July 1st, 2012: Wild in the Streets (1968)

Cast and Crew:   Barry Shear (Director); Robert Thom (Story and Screenplay); Les Baxter (Original Music); Shelley Winters, Richard Pryor, Millie Perkins, Larry Bishop, Ed Begley, Dick Clark, Paul Frees, Bill Mumy, Bobby Sherman, Peter Tork, Barry Williams, Walter Winchell

What It’s About: Max Flatow (Christopher Jones) runs away from home and emerges seven years later as Max Frost, the biggest rock musician of all time.  Kennedy-esque Senator John Fergus (Hal Holbrook) needs the youth vote-so he recruits Frost in a drive to lower the voting age-to 14; but what is Frost’s real aim, and can Fergus control him?

Why Watch it Today?: Wild in the Streets plays off current concerns-namely the campaign to lower the voting age from 21 to the age that Americans were subject to the draft:  18.  The result of this campaign, the 21st Amendment, was ratified on this date in 1971. Not unlike Senator Fergus, American International Pictures heads Samuel Z. Arkoff and James H. Nicholson always had an uncomfortable relationship with the young.  While they desperately wanted their support, they always feared them, generally finding themselves at odds with the more liberal filmmakers they employed, such as Roger Corman and Peter Fonda.  It’s not surprising, then, that they produced Wild in the Streets, which alternates between being a cautionary tale of youth gone wild instituting a fascist state, a black comedy satirizing the old and the young alike, and a youth fantasy of seizing power and eliminating the squares.  Despite the music being, predictably, a bit behind the times and a bit “movie” rock, there are a few songs that are quite catchy, chiefly “Shape of Things to Come.”

Where to Get It: Netflix  

2 comments on “July 1st, 2012: Wild in the Streets (1968)

  1. Kimmy T says:

    I have this poster in my bedroom. Found it in a record store for twenty bucks and just couldn’t resist. I love this movie.

    • professormortis says:

      I once had the pleasure, in the course of a week, of not only finding a roughed up but playable LP of the soundtrack AND hearing someone cover “Shape of Things to Come” at a dive bar. What a great show that was-pretty good for just randomly checking out a place in my neighborhood.

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