Movies that are slightly off.
Electra Glide in Blue
He's A Good Cop. On A Big Bike. On A Bad Road.
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.
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…
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…
John (Robert Blake) is a motorcycle cop who is desperate to move to homicide. He is the first police officer at the scene of an apparent shotgun suicide and this leads to him being transferred as he had wanted. He finds that we should all be careful about what we wish for.
I suspect that this film could withstand repeat viewings as we see how the various characters interact, and learn more about John's personality and how it affects the course of events in the film.
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…
It's a tale of what is ultimately the death of dreams for a short but ambitious Arizona motorcycle cop, who must face the illusions about himself and those around him following a sudden promotion to homicide. Robert Blake excels are the lead protagonist, embodying a sense honestly and decency which sets him apart from an aura of cynicism which plagued much of American society during the mid 70s. Exciting and at times insightful, this is one film not to be underestimated.
Some really excellent parts, a superb central performance and lots of leather and motorcycle fetishizing
What a strange and unique movie.
Electra Glide in Blue is story of a little man with big dreams.
Highway patrol cop, John Wintergreen (A never better Robert Blake) is a man who tries his best. He's great at his job and has incredible sexual stamina but in spite of this he's still disrespected by just about everybody. Why? Because he's two feet shorter than everyone else.
He has dreams of becoming a detective and busting real cases; to make the world a genuinely safer place and doesn't mind ruffling feathers to prove it. When he stumbles across a suspicious suicide, he gets his chance to play with the big boys.
However, the dream quickly turns into a depressing lesson…
A routine, but competent, road thriller that overtly indicts corruption in authority (like most films at the time were rightly doing) and features a great performance from Robert Blake as a diminutive patrolman being pushed towards dishonesty. The final shot remains one of cinema's most powerful images.
Wow, what a film to start my 1970s adventure on. Electra Glide in Blue is a messy, energetic and easily excitable cop procedural, built within the template laid down by the almost undefinable 70s greats made before it. Through its sun-drenched daytime and pitch-black nighttime, Electra Glide takes our height challenged incorruptible detective deep down into a world that will challenge everything he wants in life and believes about the world. What I loved about this is that it is a lot more traditional than others from the period, whilst still distinctly being a 70s film - it essentially uses the essence of the likes of Easy Rider and Two-Lane Blacktop and transplants it…
Terrific locale. Robert Blake probably in his best role but there are some good performances from those in support. All the characters are interesting and the plot is simple but effectively told.
This is an interesting little film. It had a lot I liked and a lot I didn't. I feel very 50/50 about it at this point, and it's interesting – I can't tell if this will be one of those films that sticks with me years down the road or if it'll be one that's forgotten by then.
Things I loved:
- It's a really interesting character piece about a cop trying to figure out what he wants and struggling with how that fits in a world of corruption. The police for he works for is corrupt. The woman he's screwing around with is corrupt. Many of the people he stops are corrupt. Even the old crazy man ends up…
Ironically pitched character study that leavens its skewed viewpoint with weird humor (love the matching outfits) and a growing understanding of its seemingly fascistic hero. Monument Valley as the ultimate American performative space, performing the same general function as in Ford but in drastically different circumstances, with an ending that mirrors both Easy Rider and the bold flameout conclusion to Two-Lane Blacktop. That last big twist mostly plays as a cute ironic fillip (or, more generously, the last beat in the film’s “appearances can be deceiving” rap), but its effect is anything but cute, prolonging the final moment of comprehension while gradually transforming and diminishing its meaning.
Turns out the police state WAS right: fucking hippies. And when you do it, make sure you get Conrad Hall to shoot that shit.
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Originally a list made prior to Cannes 2014, now updated every mid-April.
This is every Palme d'Or nominee since the…