The Skydivers

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The Skydivers
Theskydivers.jpg
Directed by Coleman Francis
Produced by Anthony Cardoza
Written by Coleman Francis
Starring Kevin Casey
Eric Tomlin
Anthony Cardoza
Marcia Knight
Titus Moede
Keith Walton
Paul Francis
Jimmy Bryant
Harold Saunders
Music by Stock music
Cinematography Austin McKinley
Lee Strosnider
Edited by Bob Lusby
Distributed by Crown International Pictures
Release date
November 13, 1963 (USA)
Running time
75 min.
Country  United States
Language English

The Skydivers is a 1963 film produced by Anthony Cardoza and written and directed by Coleman Francis, who together also made The Beast of Yucca Flats. It stars actress Kevin Casey as Beth, along with, also from The Beast of Yucca Flats, Eric Tomlin as Joe, Anthony Cardoza as Harry, and Marcia Knight as Suzy. The film contains performances by influential Nashville guitarist Jimmy Bryant.

After being forgotten for three decades the film got a second life in 1994, serving the basis for a Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode (during which TV's Frank describes it as like "Manos without the lucid plot"). At one point, the film was the lowest-rated of all time on the Internet Movie Database.[citation needed]

Plot summary[edit]

Harry (Anthony Cardoza) and Beth (Kevin Casey) Rowe run a small skydiving facility in an unnamed desert town. One day, a woman named Suzy Belmont (Marcia Knight) comes around claiming to be looking for the Rowes' plane mechanic Frankie Bonner (Titus Moede). Beth claims that Frankie was fired for being drunk on the job, but feels that Suzy didn't come down just to see Frankie. As she walks away, Beth can't help but feel that her husband is having an affair with this floozy. It turns out that Harry is, but is still keeping it a secret from his wife. One evening, they receive a letter from Harry's friend, Joe Moss (Eric Tomlin). Joe wants to visit and is looking for a job. Beth comments that Joe could easily fill Frankie's position and Harry consents.

Soon after, Frankie returns to the skydiving school, but Harry catches him trying to sabotage a plane and accosts him. Frankie demands Harry to stay away from Suzy. Harry agrees but warns that he'll break both of Frankie's legs if he ever returns to the facility.

Joe Moss eventually arrives and Harry and Beth greet him warmly. Joe is just in time to witness an eager young man, Pete (Paul Francis), propose to do a dangerous skydiving stunt. Harry warns that the FAA could come down on them for that, but Pete is determined to prove he can do it. He starts out fine, but before he can pull his chute he panics and plummets to the ground. The FAA do get involved; they shut down the Rowes' skydiving facility. Harry drives into town and has a beer at a local bar. He finds Suzy outside and fights off her advances before leaving her in the parking lot fuming.

Incensed at Harry, Suzy plots revenge by convincing love-struck Frankie to help her put acid in Harry's parachute. An unsure Frankie gingerly agrees.

Eventually the facility reopens, and numerous people come out to see the skydivers. Trouble brews when Harry thinks Beth and Joe are having an affair; Harry even confronts Joe. Harry and Beth soon make up and Joe backs off. They plan a night jump and a pre-jump party. During the party Suzy and Frankie sneak into the hangar and pour acid on Harry's parachute. The party is lively, but the evening ends in tragedy when Harry's chute rips and he plummets to the ground to his death.

Witness report seeing Suzy and Frankie running away from the preparations room. Joe gets into his car and soon catches up to them. However, some men from the FAA give chase in a plane and in a car. In spite of the lack of any direct evidence that they were responsible, and no legal proceedings, the two are immediately gunned down without warning by the authorities as they drive away from the facility.

In the aftermath, Joe takes his leave of Beth, who is giving up running the skydiving facility. As Joe drives away, Beth takes her own leave of the facility. The curiously grim end credits feature names and head shots of the actors set to total silence.

Alternative titles[edit]

The Skydivers is also known as Fiend from Half Moon Bay and Panic at Half Moon Bay.

DVD releases[edit]

  • The MST3K version of the film (accompanied by the uncut version, included as a bonus feature) was released by Rhino Home Video as part of the Collection, Volume 1 DVD set.

External links[edit]