I stumbled over the RightWingTrash website (“Celebrating conservative thought in film, music, literature, and other lowlife pursuits”) where there was a review of Wild In The Streets titled “The Fifty-Two Percent Solution.” I was overjoyed: who but a died-in-the-wool conservative could give us a more entertaining perspective on this film?
What a bummer it turned out to be: instead of condescending-bordering-on-sheer-nastiness, the review was tame, devoid of anything of real interest.
And in “real interest” I mean a take on the film the opposite of mine, from which I might learn something. Here are a few quotes from the review (RWT) followed by my italicized responses (NU). (Oh, and I let them have the last word . . .) (And I did not want to be accused of NOT paying attention to conservative thought in film, etc.)
RWT: “All the politicians in Wild In The Streets are craven and petty. They want to play to the media and win over whatever vital demographic includes a bunch of morons. Every one of them gets what they deserve.”
NU: Too true. Most of those portrayed are Democrats, and they are not portrayed in a positive light. But the very ignoring of the Republicans is equally brutal, and that they would nominate anyone so opposed to their perspectives as Max Frost just to win, well, as the man says, “Every one of them gets what they deserve.”
RWT: “Fergus is a Democrat, and his own teenage son is lecturing him about how his party has helped to create wars. ‘There aren’t even any Negroes anymore,’ his kid says, ‘the way you Democrats see them.’ ”
NU: This could have been an interesting point on which to expound. Alas, RightWingTrash chose not to . . .
RWT: “In a sci-fi twist, the youth actually start voting.”
NU: This sounds like something that I might say. In fact, it can be read as a nutshell take on what I wrote about youth voting in the post “ ‘wild in the streets’ as political satire, prescient black comedy, and good old b-movie hokum” above.
RWT: “Max Frost is played by Christopher Jones, who’s one of Hollywood’s great dropouts. “
NU: Also true: after a couple of films and a promising beginning, Jones just split the whole Hollywood scene.
RWT: “Don’t be too sure about those rumors of Phil Ochs turning down the role, though. Legendary songwriters Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil composed the tunes for Frost’s band, and were good friends with Ochs. They never heard Ochs say anything about the film . . .”
NU: If so, then that should put an end to the Ochs rumors.
RWT: “Like we said, Wild In The Streets isn’t a classic anymore. It ended up dumped as part of the MGM Midnite Movies series, paired on DVD with the equally bizarre Gas-s-s-s. Neither is a comedy, but Wild In The Streets should be taken more seriously. The soundtrack’s never been reissued on CD—although Mann and Weil have lived to hear Shape of Things To Come being used in a Target commercial.”
That’s it! No sarcasm, no gross misunderstandings of the film’s intentions, no rightwing talking-points as we would expect from almost any well-known conservative journalist in the mainstream media, no Medvedisms. I didn’t take the time to check out any of the site’s other reviews or articles, so it could be better (more antagonistic and interesting) elsewhere .
It’s a gas, gas, gas-s-s-s
To watch Wild In The Streets, the DVD that I pulled from the library is a part of the Midnite Movies that RWT mentions above. The second film is Gas-s-s-s and it bears a striking resemblance—entirely coincidental, I am sure—to Wild In The Streets: a deadly experimental gas is accidentally released from an American military base and permeates the atmosphere of the planet. Everyone over the age of 25 dies, leaving the world in the hands of the youth.
The stars are a likable and attractive couple played by unknowns Robert Corff and Elaine Giftos. The movie also features Bud Cort, Tally Copolla (later known as Talia Shire), Ben Vereen, and Cindy Williams. Supposed screenwriter George Armitage has a funny role as Billy the Kid (Armitage would go on to make one of my faverave films of recent vintage, Grosse Pointe Blank, with John Cusack and Minnie Driver). Country Joe & The Fish do a couple of live numbers at a concert that features some nifty psychedelic effects that almost justify seeing the whole movie!
The script is looser than any script should ever be, the direction by Roger Corman almost non-existent, the lead actors can’t act and the real actors don’t act. The humor is very dated and can be very funny if you get all of the references (and is you’re high). It shares a similar attitude (and similar fate) as Zachariah, “the first electric western,” also from 1970. Coincidentally, Country Joe & The Fish also appear in that movie.