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The Cars That Ate Paris (1974)

The small town of Paris, Australia deliberately causes car accidents, then sells/salvages all valuables from the wrecks as a means of economy.

Director:

Peter Weir

Writers:

Peter Weir (screenplay), Peter Weir (story) | 2 more credits »
Reviews
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
John Meillon ... The Mayor
Terry Camilleri ... Arthur Waldo
Kevin Miles Kevin Miles ... Dr. Midland
Rick Scully Rick Scully ... George Waldo
Max Gillies ... Metcalfe
Danny Adcock Danny Adcock ... Policeman
Bruce Spence ... Charlie
Kevin Golsby Kevin Golsby ... Insurance man
Chris Haywood ... Darryl
Peter Armstrong Peter Armstrong ... Gorman
Joe Burrow Joe Burrow ... Ganger
Deryck Barnes Deryck Barnes ... Al Smedley
Edward Howell Edward Howell ... Tringham
Max Phipps ... Mulray
Melissa Jaffer ... Beth
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Storyline

A small town in rural Australia (Paris) makes its living by causing car accidents and salvaging any valuables from the wrecks. Into this town come brothers Arthur and George. George is killed when the Parisians cause their car to crash, but Arthur survives and is brought into the community as an orderly at the hospital. But Paris is not problem free. Not only do the Parisians have to be careful of outsiders (such as insurance investigators), but they also have to cope with the young people of the town who are dissatisfied with the status quo. Written by Mark Thompson <mrt@oasis.icl.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

They're the cars that ate Paris. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Horror | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Australia

Language:

English

Release Date:

11 June 1976 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Cars That Eat People See more »

Filming Locations:

Australia See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (cut)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Donald Pleasence was considered for the role of The Mayor in this Australian movie. Pleasence had appeared in the then recent Australian film Wake in Fright (1971). The part in the end went to Australian actor John Meillon. According to the book 'The Last New Wave' by David Stratton, Pleasence "...liked the script and was keen to do it, but although his fee was very reasonable there just wasn't enough money to pay him". Pleasence would soon appear in another Australian film instead, Barry McKenzie Holds His Own (1974), which lensed a few months later in January 1974 after this film shot in October 1973. Pleasence would also later co-star in the Australian movie Ground Zero (1987). See more »

Goofs

At the end of the movie (when the people leave the village) you can see a green Austin A30 Van. The same car is crashed earlier by a car trying to jump over the Austin using a ramp. The whole front is crushed so there is no way it can be repaired. See more »

Quotes

Mulray: On my way in, I was handed an invitation to the Paris Pioneers Ball. That should be a very exciting evening. I think its a marvelous idea to make it a fancy dress ball.
See more »

Alternate Versions

US version, titled _The Cars that Ate People (1974)_ was shortened to 74 minutes by the distributor; in this version star Terry Camilleri's voice is dubbed. The film was finally reissued in the USA at complete length in 1984. See more »

Connections

Spoofs A Fistful of Dollars (1964) See more »

Soundtracks

Immortal Invisible God Only Wise
(uncredited)
written by Walter Chalmers Smith
Sung at the church
See more »

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User Reviews

The cars that ate the plot.....
11 December 2001 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

The residents of a small outback town cause car crashes on it's country, hilly roads and strip all valuable parts from the vehicles to make new cars. When Arthur Waldo survives a crash that kills his brother he stays in town as he is too scared to drive. He begins to notice strange things happening around the town, with the doctor and the mayor drawing suspicion.

This is a "cult" movie. When someone tells you something is a cult movie it usually means one of two things: 1- it's a small, indie movie that people have come to discover and it's has grown gradually in success such as Reservoir Dogs (that outgrew it's cult status). Or 2- it's a movie of any size that the vast majority of people hate and a small group of fans adore. Unfortunately this is the latter. Some people will sing this things praises till the end of time but I'm afraid I don't get it. The plot seems to be going somewhere - you start off knowing very little about who's involved in the crashes and why they do it etc, along the way we get clues about experiments on humans and outsiders who live like Mad Max style scavengers, but it leaves us with no answers. The relationship between the mayor and Arthur is strange and isn't followed and I still don't see why the crashes were staged - other than to let some of the residents build a scrap yard.

The performances are sufficiently creepy to help build an air of expectation. Terry Camilleri is epically good and the wishy-washy Arthur. However they are all betrayed by a story that has nowhere to build to and nothing to say. The director also builds the tension well but with nowhere to go what could he do, it's good he's had much better material since.

Overall the film was a severe disappointment - and I wasn't expecting much from it! It's full of promise but the story dies three-quarters of the way in. The spiky beetle is very menacing and looks great but it's not enough to build a film around one cool image. OK - but don't expect any answers.


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