We've been hearing a lot about how Katherine Bigelow's movie, Zero Dark Thirty, is being seen by some as an endorsement of torture. Which is, you know, generally frowned upon. What most people don't realize is that the late Plymouth Motor Company, part of Chrysler, once openly endorsed torture in their mid-1930s era film, "Trial By Torture."
I guess I don't really think Plymouth was actually endorsing torture, but in the hilariously campy opening scenes of brutal torture, they do state it was "un-approached as a method of bringing out the truth."
The rest of this film is pretty amazing to watch, as it's essentially a snuff film that gleefully attempts to destroy what looks like a 1935 or 1936 flathead-6 Plymouth sedan. Cars of this era deal with being mercilessly hooned, drifted, rolled, bounced, crashed, and vigorously molested in ways very different than today. While this video's goal was to impress people with how robust (or "stauncher", as they weirdly say) the Plymouth is, to modern eyes it's alarming to see.
Even more insane is seeing the stuntmen drive these cars. If you ever, for a moment, considered yourself a badass, you may want to prepare yourself emotionally before watching test/stundrivers Jimmy Lynch and "Lucky" Teter brutally fling and throw these top-heavy sedans all over the place. The safety equipment used is impressive as well: one oddly wide lap belt and a necktie. The necktie may be reinforced with whalebone or something for added protection. Maybe.
The idea of doing this stuff in these cars with no helmet is pretty incredible, and so is watching them beat the crap out of these cars. If this is how car testing still looked, car companies could defray costs by selling tickets.
Actually, that's not a bad idea: a car safety testing rodeo! This could be BIG.