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Directed by a young Robert Altman for Calvin Productions, this National Safety Council driver’s education film “The Perfect Crime” presents accidents caused by excess speed — as the perfect crime. As the narrator explains, “high speeds can lead to dangerous accidents and death. Unlike other crimes, there will be no investigation as to the cause of the crime”. The film shows how driving in rain, at night or with an improperly maintained vehicle can all be deadly. Other troublesome factors include the condition of the road and the driver as substances like alcohol impair driving ability. The film ends with a plea to help support maintaining good roadways. The film was funded by the Caterpillar Tractor Co. as a public service.

The opening scene is that of a strong arm robbery at a convenience store (:52). A burglar enters the shop run by and elderly man and woman as a young girl is behind the counter (1:26). After giving up the fourteen dollars in the cash register (1:47), the clerk is struck by the intruder (1:52) and his wife is shot. In a panic over the young girl’s screams, the burglar then shoots the young girl (1:59). Headlines are shouted in the streets of the murder of two over fourteen dollars (2:32). In most cases, the crime leads to reports which lead to public indignation and action (2:46). Citizen’s in the street arrest the burglar as he is identified from local reports (2:48). The film turns to show the scene of an automobile accident as a wounded driver pulls himself from the vehicle (3:23). A patrol vehicle arrives on scene (3:42) as the injured man is pulled onto a stretcher and white sheets are set out over the dead (4:01). This is considered ‘the perfect crime’ as the man’s reckless driving cost the life of his wife and kid although there will be of reports of indignation in the streets (4:52). The film turns now to show that even following appropriate speed limits can still result in dangerous incidents (6:34). Poor weather conditions should make a driver lower their speed limit (6:38) as two vehicles collide at a wet intersection (6:51). Poor visibility can also lead to dangerous driving conditions as a car erupts into flames as it collides with another vehicle in the dark night (7:35). In another situation a man leaves a mechanic without having his tires properly checked and adjusted (8:02). One of the front tires pops and the man is sent straight into a tree and his death (8:24). Alcohol is shown as a dangerous addition to the road. A man enters his vehicle upon leaving a liquor store (8:54) and the car is seen quickly afterwards smashed into a telephone pole (9:15). In the final incident, the camera shows that while the driver had good visibly, good weather conditions and was abiding by the speed limit, the road was in poor shape (10:29). The film presses that the driver is responsible to be aware as to what might be considered a bad road. It is on the driver to navigate a bad road safely (11:09). A frequently dangerous setting is when vehicles must cross rail road tracks (11:39). Solutions to this is the installation of the narrow underpass (11:46). One road that is considered to be a normally a safe travel road, is made much more dangerous during rush hour traffic (13:29). Super highways must be supported by a network of good roads, underpasses and bridges (13:55). Although maintenance of roadways can be costly, bad roads lead to wasted gas (15:30) and popped tires as well as other issues (15:37). The film then turns to encourage viewers to write letters to their senators and representatives over the issue of maintaining good roads (16:34). Citizens can also write to newspapers and vote (17:23). The film begins to wrap up as the narrator turns to the opening scene again (19:28) as the driver climbs from the front seat. This man is revealed to be the narrator himself as his wife and kid were killed due to his ignorance over bad roads (20:06). This film was a part of the Caterpillar Safety Program (20:29).

This film is part of the Periscope Film LLC archive, one of the largest historic military, transportation, and aviation stock footage collections in the USA. Entirely film backed, this material is available for licensing in 24p HD, 2k and 4k. For more information visit