paying attention to conservative thought in film, music, and literature

RIGHTWINGTRASH is a real web­site where the editor(s) are con­stantly “cel­e­brating con­ser­v­a­tive thought in film, music, lit­er­a­ture, and other lowlife pur­suits.” There I found a re­view of the 1968 AIP  movie Wild In The Streets ti­tled “The Fifty-Two Per­cent So­lu­tion.” I was overjoyed!

I mean, like who could give us a more en­ter­taining per­spec­tive on this ex­ploita­tion movie that re­lied so heavily on irony and satire but a died-in-the-wool conservative? 

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. Below are a few quotes from the re­view (RWT) fol­lowed by my ital­i­cized re­sponses (NU).

 

And I let them have the last word—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.

 

FEATURED IMAGE: The photo at the top of this page is the pa­rade of dune bug­gies. I dunno, but it looks like the baby-buggy ver­sion of a scene from a Mad Max movie. For more on Gas-s-s-s, see the re­view on the Mondo Video website.

 

 

 

 

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