Gone in 60 Seconds courtesy Brentwood Home Video
The original Gone in 60 Seconds: Until you've seen it, You don't know car chases.

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I'm surrounded by squealing tires, crunching metal and shattering glass and that's just when I go to the movies.

And not just your the run-of-the-mill car chases, the ones every action picture is contractually obligate to have. These are chases that take center stage: The double-whammy of Nascar creep and the success of the Fast and the Furious franchise spawned a slew of moto-maniacal progeny, from the comic Talledega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006) to Redline (2007) and Collier & Co.: Hot Pursuit (2006) a pair of home movies on a theatrical scale, the former an excuse for exotic car collector Daniel Sedak to show off his expensive toys and the latter former Dukes of Hazzard star John Schneider's bid to make a family-friendly hot-cars picture -- and even the new reality show Fast Cars & Superstars. All of which reminded me of the granddaddy of all pedal-to-the-metal car chase pictures, and I don't mean 1968's Bullit. I mean H.B. "Toby" Halicki's Gone in 60 Seconds (1974). Not the glossy, CGI-heavy Nicolas Cage remake, but the indie movie whose 40-minute car-chase climax is the gold standard in pure, kick-ass stunt driving.

Make no mistake: Gone in 60 Seconds is rough around the edges. The stripped-down plot involves a gang of high-end Southern California car thieves who take an order for 48 luxury vehicles, to be delivered within the week, and then set about boosting them. But the posse's leader, Maindrian Pace (writer-director-producer Halicki), is betrayed by a disgruntled former partner, who tips off the police that Maindrian is boosting a coveted mustard-gold, 1973 Mustang nicknamed "Eleanor." And the chase begins Halicki wasn't an actor believe me, he wasn't or much of a writer or, for that matter, a director -- at least when it came to getting performances of human beings. He wasn't even a stuntman. But he could drive and he knew cars, especially what they could take and keep going: Halicki made his money restoring wrecked luxury cars. He bought and destroyed nearly 100 cars for Gone in 60 Seconds, and they gave their metal lives for a classic "you have to see it to believe it" series of car stunts that are as breathtaking a fusion of discipline, grace and nerve as any ballet, trapeze act or high wire stunt. All shot on real city streets and highways, with no post-production sweetening.

You can see it all here:

Eleanor Chase Part 1
Eleanor Chase Part 2
Eleanor Chase Part 3
Eleanor Chase Part 4

Now that's stunt driving -- no wonder Halicki walked away from Gone in 60 Seconds with the title the "Car Crash King."

Halicki was killed in 1989 in a freak accident on the set of Gone in 60 Seconds 2 a really freakish accident. He was sitting in parked car when a water tower that had been rigged to breakaway during a stunt collapsed and hit a power pole that crashed into Halicki's vehicle, killing him instantly in front of a crowd of onlookers.

Things to consider:

What's the appeal of car chases in movies?

Your favorite auto stunt?

Send your movie questions to FlickChick.

Previously in DVD Tuesday

Bob le Flambeur
Near Dark
Perfect Blue
Pan's Labyrinth
Les Girls
The Girl Who Knew Too Much
The Queen
Expresso Bongo
I'm Not Scared
Shocking Grindhouse Double Bill! - Scanners and The Candy Snatchers
Don't Look Now
Casino Royale
http:/ / community. tvguide. com/ thread. jspa? threadID= 800073953#comments"> Pi
The Prestige
13 Tzameti
The Departed
Kiss and Make Up
Kiss Me Deadly
The Long Good Friday
What Alice Found
The Devil's Backbone
The Descent
The Devil Wears Prada
Pandora's Box
The Thief and the Cobbler
Panic in the Streets/Jack Palance Interview
The Pusher Trilogy
Sunset Blvd.
In Cold Blood
Also: This week's new DVD releases