com
Written by Steve Mandich:

Ken Carter is a genial, pudgy, cross-eyed doofus, who grows visibly fatter as The Devil at Your Heels progresses. He's a bit of a know-it-all who seems uncomfortable with silence, so he constantly rambles on about himself or his stunts, anything to avoid dead air. However, he really has just one thing to say: "I'm looking for the ultimate statement: 'Ken Carter, World's Greatest Daredevil.' Really, that's what it's about."

Carter grew up in a Montreal slum, where he played with rats as a child. As a teenager with only a fourth-grade education, he dropped out of school to perform car stunts with a team of traveling daredevils. Soon he was a solo act, jumping at racetracks all over North America. He developed into a consummate showman, earning the nickname "The Mad Canadian" for his death-defying antics.

Now, after 20 years of countless car jumps (and countless broken bones), Carter wants to transcend the small-potatoes daredevil circuit; he wants fame, glory, immortality. He sets out to make what he figures would be the greatest stunt of all-time: a rocket-powered car jump across the St. Lawrence Seaway, from Canada into the United States, covering a distance of one mile.

Carter sinks his last dime into the project, but has trouble raising the additional quarter-million dollars needed to pull it off. ABC eventually comes to the rescue, in exchange for airing the stunt on Wide World of Sports. The live broadcast is scheduled in a few short weeks, on September 25, 1976.

Construction begins on some farmland near Morrisburg, Ontario, across the seaway from upstate New York. Fifty acres are cleared to make way for a 1,400-foot long takeoff ramp, which would rise to 85 feet atop a massive earthen mound. Carter anticipates a live audience of 100,000.

It's a race against time, reports expert Wide World correspondent Evel Knievel, not-so-fresh from his Snake River fiasco. Constant rain mires tractors in the mud and otherwise hampers construction, and the rocket car isn't completed by the deadline. Carter subsequently misses Wide World's broadcast date, and ABC withdraws its support. A heartbroken Carter announces the jump's cancellation at an emotional press conference, fighting back tears as he sees his dream slip away.

The movie cuts ahead to the following year. A freshly optimistic Carter has found new backing from some unnamed group, so preparations resume. But the car still isn't ready, summer turns to autumn, the weather worsens, and once more, the jump is cancelled.

The movie cuts ahead to the year after that. The jump is on again, then cancelled again. The same issues keep arising from year to year: financial backers come and go, inclement weather and incompetent engineering delay site construction, and a safe, reliable rocket car has yet to be delivered (among other flaws, its fuel tanks keep exploding). Carter simply can't synchronize these necessary elements. Even though his undertaking is becoming a colossal comedy of errors, he maintains his Pollyannaish disposition.

Director Robert Fortier includes several goofy touches worthy of any of Christopher Guest mockumentary, suggesting that truth is funnier than fiction. Given the opportunity to speak at length, Carter appears to lose himself when trying to articulate his bizarre personal philosophies - such as his dueling split personalities - so he seems to make them up on the spot. In another scene he struggles to squeeze himself into borrowed jumpsuit, his protruding paunch in the zipper's way. All along he drops malapropisms and mixed metaphors: he fears he "cut off more than he can chew," "irregardless," he hopes to one day become "the first civilian astronaut... in space."

Five years into the project, on September 26, 1979, everything finally seems in order: the ramp, the weather, even the rocket car, housed in the body of a Lincoln Continental. A Hollywood producer has underwritten the stunt for exclusive film rights, on the condition there be no live audience. Fire trucks, rescue boats and helicopters stand by as Carter straps himself in, and the countdown begins. However, a mere five seconds before takeoff, a mechanical failure forces him to abort the mission. Sadly, this is the closest he'll ever come to realizing his dream.

Nine days pass. The film crew suspects Carter has lost his nerve and, not wanting to lose any more money, secretly convinces Carter's friend Ken Powers hijack the stunt. Powers doesn't hesitate. With only a few spectators on hand, Powers blasts the car down the runway; meanwhile, Carter sits in his hotel room, unaware of what's afoot.

The bumpy ramp prevents the car from hitting the requisite 270 mph, going only 180 as it launches into the air. The wind immediately tears off its paneling as its parachutes halfway deploy. The car flies a paltry 506 feet, far short of a mile, and crash-lands in knee-deep water. Powers breaks eight vertebrae, three ribs, and a wrist. The footage is spectacular.

Carter soon discovers what happened and is understandably furious, exploding into a muffled rage behind his hotel room door. After spending five years and a million dollars chasing his dream, a backstabbing friend jumped his car off of his ramp, stealing his thunder.

As it had done four times before, the movie cuts ahead to the following year, this time for the epilogue. Carter once again beams with optimism, still guaranteeing the big event: "This I'm going to do. This is my dream."

Unfortunately, Ken Carter never did attempt the stunt. In 1983, two years after the release of The Devil at Your Heels, he attempted a much shorter jump in a souped-up Pontiac Firebird. The vehicle overshot its landing ramp by 30 meters and landed on its roof. Carter was instantly killed.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ken Carter 6 Sept. 2004
By Jesse Hale - Published on Amazon.com
Daredevil Ken Carter wants to Amaze the world by jumping a car

over the St Lawrence sea wave in a yellow rocket car but ken n

eeds HollyWood backers and tv exposure the movie takes a 5 yea

r run then the car is redy carter test it several times finall

y the 4th year the car is redy the ramp is redy evel knievel c

hecks everything out but the weather and problems are forbiddin

g ken carter to jump finally the backers get wind and want ken

powers to jump Powers suffers a broke back and carter is angry

and furious when he learns about the switch ken still has a dr

eam he wants to jump a mile but sadley he died in 1983 kens dr

eam never came true

This movie has all the answers
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