March 17, 2005. It’s St. Paddys’ day in San Francisco but most of the Bay Area desert racers and fans are not out drinking green beer. We’re watching a special screening of Dana Brown’s new movie about the Baja 1000, “Dust to Glory.”
Since many of the moviegoers either appear in the movie, were involved in production, or have been involved in the Baja 1000, there is a bit of a carnival atmosphere in the theatre. Our friends and heroes are the stars of this film, so this is a partisan crowd.
That said, this is a very well-made movie. Dana Brown’s dad, Bruce, made “On Any Sunday,” the ultimate motorcycling classic, and some of the father’s style has rubbed off on the son. We get a decent history and description of the race, and an introduction to the personalities involved, but the best part of this movie is the amazing collection of action shots.
Dana said he had 60 cameras shooting the 32-hour race, many of them in or on the race vehicles, and one on a boom on a specially-built buggy. Great stuff. The only way to get a better feel for desert racing without actually doing it would be to watch the movie while being thrown from a moving car into a ditch while having your checking account emptied.
The helicopter shots of the long duel between Johnny Campbell and Andy Grider, way out in front of all the rest, is reason enough to find and watch this movie. There was quite a long scene showing Mario Andretti fooling around in a pre-runner. Sure, he’s an impressive guy, but he didn’t enter this race and I felt this was a bit superfluous. The various narrators, all Baja legends, repeatedly made the point that this race is open to anyone who shows up and pays the entry fee. Good point. I wish Dana had followed this up with more footage and stories about the privateers struggling way behind the leaders, though.
“Dust to Glory” comes out on April 1 in NY and LA, wider release starting on April 8, 2005.
Check out http://d2gfilm.com for more info, trailers, and one of the coolest uses of Flash (see the Movie Maker!). Warning, this site is not for the bandwidth-challenged!
– Charlie Rauseo