I was familiar with Jack Hill (loved Spider Baby) and had read about this film. Looked for it and found it nowhere. Saw the trailer for it on YouTube and really wanted to see it. So when I found out Arrow (I love this company!) was releasing this film I had to order it as a blind purchase (which I rarely do).
What's the verdict? Well, I really liked the movie and found it as good in production and acting as Spider Baby (if not a little better). It wasn't as quirky but it was a really good low-budget racing film using REAL figure 8 racing footage, which is quite exciting. And the print looks really good considering how old and rare this film seems to be.
I was surprised to see Brian Donlevy and later learned this to be his last movie. I liked the characters and also the theme that winning for some is everything (and Washburn was especially cute and sexy). I haven't agreed with all of Hill's films but this was a fine little movie, in my opinion. So if you looking for a well made drive-in movie about figure 8 racing, give this one a try.
Extras on the disc are fine too: Commentary with Hill and biographer Calum Waddell Featurettes about the making of the movie with Hill and Haig Corman talks briefly how Pit Stop got made
I was very happy with this release by Arrow and eagerly await further releases by them.
This title has been long out-of-print in the states, so it is great to have this UK Blu-ray/DVD combo. The improved sound quality is great for those who love the psychedelic music performed by members of The Daily Flash rock band. Although I consider Jack Hill's SWITCHBLADE SISTERS to be his true masterpiece, this film is certainly among his best.
Excellent restoration from Arrow, my favorite cult Bluray distribution company; you feel cool just holding their products in your hands. This film is a gem -- everything I wanted it to be: fist fights, epic car races, beautiful girls and rock 'n' roll. Barring a few scenes where they only had severely damaged material to work with, Arrow have done an amazing job with the restoration, and the Bluray is packed full of extras. Buy it now!
This new re-mastered Blu-Ray is total Quality. If you like Stock cars/Banger Racing I highly recommended this Disc. The stock racing footage (figure 8) is film at the now long defunct Ascot Park Raceway USA. The film is gritty almost Noir in style. So get some pop corn and buckle up for a good night in...you can almost taste the shale !
Pit Stop has an interesting background. Legendary exploitation king Roger Corman, aware that independent director Jack Hill was able to work on small budgets, gave him a small budget to make a stock car racing movie but the former, appalled by the sport (is it?), wanted to make an art film. So a compromise was reached: an art, stock car racing film! The result is Pit Stop (originally titled The Winner), a movie that has as much energy in its telling as the cars on the tracks and, working the highly dangerous figure-eight circuit, it’s a fast and furious actioner with authentic crashes galore. The skill in whch Hill handles the direction, it’s the real thing putting the viewer in the midst of the mayhem.
Giving the story genuine depth, an interesting cast (real and screenwise) was assembled. Richard Davalos, James Dean’s brother in “East of Eden”, plays the loner out to win; Sid Haig, probably Hill’s favourite actor, gives a standout performance as the arrogant, maniacal Hawk Sidney, the “take on all comers” king of the circuit; and Hollywood veteran Brian Donlevy, as shrewd businessman Willard who only backs winners, finely contrasts with the young cast. There’s also smaller, but equally effective, performances from Beverly Washburn as the kooky, group-ish Jolene and future Oscar winner Ellen Burstyn in one of her earliest screen appearances.
Much more realistic than any major, big budget Hollywood car movie, this tale of ambitious obsession stands out as a king among cult/drive-in movies but, unfortunately, not the best known among Jack Hill’s highly impressive catalogue (possibly because b&w movies were commercially dead at the time of its release). Hopefully this release with a stack of extras – including soundtrack commentary by Hill, reflections by him, Haig and Corman and an informative booklet– will help gain Pit Stop the recognition that it well deserves.
Pit Stop. It has been classed as Jack Hill's crown jewel film, i agree with that one hundred percent. Pit Stop A.K.A. The Winner is a film revolving around figure eight racing, well thats half the plot. The film has action, drama and in a way romance, it is a super tough, super cool firm, and is extremely underrated. It comes in an brilliant package as well. It comes with a reversible cover for the blu ray itself, a booklet about the Film Pit stop and a sort-of postcard with other films on it. The restoration Arrow Video has done with it is outstanding, if you are a fan of Arrow Video, or slick, cool racing films, then i recommend this film 100%, with out a doubt my favourite Jack Hill film and my favourite Arrow Video so far! Well done Arrow, you did it again!