5.6/10
3,265
57 user 52 critic

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 »

Photos

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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
Edit

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:

Have you had a good look at your car lately? 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 »

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

This film was adapted into a musical theatre production in 1992 by the Chamber Made Opera. See more »

Goofs

When George pays for his petrol he uses paper money that is obviously not Australian. See more »

Quotes

Darryl: There's just two more things. One, the doctor. Now, I get me orders from him and you get your orders from me. Right?
Arthur Waldo: Right. Okay.
Darryl: The other thing, is the patients. Now, most of the people here are accident victims. So, what you've got are your veggies.
Arthur Waldo: Veggies?
Darryl: Yeah, now these are people who've been in accidents that are so bad that their minds all get scrambled up like scrambled eggs. Right?
Arthur Waldo: Yeah.
Darryl: In any case, you got your full veggies. Well, I doubt if he'll let you see them. I don't think ...
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

Referenced in The Simpsons: Treehouse of Horror XXIV (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Rock of Ages
(uncredited)
Lyrics by Augustus Montague Toplady and music by Thomas Hastings
Played at the church
See more »

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User Reviews

More weird than mysterious or horrific, an allegory mired in distractions
21 October 2009 | by chaos-rampantSee all my reviews

One hour into this movie and I wasn't exactly sure what kind of movie it was trying to "be". It starts off as a smalltown horror mystery of sorts but Peter Weir saddles it with so much absurdist black comedy the mystery all but evaporates and we're looking at something that is more weird/awkward than mysterious/surreal, more slow-ponderous than slow-absorbing, large parts of it reminiscent of Aki Kaurismaki and his static shots, cynical humor, deadpan delivery, and smalltown squalor. By the end of it however, the movie seems to emerge as some sort of societal parable, an allegory to the repression of a close-knit society that values appearances and tradition more than anything else and which must bury secrets in its own backyard to do so, but there's so much distraction and incoherence the point is never made with any clarity or force.

At one point the score turns Morricone circa Once Upon a Time in the West and we get a showdown in the street and young men dressed with cowboy hats. We get Carmageddon-style cars circling the statue of a cannon like Comanches painted for war. We get the vague promise of a subplot about car crash survivors turned vegetables who are kept in the hospital of the small town and who later turn up in a ball masque dressed in hoods and carton boxes (a nod to Shock Corridor?), but it never goes anywhere. Peter Weir went on to make such remarkable films as Picnic at Hanging Rock and The Last Wave, and while this never reaches the hypnotic levels of those films, it's intriguing in its own quirky awkward way. It's like a movie struggling with itself, a cult classic trying to break free from the confines of a forgettable eccentricity.


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