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The Gumball Rally
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Genre:Comedy
Year:1976
Rating:PG
Cast:Chuck Bail, Michael Sarrazin, Norman Burton, Gary Busey

For better or worse, Gumball Rally was the catalyst for a short-lived cycle of "illegal cross-country race" flicks. As thick-headed cop Roscoe (Norman Burton) does his best to stop the titular rally, a vast and varied contingent of contestants prepare to burn rubber from New York to California. The best-looking of the racers is top-billed Michael Sarrazin, but the film is stolen by Raul Julia as a delightful narcissistic Italian road jockey. Producer/director Chuck Bail was formerly a stunt coordinator, which helps to explain why the incessant car crashes and near-misses in the film are so consistently exciting. Surprisingly, the doggedly low-budget Gumball Rally was produced by First Artists, a company formed by such major stars as Dustin Hoffman, Barbra Streisand and Steve McQueen for the purpose of creating "prestige" film fare. Hal Erickson

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