“Wild in the Streets”
A fascinating rock n roll politico film from 1968. I’ve been intrigued by “Wild in the Streets” since I was a 9 year-old kid, I totally related to the concept of the film that the “younger generation” should be 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 sisters always say:)
What resonated with me then and now are the political implications of organizing and using that voice and numbers to effect change. But also the nightmare when ideologies take a turn for the extreme.
Wild in the Streets was first released to theaters in 1968. Its storyline was a “reduction to absurdity” projection of contemporary issues of the time, taken to extremes, and played poignantly during 1968 —an election year with many controversies (the Vietnam War, the draft, civil rights, the population explosion, rioting and assassinations, and the baby boomer generation coming of age). (Wikipedia)
“Fourteen or Fight” is a perfect example of the youth movement of the sixties. This was the first time teens were a bigger block than their parents. Baby Boomers exerting power in numbers.
Richard Pryor’s appearance in this film is amazing! One of the most controversial comedians of our time, it was hilarious watching him fake playing the drums as a member of Max Frost’s “Troopers”.
Christopher Jones had the perfect swag for his character. He had that whole brooding, tortured vibe like Marlon Brando in “The Wild One”and James Dean in “Rebel Without a Cause”. 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 in the U.S., women’ rights and ultimately runs for President of the United States. Let the absurdities begin!
The soundtrack is the backdrop for the politics in the film as well as real life. 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”.
Max Frost – Christopher Jones
Sally LeRoy – Diane Varsi
Stanley X – Richard Pryor
Max Frost’s Mother – Shelley Winters
Senator Fergus – Hal Holbrook
In 1968, “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)
Nominated for Oscars:
Best Film Editing
Fred R. Feitshans Jr.
This flick was over the top but had its pulse on the fears of the 60’s and a possible dysfunctional future. Growing up in the sixties I see a lot of similarities to today. “The Shape of Things to Come” was very prophetic.
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.
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.