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A short Arizona motorcycle cop gets his wish and is promoted to Homicide following the mysterious murder of a hermit. He is forced to confront his illusions about himself and those around him in order to solve the case, eventually returning to solitude in the desert.
You don't get many films like Electra Glide In Blue any more.
I know that's such an easy thing to say about an old(er) film in a sub-genre that generally doesn't get much coverage these days because the natural progression of the medium of filmmaking and society as a whole has shifted the cop crime drama in a different direction. But it's true!
What is that sub-genre? I'm not really sure it has a name so I'm going to call it 'Dusty Desert Crime And Road Movies'. There were loads of them in the 1970s, where the dust and the ever-beating sun and the endless straight roads played every bit as much a part in certain films as the plot…
Electra Glide in Blue is strangle little movie that seems to exist in some kind of odd hazy dream world where John Ford and Dirty Harry live together in not so perfect harmony. The film can't decide if it wants to be the anti Easy Rider or a straight out action/mystery film and the two personalities seem constantly at clash. Robert Blake makes for an interesting action star/leading man in this and it is a very well shot film and while it never stopped being interesting, it just never clicked for me the way i wanted it to.
I have always thought that your enjoyment of Electra Glide in Blue could be summed up with whether you find jokes about Robert Blake being short funny. Personally, I think all of the height jokes are amusing, which gives the first hour of the film are really cool sense of humour. However, as the film gets more serious, more out-there and becomes the one-of-a-kind cult it is known to be, it really steps up a level, from the darkly amusing the evidently brilliant.
Electra Glide in Blue plays with the John Ford iconography, stunningly shot by Conrad Hall, with a real sense of foreboding. It is an inverse of Easy Rider, but equally about the American dream, the film is…
Apparently, this is one of those one-and-done directorial efforts that leaves audiences wanting more and wondering what other gems we've missed out on. But this certainly feels like a film where a lot of really different elements came together, so Guercio doesn't deserve all the credit. That would be a disservice to legendary cinematographer Conrad Hall and some of the cast.
As a story, it's actually far more interesting and nuanced than Easy Rider, to which it will always unavoidably be compared. I also really liked Blake's character. We first see him as a flashy meat-head with a floozie girlfriend but, as the film goes on, we find that he's actually very independent-minded and kind. The rest of the characters…
The only film ever directed by James William Guerico ELECTRA GLIDE IN BLUE has naturally become something of a cult movie. It's a rambling, virtually plotless picture about a motorcycle cop, Robert Blake, roaming the vast expanses of Arizona imagining himself as some kind of white knight on a motorized steed. As we say back here in Ireland, he doesn't always come over as the full shilling. He's permanently spaced out on nothing but the vibes he radiates from himself, continually self-conscious about his height, (he claims he is exactly the same height as Alan Ladd was down to the nearest quarter inch).
Guerico, who also produced the film, was something of a jack-of-all-trades and his film alludes to the…
"I'm moved to work you over. I'm moved to bust your kidneys. And I won't leave a trace, not a mark on you. You hear what I'm saying to you. I'll work you over till you wish you died last week."
A somewhat opposing thesis to 1969's Easy Rider, Electra Glide in Blue suggests that we are all on our own, with both main culture and counter culture not providing a proper home for the individual trying to play the game by following the rules. Easy Rider is already a pretty cynical film, but I think that Electra Glide in Blue out cynicals it, and I love it for that.
Oh, if I could only get my arms around that great metaphysical desert threatening to consume those lonely souls locked in their silly existential quandaries, then, maybe, I would have this story all figured out.
Putting this on my re-watch list. I remember really liking it up to a certain point (how many cop movies visually reference Kenneth Anger?), then being bored by it and having to force myself to finish. The last scene didn't change my mind, either — it struck me as some kind of high watermark of late-'60s/early '70s cinematic self-indulgence. But I'll try again, maybe I missed something.
This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
A motorcycle cop named John Wintergreen hates his job and aspires for eventual promotion to detective. He stumbles upon an apparent suicide, which turns out to be a murder, and the case becomes an opportunity for Wintergreen to pursue his dream.
The highlights of this film are Robert Blake's performance as Wintergreen, the soundtrack, and Conrad Hall's amazing cinematography. Hall manages to make the most of the incredible Arizona vista. The final scene of the camera moving away from Wintergreen's slumped, dead body in the middle of the lonely highway is absolutely haunting. It's flourishes like this that make this movie special.
Wintergreen is also an interesting character. He's very short in stature, which he is very aware of and…
My Dad's favourite film! And since this was the only context in which I'd ever heard it spoken of, I was not expecting much to be honest (he is not the most solid source of cinematic recommendations…). But it's actually pretty good! I found it to have a very distinctive flavour. I especially enjoyed the opening act. The introduction of our hero, a diminutive Arizonan motorcycle cop named Wintergreen with dreams of the big leagues, is a lot of fun - various pans around his apartment as he lifts dumbbells while doing absolutely everything, including drinking raw eggs! - and gives us some quick insight into his psychological makeup. Watching this driven character bomb around the desert roads, trading jibes…
"Incompetence is the worst form of corruption."
Perhaps not as thrilling as 'Vanishing Point' but just as thematic and lush, 'Electra Glide in Blue' features Robert Forster as a relentlessly idealistic cop fighting against the forces that pervade the early 1970's American Southwest: renegade cops, dirty hippies, bikers, hermits, cults, and drug dealers. I nearly lost by shit Mitchell Ryan stepped into frame in a slick cowboy suit, and this clearly had a lot to do with future cop films like the Coen's 'Blood Simple'. Beautifully taking advantage of the desert landscape, this films is easily among by favorite 1970's road films.
Outro filme idiossincrático de um diretor de um filme só. Uma belíssima abertura e um diálogo interessante com o que se fazia à época, em especial os filmes de Monte Hellman.
Hate the ending. Absolutely hate it. That last shot is excellent regardless. Hell - Conrad Hall's work on this is some of the best cinematography I've ever seen captured. Great and absorbing script with solid performances all around. Definitely needed more Jeannine Riley, and right about the time the movie sags, she jolts it back to life. Great stuff, tho.
Electra Glide in Blue is very much of its time - unwashed hippies, drugs, motorcycles, fascist cops, a psychedelic rock concert and a murder all out in the desert somewhere.
I couldn't really find a way in, or back or whatever - just ... nothing really.
"Isn't it funny how people do all kinda things and most of it's just a lotta bullshit."
Downbeat 70s cops vs. hippies movie, at least, that's how it's usually sold. It's downbeat, but it's politically fairly evenhanded. Robert Blake is very good. I wish the murder mystery angle had been handled better.
Movies that are slightly off.