Highway 61 (film)
|Directed by||Bruce McDonald|
|Produced by||Colin Brunton
|Written by||Bruce McDonald
|Music by||Nash the Slash|
|Edited by||Michael Pacek|
|Distributed by||Shadow Shows Incorporated (Canada)|
|Release date(s)||September 7, 1991 (Canada) April 24, 1992 (USA)|
|Running time||102 min.|
Highway 61 is a 1991 film by Canadian director Bruce McDonald.
The film stars Don McKellar as Pokey Jones, an orphaned barber in a small town near Thunder Bay, Ontario who dreams of becoming a jazz musician. One morning, Jones discovers a frozen corpse (Steve Fall) in his backyard, and soon meets Jackie Bangs (Valerie Buhagiar), a tough and mysterious roadie who claims the dead man is her brother.
Jackie's real intention is to use the body, a vagrant unknown to anyone in town, to smuggle stolen drugs into the United States. She convinces Pokey to use his parents' car, which hasn't been driven in decades, to drive her to New Orleans to bury her brother. So Jackie and Pokey set out along Highway 61, coffin strapped to the top of the car, and follow Bob Dylan's famous U.S. Highway 61 south through the heart of the United States. They're pursued by Mr. Skin (Earl Pastko), who believes he's Satan and wants to claim the body because the dead man sold Mr. Skin his soul.
Peter Breck is fourth-billed as Mr. Watson, the "stage-mom" father of three girls: Mississippi (Missy), Minnesota (Minnie), and Louisiana (Louise). The film also includes cameo appearances by Tav Falco, Jello Biafra, and Art Bergmann.
The film's soundtrack album includes songs by Bourbon Tabernacle Choir, Rita Chiarelli, Nash the Slash, Acid Test, Jellyfishbabies, and Tom Jones. Nash the Slash also composed the film's instrumental score.
In 2001, Playback named Highway 61 the 15th best Canadian film since 1986. McDonald won "Best Director" honours at both San Sebastián International Film Festival and Brussels International Festival of Fantasy Film, two of the top festivals in the world.