Friday, November 13, 2009

#431: Electra Glide in Blue (1973)

Director: James William Guercio
Cast: Robert Blake, Billy Green Bush, Mitch Ryan, Jeannine Riley & Elisha Cook Jr.

John Wintergreen, a cop with an altitude deficiency, has been on his bike in the desert pulling over speedsters for a good long while. John's got a good heart, which is a commodity in this area where most cops have a superiority complex. John's desperate to move on in his career and become a homicide detective, but never gets the opportunity, until he finds a body in a hut one day. A reclusive man had been shot in the chest, and the detective waves it off as suicide. John uses this event as a way to boost his career, all while hiding the fact that he had slept with his partner's girlfriend.

Ugh. UGH. This film was pretty terrible. The script was one of the worst things I have ever heard. Each character just talks for hours on end without much dialogue at all. The acting is overdone by everyone except Robert Blake (as John Wintergreen). All this could probably be blamed on director J.W. Guercio. This was Guercio's directorial debut... and finale. Considering he'd won 36 Grammys with bands Chicago and Blood, Sweat & Tears, he probably should've stuck to his guns and stayed in the music business.

The story had some promise. The question of whether the case was a suicide or homicide is never really answered, leaving us to speculate that John had taken advantage of the unknown circumstances and unfairly pinned somebody as the murderer. We can also speculate whether this action was conscious or unconscious. The problem with the story? I don't think many people really care. And with no conclusion at the end, it doesn't really matter.

There are some huge fans of this film, saying it's one of the best motorcycle films in history. Considering how during the chase scenes I felt like I was watching a bad drivers ed movie, I'm going to have to disagree.

If you like film... you probably shouldn't see this movie.

Fun Trivia (Stolen from IMDB):
  • First time director James William Guercio wanted the great Conrad L. Hall to photograph this film, but it was not in the budget. Guercio reduced his own salary to one dollar so he could secure Hall as the cinematographer.
  • The cover for the LP-soundtrack of this movie consists of one large picture, showing 7 tall Motor Officers and 1 short one (Robert Blake). Exactly the same picture is hanging on the wall of the office of captain Frank Furillo (Daniel Travanti) in the TV-series "Hill Street Blues".
  • Bassist and lead vocalist for the group "Chicago", Peter Cetera, plays a character named "Bob Zemko". A real actor who plays a bit part is also in the cast. His actual name was Bob Zemko. He died a year after making this, his only film.

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