49 Years Ago Today…
the sleeper hit biker movie Run, Angel, Run! opened. After selling his story about his former biker gang to a magazine for $10,000, burly William Smith hits the highway with his motorcycle mama Valerie Starrett in tow and his biker gang in hot pursuit. In an interesting footnote, Starrett was the co-author of the screenplay and it was directed by her ex-husband actor-turned-director Jack Starrett. The low budget movie, from a new company called Fanfare founded by producer Joe Solomon, shocked Hollywood when it grossed close to $13 million in 1969.
Speaking in length about making Run, Angel, Run! in my book Talking Sixties Drive-In Movies, Valerie Starrett attributed the film’s success to her estranged husband Jack Starrett:
“Jack was quite amazing and had to be innovative working with such a low budget. Everything was one take and then he’d say, ‘Move on, move on.’ It was shot so cheaply that though there are references to the Russian River of Northern California it was all shot in Malibu Canyon. Those endless shots of us on the Pacific Coast Highway were all in Malibu. The actual filming was extremely painful and I hated all of it. It is one thing to envision a rape and another to be the active person in it. [Actor and friend] Gene Cornelius is bursting through a window and it was so laughable to me. That scene was hard to do. There was another scene at the railroad station—which was actually a great action piece—where as I am running I accidentally fell and banged up my knee. For most of the rest of the filming I was in excruciating pain…” You can read more in my book.