Neil Gallagher (Ken Marshall, Prince Colwyn from Krull) wants to get back at Harold “The Whale” Remmens (Charles Durning), who just might be the best pinball player in the world. After he’s busting cheating, he leaves town and soon discovers 14-year-old pinball player Brenda “Tilt” Davenport (Brooke Shields), who comes from a bad home and has mostly turned to a bartender Mickey (John Crawford) as her father figure. She thinks she’s using her pinball skills to hustle players to fund Neil’s singing career, but it’s all about coming back home to win that big bet and get revenge.
With Lorenzo Lamas, Don Stark and Geoffrey Lewis, who is in a wild scene with Shields where she offends him by telling him that she wants to make love to his life — Shields was 13 at the time this was filmed, the 70s were insanity — this is a movie that makes us think that the economy of 1979 America was based on pinball.
I was wondering why this movie seems so deranged and then I saw the credits. It was co-written by Donald Cammell, who made Performance and it all makes sense. This was directed by Randy Durand, who only made this one film. Cammell left the movie when they wouldn’t hire Jodie Foster as the lead. Durand was the director, a co-writer, the producer, musical director, and in the sound department, was responsible for the pinball machine musical sound effects. He’d wanted to hire Orson Welles to be Durning’s role, but even though he couldn’t do it, he mentioned the movie on The Tonight Show, which helped Durand get some funding.
Even wilder, there was a Sahara Love pinball machine based on the Cannon film Sahara that Brooke made years later.
You can watch this on YouTube.
Wow, I remember this being advertised and remember wanting to see it. I was only 15 when it came out. Now it just seems like a weird movie. I fast-forwarded through it and some of the music sounds good. Maybe something to watch as background noise someday. 🙂