Friday, August 27, 2010

The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Truck Driver

A February 14, 1971 Los Angeles Times production report of Vernon Zimmerman's Deadhead Miles starring Alan Arkin, written by Terrence Malick, and produced by Tony Bill.

Following long haul trucker Arkin across the country, the film features an interesting array of old Hollywood hands including Ida Lupino, George Raft (who starred in classic trucker entry They Drive By Night), and Bruce Bennett. Other familiar faces in the cast are Paul Benedict, Charles Durning, Hector Elizondo, Loretta Swit, Richard Kiel, John Milius, Allan Garfield,Barnard Hughes, and Avery Schreiber.

Originally slated for a 1972 release by Paramount, the film was shelved save for several film festival appearances in the 1970s and '80s, where it was already proclaimed a "missing movie" by programmers and journalists. My copy comes from an A&E broadcast from the late '80s or early '90s.

From an L.A. Times report on the La Jolla Film Festival in 1980,
which included a rare screening of Deadhead Miles.

According to a 1985 L.A. Times article on the Filmex festival that year, of which Deadhead Miles was a part of, the film was deemed "unreleasable" by the studio upon its completion. Perhaps Paramount will license the film to Olive Films who have recently scheduled a wave of previously unseen, on DVD, Paramount titles, many from the late '60s-'70s.

EDIT: The film is now available via Netflix Streaming.


Nathan said...

Looks like Deadhead Miles is on Netflix instant now!

Ned Merrill said...

Yes, it is, amazingly. Check out Rupert's blog for MANY great finds on Netflix instant.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this, I mentioned it on my Terrence Malick blog with due credit to your site. Best wishes, Paul

Ned Merrill said...

Paul Maher Jr.,

Thanks! I will be sure to take a look at your site.