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What Made Sammy Speed?1957

Clean-cut seventeen-year-old Sam Robertson is already a corpse under ambulance workers' blanket at an intersection when this cautionary short from ever-fatalistic educational filmmaker Sid Davis begins. What happened? A juvenile officer searches for clues, flashbacks then showing how this conscientious and popular student nonetheless courted just such a disaster. We see how Sam's father provided a poor driving role model. And how a hero-worshipping little brother and adoring girlfriend viewed his "showoff" antics behind the wheel as "manly and courageous." And, ultimately, how speeding provided "an emotional outlet" for Sam's hidden insecurities and failures. Truth or psychoanalytic fiction? You decide. - Dennis Harvey

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