my Movie

Movie Details

Title:   Hells Angels on Wheels
Director:   Richard Rush
Year:   1967
Genre:   Biker
Times Seen:   1
Last Seen:   05.17.06

Other Movies Seen By This Director (6)
- Color of Night
- Freebie and the Bean
- Psych-Out
- The Savage Seven
- The Sinister Saga of Making 'The Stunt Man'
- The Stunt Man

Notes History
Date Viewed Venue Note
05.17.06Weird Wednesday Fast and loose. I think that's how I'd put biker films now... not so much that the stuntpeople always take over but the whole vibe of a good biker film is just fast and loose. Of course I haven't seen all of the good biker films out there yet so I'm sure my personal definition will keep changing but it seems like most of them aren't particularly worried about following a specific story or plot. A sequence that could (and sometimes should) only take a few minutes in any other kind of movie has no problem stretching out and taking its time for 10 or 15 minutes in a biker film. It almost seems like the gang just rides around, sees something mildly interesting, and decides to shoot it and incorporate it into the film on a whim. It's not a bad thing though... along with the colorful supporting gang characters and free-wheeling rebellious worldview these random sequences are part of the charm of these movies, for me anyway. I still don't get the nazi thing, which exposes me as a severe non-biker, but oh well.

As far as biker movies go this was pretty damn good. The team-up of Adam Roarke and Jack Nicholson really drives the movie for me... both of them are so good in this that seeing them face off on each other is really electric. Lots of good photography in here too by Laszlo Kovacs and a really great, albeit completely rushed ending. Really quick, the love triangle is between Roarke and Nicholson with a girl that's very free-loving and slightly nihilist. Roarke gives her to nicholson who starts loving her even though she's glad to lick Roarke's boots if he so wills it, but Roarke treats her like a moped. In the final scene, Nicholson proclaims that he'd marry her even with someone else's bun in her oven but when he starts a fight with Roarke over her honor, the girl throws Roarke a pipe! There's a great beat where Nicholson, who's arguably been winning the fight up to this point, looks at her, then Roarke, then the piece of wood he's holding, then her again, then Roarke again, then the wood again, then her again... then drops the wood and walks away. Nicholson really plays the hell out of that beat and makes it a highlight of the movie (character-wise at least, I'd say a few random bike stunts and fights are the actual highlights of the film).

So stunt guy Gary Kent was in the house for the show and Lars brought him down and interviewed him a bit for us before the movie started. It was really interesting to hear what he had to say but also equally interesting to hear Lars' questions. It was exactly like Inside the Actor's Studio except instead of asking Julia Roberts about her work on Pretty Woman or whatever mainstream Hollywood version of movies that show covers, it was this completely different world of film populated with biker movies, obscure buddie comedies, and exploitation B-pictures. Just as much adoration going on, just as interesting stories, just as much connective tissue to other films that I now have to check out... except here we're talking about something that Actor's Studio fans have no clue about. I think so far the one big thing that the Alamo has done for me is open my eyes to this other world of film that exists on completely separate planes from the film school/TCM/AFI hierarchy of classics. I must say it's very exciting... I feel like I did the first time I saw movies like Sunset Boulevard or The Third Man all over again except this time I have a little context and maturity to put these experiences on.
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