Share This Article

LACar film review

This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Fri, Oct 13, 2017

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

LACar Film Review: "ROCKET" Directed and Co-Written by Brenna Malloy Review by Dave Wolin Photos and illustrations courtesy of the production company

HOLLYWOOD 10.07.17: The Television Motion Picture Car Club's annual movie night recently featured young filmmaker Brenna Malloy's short film (in fact, her master's thesis from the Dodge College of Film at Chapman University) called: "ROCKET". An enthusiastic crowd of television and film industry motor enthusiasts filled the screening room at CBS in Studio City to hear a description of the how the film came to be from Director Malloy, her stunt coordinator, and others in the crew, followed by the screening and lively (cocktail-fueled) Q&A session for Malloy and company.

"ROCKET" is the winner of a 2016 Student Academy Award along with multiple other awards at a number of film festivals across the county. It’s the story of 1950's dirt track racing ... and a young girl's legacy passed down from father to daughter. Filmed on location at a ranch in Lompoc, California and featuring driving by the likes of racing legend Wally Pankratz and his daughter, TQ champ Randi; "ROCKET" is a study in relationships and racing to life and portrays the subject in a cinematic style reminiscent of Bruce Kessler and John Frankenheimer.


Incidentally, the protagonist here is named “Annie Pankratz”, and played by British actress Lizzie Clarke. The cars used in the film: a 50's track roadster, an Eddie Sachs-driven champ car and the Offenhauser-powered


Chapman Special, built by Bob Pankratz (Wally's father) which ran at the storied Indy 500 3 times in the 50's, are stars in their own right. Just hearing and watching these authentic (not movie replicas) machines run brings back the guts and glory days of 50's racing ... A time that was sometimes not always so great considering the state of driver safety equipment back then.


Malloy came to this project with a set of superb credentials in the racing world. Her great grandfather, Emmett J. Malloy, built and operated Carrell Speedway in Los Angeles (long gone from the intersection of 174th and Vermont) and fielded numerous Indy 500 entries in the 50's. Her grandfather Tom Malloy is a well known vintage racer and his extensive car collection provided the actual competition vehicles that were used in the film.

The closing credits are a true highlight of this short film. In fact, they were some of the best and most evocative film credits I've seen in many years. Using authentic items from her grandfather’s extensive collection including helmets, driving suits, trophies, and assorted race car parts, they were the perfect ending for this film. The lovingly-rendered reminders of the era left many of us in the all-industry audience at CBS wanting more, and wondering (aloud) what Ms. Malloy’s next film project might be, perhaps a feature-length “Rocket” ? (and ... when we can expect to see it!). - DW


For more information and details on upcoming screenings, visit And for information about the Television Motion Picture Car Club, visit

You Might Also Like These Articles:

hand filling a car with gas

Urban Fuel Hacks

a blue Genesis G70

2024 Genesis G70 AWD 2.5T Sport Prestige

image of man working in car engine

What to Do If You Bought a Defective Vehicle

a packed suitcase

48 Road Trip Essentials

White Vehicle Parked on Road Between Trees in Beverly Hills

Academized Tutor Mary Watson on Driving Tips for Students New to Los Angeles