Guilty Pleasures – “Wild in the Streets” 1968

Wild_in_the_streets_dvd_cover

“Wild in the Streets”

Open up the confessional of guilty pleasures cause this film is mine. Obsessed since I was a kid, I totally related to the “younger generation” running things and not the “old cats” who always mess things up in this country. “Thirty and out” was my mantra. “Old fat cats” only in the game for their own personal gain. Yeah, I was a bit of a rebel. (or so my sister’s always say:)

Directed by Barry Shear
Produced by Samuel Z. Arkoff
James H. Nicholson
Written by Robert Thom
Based on novella The Day It All Happened, Baby by Robert Thom
Starring Christopher Jones
Shelley Winters
Richard Pryor
Diane Varsi
Hal Holbrook
Music by Les Baxter
Distributed by American International Pictures
Release dates
  • May 29, 1968
Running time 94 min.

 

 

And don’t get me started on Christopher Jones. Love him, and his hair?  It was awesome!  Jones had that whole brooding, tortured vibe like Marlon Brando and James Dean.  The Christopher Jones character Max Frost was a pop star millionaire who gets “turned on” to the 60’s political scene and decides to exercise his views on free love, youth is the majority, women have rights and ultimately runs for President of the United States.  And it only gets better from there!

 

Max Frost sayings: “Troops”, “Babies”, “14 or Fight.”

 The Music

The soundtrack is the backdrop for the politics. Max and The Troopers deal with current issues of the time (’67).  Voting age: “14 or Fight”.”If I can fight I can vote”.   Ageism: If you’re 50 does that make you more competent?  The 25 and under age group is the majority.  “We have the power”.  Women’s rights: “Chicks would have killed for the vote”.

The Troopers:

Sally LeRoyDiane Varsi

Stanley XRichard Pryor

Billy CageKevin Coughlin

The Hook, AbrahamLarry Bishop

Trivia

“The Shape of Things to Come”, written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, was a #22 chart hit for Max Frost and the Troopers (a “studio group”, made up of session musicians) in 1968.

Nominated for Oscar:

Best Film Editing
Fred R. Feitshans Jr.
Eve Newman

Best Film
Barry Shear

 

 

What resonated with me then and now? The political implications of organizing and using that voice and numbers for change. But also the nightmare when ideas become an extreme.

 

 

This flick was over the top but had it’s pulse on the fears of the 60’s and a possible dysfunctional future. American International  founders Samuel Z. Arkoff and James H. Nicholson were genius! They were one of the first production companies to recognize and capitalize on the growing teen market. Think beach, biker, monster, drive-in movies. Think American International.

 

American International Pictures
Industry Filmed entertainment
Fate Acquired by Filmways
Successor(s) Filmways
Founded April, 1954
Defunct 1980
Headquarters Los Angeles, California
Key people James H. NicholsonSamuel Z. Arkoff

 

C Jones

 Christopher Jones

After “Wild in the Streets” Christopher Jones only made a couple more films, “Three in the Attic” 1968. Classic 60’s love in fest. The big studios took notice and David Lean offered him the romantic lead in the big budget drama “Ryan’s Daughter” 1970. Reportedly it was on the set of the film he had a nervous breakdown after hearing of Sharon Tate’s murder and shortly after left the Hollywood scene.

His last appearance was in the 1996 crime comedy “Mad Dog Time” opposite Richard Dreyfuss.  In his later years he had a career as an artist and sculptor. He died from cancer on January 31, 2014 at the age of 72.

 

 

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