This chapter tells how Two-Lane Blacktop gained recognition years after its release.Warren Oates and two other lead actors die, giving the film an aura of poignancy—Laurie Bird from a drug overdose and Dennis Wilson from drowning while drunk. The movie becomes an example of the risk of profit-driven studios empowering auteur directors. As years pass, Monte Hellman gains accolades and esteem, and Two-Lane is considered his masterpiece. The movie has several themes in common with his other films, such as a voyage, references to death, and outsiders in an unpopulated area and living on the fringes of society. Like his other works it ignores genre conventions. It also exhibits his visual style, most notably in the gas station scene, with the camera focusing on one spot as characters come and go, with simultaneous action in the background, and not much camera movement.
Keywords: Two-Lane Blacktop, Monte Hellman, Dennis Wilson, Laurie Bird, Warren Oates