Sunday, January 3, 2010

Wild in the Streets

(Barry Shear, 1968)
This is a cynical film whose attitude toward the alienated youth it lampoons suggests that it was really aimed at the kind of stodgy geezers they send to the concentration camp (like AIP's Jim Nicholson for instance). The generation gap and a bit of alienated Vietnam commentary for the kids are the only real issues of substance that come up, and if you want evidence that the comedy is not fully developed just look at how they waste Richard Pryor. But watch it with an audience and its camp value comes front and center: the burlesque is so single-minded that it takes on some real momentum as it goes on. Christopher Jones, with his talk show hair, is nothing special as the rock star, although the Mann-Weil songs he gets to sing are surprisingly good. The biggest laughs were for Diane Varsi's acid casualty, although Shelley Winters also hits the right notes as Jones' hyperactive mother, and Hal Holbrook does a great Martin Sheen as the governor.

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