DVD cover of "Corvette Summer"
|Directed by||Matthew Robbins|
|Produced by||Hal Barwood|
|Written by||Hal Barwood
|Music by||Craig Safan|
|Edited by||Amy Holden Jones|
Corvette Summer is an American film, released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1978 starring Mark Hamill and Annie Potts. It tells the story of a lonely, car-obsessed California teenager and the theft of his beloved customized Corvette Stingray.
Kenny Dantley (Mark Hamill) is a car-loving Southern California high school senior. For a project in his shop class, Kenny helps build a customized Chevrolet Corvette Stingray with right-hand-drive. Shortly after the new set of wheels is unveiled, the car is stolen from the streets of Van Nuys. Kenny immediately sets out on the trail of the thieves, which takes him to Las Vegas. On the way, he meets Vanessa (Annie Potts) who is a self-described "prostitute-in-training."
Kenny finds work in a Vegas car wash, and one day spots his car. He follows it to a local garage, where he has a run-in with the garage owner, Wayne Lowry (Kim Milford), before being rescued by Vanessa. Lowry contacts Kenny’s high school teacher, Ed McGrath (Eugene Roche), and McGrath then comes to Las Vegas. During a conversation with McGrath, Kenny is crushed to learn that this admired teacher of his had arranged for the theft of the Corvette to help himself out of financial trouble. When McGrath suggests Kenny go to work for Lowry, Kenny agrees to it. He will make good money, but secretly plans to steal the Corvette back from Lowry.
Eventually, Kenny completes his plans, steals the car back, saves Vanessa from her life of prostitution, wins a wild car chase, and returns in triumph with the Corvette – and Vanessa – to his old high school.
The novelization of Corvette Summer was written by Wayland Drew and was published by the New American Library of Canada in 1978.
|Mark Hamill||Kenneth W. Dantley, Jr.|
|Eugene Roche||Ed McGrath|
|William Bryant||Plainclothes Police Lecturer|
|Richard McKenzie||Principal Bacon|
|Kim Milford||Wayne Lowry|
|Jane A. Johnston||Mrs. Dantley|
|Stanley Kamel||Las Vegas Con Man|
|Jason Ronard||Tony (Wayne's Chain Wielding Henchman)|
|Brion James||Jeff (Wayne's Carwash Henchman)|
|Dick Miller||Mr. Lucky|
|Jonathan Terry||Van Nuys Policeman|
|Wendie Jo Sperber||Kuchinsky|
There were two Corvettes made for the film, a main car and a "backup" model, both built for MGM by Dick Korkes of Korky's Kustom Studios. The main car was often displayed during the film's publicity tour, and both cars were later sold by MGM to private parties. The original car was sold to an Australian collector and "restored" to look different from how it appears in the film. An original mold of the car was displayed at the Corvette Americana Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, and is now part of the collection of the National Corvette Museum. The "backup" car remained in the U.S., was owned for a while by Mike Yager of Mid America Motorworks in Effingham, Illinois, and was on display there between periodic car shows. Mike Yager sold the car to a private collector in late 2009.
Critical reception and box office
Critic Frank Rich of Time magazine thought the movie was an appropriate summer "popcorn flick". He wrote "As long as one doesn't demand too much of it, Corvette Summer delivers a very pleasant two hours of escape." TV Guide agreed, calling the film "all in all a very funny movie with enough solid, believable story to take it beyond the realm of teenage summer fare."
Janet Maslin of The New York Times, however, wasn't as taken with the film. She wrote, "The movie takes a slender, boyish conceit — of the sort that is suddenly so popular among Hollywood's current batch of boy wonders — and invests it with silliness rather than whimsy."
Corvette Summer generated a total domestic gross of $15,500,000.
Awards and nominations
- Annie Potts was nominated for a Golden Globe Award in 1979 for "Best Motion Picture Acting Debut – Female" for Corvette Summer.
Allusions in popular culture
In Episode 513 ("The Brain That Wouldn't Die") of Mystery Science Theater 3000, Mike Nelson exclaims, "Luke, join me or you'll star in Corvette Summer." This is an allusion to Mark Hamill's role in the Star Wars films. The Beck song "Corvette Bummer" is an allusion to the film.
- "FAQ & Trivia," The Unofficial Corvette Summer Web Site. Accessed May 17, 2009.
- Street & Strip magazine (Australia) #7.
- Rich, Frank. "Hot Car," Time magazine (September 25, 1978). Accessed May 17, 2009.
- TV Guide review. Accessed May 18, 2009.
- Maslin, Janet. "Screen: Saga of a Car In 'Corvette Summer': A Double Debut," New York Times (August 4, 1978). Accessed May 18, 2009.
- Corvette Summer, Rotten Tomatoes. Accessed May 17, 2009.
- Corvette Summer at the Internet Movie Database
- Corvette Summer at AllMovie
- Corvette Summer fan site
- Korkys Kustom Studios