Crossroads U.S.A. (film #7 on AV Geeks). [Category: Industrial]

This oil-industry sponsored film from the 50s shows us a group of people who are stranded by a storm in a gas station. One of them is Andy, a young man who just turned down a job offer by the gas station owner because he is disillusioned by the opportunities available to a young, working-class person like himself. Another stranded person just happens to be an oil prospector who just made a big strike. When Andy calls him “lucky,” he disagrees, telling him that it took a lot of hard work, money, and discouraging failed attempts before he made the big strike. Just when the storm clears up, another stranded person who just happens to be a hold-up man, gets out his gun and prepares to get money the easy way. He attempts to recruit Andy to a life of crime, but Andy attacks him rather than cooperating. The hold-up guy is eventually overpowered and turned over to the police, and this somehow convinces Andy to take the gas station job and to have faith in individual initiative again. This is another attempt to sell the idea of individually-based capitalism to the masses, and a rather lame one at that. Although the oil prospector’s tale sounds fairly convincing, it’s hard to translate all the money he must have had at the outset to engage in such a speculative venture to Andy’s minimum wage job at the gas station. I don’t wholly object to the idea of individual initiative, but when you consider the source of a film like this, its message becomes hard to swallow.

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.

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