Speedway (1968)

speedway poster 1968 movie elvis presley nancy sinatra
6.5 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 6/10
Visuals: 6/10

The ending wasn't entirely expected

Rather typical Elvis movie

 
Movie Info

Movie Name:  Speedway

Studio:

Genre(s): Movie Genre

Release Date(s): Movie Release Date

MPAA Rating: Movie Rating

speedway 1968 racing movie elvis presley

Hmmm…The Charlotte Motor Speedway suddenly looks a lot more like Hollywood

Steve Grayson (Elvis Presley) is one of the best NASCAR drivers on the circuit.  As the wins keep rolling in, Steve and his business partner Kenny Donford (Bill Bixby) become the target of an IRS probe led by R.W. Hepworth (Gale Gordon) with Susan Jacks (Nancy Sinatra) working undercover to see where all the winnings are going.  Steve doesn’t know it, but his luck is about to run out and the money that he thought he had is going away…and only winning can stop it!

Directed by Norman Taurog, Speedway is a musical sports movie.  Following Presley’s movie Stay Away, Joe (also released in 1968), the movie was a financial failure and received mixed reviews.

Elvis movies are Elvis movies.  There will be a rather flimsy plot, a standoffish girl that ends up falling for him, and singing.  Speedway meets all of the criteria, but it is better than some Elvis films in that it keeps moving.

speedway bill bixby 1968

I saw this episode…David Banner gets hassled and….

The story for Speedway is rather typical.  Steve is the good guy that even takes care of the people down-and-out of their luck.  This of course becomes a problem when Steve learns that he needs money for back-taxes owed to the IRS because of his manager (and Steve seems to take that pretty decently despite the lies).  Fortunately Steve woos the IRS girl and a race could end his troubles.  Where Speedway differs a bit is that Steve doesn’t win and third place makes him squeak by for now…which is a bit better than most sports movies.

Presley always just plays the role he’s given as if he’s given another hat.  This time he’s given a racing helmet and spend a lot of his time in a car with a blue screen behind him.  It doesn’t have as much music as some other Elvis movies, but it still does have him singing.  Nancy Sinatra also does some singing as an up-and-coming performer at the time.  Bill Bixby plays the sleazy manager that is portrayed as a good guy who is misguided in the movie.  Gale Gordon is the tax collector and William Schallert plays the father down on his luck.  The movie also features cameos by NASCAR drivers Cale Yarorough, Tiny Lund, Buddy Baker, Dick Hutcherson, G.C. Spencer, Roy Mayne, and Richard Petty.

speedway elvis presley nancy sinatra 1968

One of these days these boots are going to walk all over you, Elvis

The movie was shot at the Charlotte Motor Speedway in North Carolina.  The movie looks rather cheap because it largely uses chroma key backgrounds for Elvis’s racing scenes and stock race footage for the race…which admittedly looks more dangerous and thrilling than today’s NASCAR.

Speedway is a fun little Elvis movie that goes by quickly.  There are worse Elvis films and if you have to watch a cheesy musical romance, this might be one of your better choices…just do not go in expecting high art.  Elvis continued trucking after Speedway and starred in Live a Little, Love a Little also released in 1968.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by

Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn’t afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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