Posted in U.S. Film

ASSAULT ON PRECINT 13 (1976)

Police ambush and kill several gang members in Los Angeles. Gang members make a pact of blood to strike back at police, and conduct a siege on the police station which is almost abandoned and due to be closed. Staff of the closing precinct and the criminals being held there while in transit must work together to fight off the attacking gang members. Following the release of his first feature, Dark Star, John Carpenter was approached by a group of investors who gave him carte blanche to make whatever kind of picture he wanted, albeit with a very limited budget. Although Carpenter wanted to make a Western, he knew he wouldn’t have the resources to make a period piece. He wrote this film as a highly stylized, modern-day western, essentially remaking Rio Bravo, which was directed by Carpenter’s hero, Howard Hawks. Carpenter acknowledges this debt to Hawks and “Rio Bravo” by using the pseudonym of John T. Chance for his film editor’s credit, which was the name of John Wayne’s character in “Rio Bravo. The precinct’s new address, 1977 Ellendale Place (written on a sign erected in front of the building), was director John Carpenter’s real address when he first lived in Los Angeles. Shot in only 20 days. Assault on Precinct 13 was a bigger hit in Britain than America. Largely because British audiences understood and enjoyed the film’s similarities to American Westerns, whereas US audiences were too familiar with the Western genre to fully appreciate the movie. The handgun used in the ice-cream truck scene by the gang leader is a Mauser C96 semi-automatic.

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