On the surface, Lucas has made a film that seems almost artless; his teenagers cruise Main Street and stop at Mel's Drive-In and listen to Wolfman Jack on the radio and neck and lay rubber and almost convince themselves their moment will last forever. But the film's buried structure shows an innocence in the process of being lost, and as its symbol Lucas provides the elusive blonde in the white Thunderbird -- the vision of beauty always glimpsed at the next intersection, the end of the next street.
Who is she? And did she really whisper "I love you" at the last traffic signal? In "8 1/2," Fellini used Claudia Cardinale as his mysterious angel in white, and the image remains one of his best; but George Lucas knows that for one brief afternoon of American history angels drove Thunderbirds and could possibly be found at Mel's Drive-In tonight... or maybe tomorrow night, or the night after.