Crossing the Line

The price of admission includes one-and-a-half hours of the most enlightened cinematography in color, which serves as the background to an edifying tale about dirt-bike racing related to Edward Ludwig’s Mozartean allegory The Big Wheel. The central style is casual dramatics associated with the director’s other line, here tending toward professional acting (John Saxon, Paul L. Smith, Cameron Mitchell) and always with a sense of amusement.

A dirt-bike accident puts a boy in a coma and leaves his friend under a cloud. A motocross victory fails to square the latter with the former’s vengeful brother and thuggish chums, but a fistfight leads to a surprising rapprochement. The accident has interfered with the union negotiations conducted by the racer’s executive father, the bone of contention between the boys is jealousy over a position in life looked down upon by the scion and despaired of by his enemy.

The vivid forms and structures revealed by the cinematography with an impression of realism in the lighting and accurate coloration throughout make for the real drama in a certain sense, so that it may be lamented Louis Malle with such pictures in black-and-white made Ascenseur pour l'échafaud, but the dramatic significance of Graver’s film is not to be sneezed at in this context.