WILD IN THE STREETS hit cinemas back in 1968, no less a critic than the fine Renata Adler in The New York Times deemed the film a "kind of instant classic" -- you can read her entire review here -- and went on to praise it in terms that very few (if any) movies distributed by American International Pictures had ever earned. TrustMovies saw the film back in '68 and loved it, but when he viewed it again, maybe twenty years later, he felt that it didn't hold up so sturdily, after all. Well, here we are in 2016, with a certain con-man/liar with a very "loose" hold on reality running for President, and damned if the film doesn't resonate presciently -- and so entertainingly -- all over again.
Olive Films' new Blu-ray and DVD release, those long-ago fans, as well as newcomers, can recall or find out what all the fuss was about. Some of that fuss centered on a hot new actor named Christopher Jones, above and below, who starred in the film as the pop singer-turned-business-magnate-turned-you'll-find-out who sets young America ablaze, as he sings to, then rounds up, his "troops" for a frontal and all-out assault on "aged" Americans (that would be anyone over, say, 30 or 35). Mr. Jones looked to be a sure-thing "star" and worthy successor to James Dean, but that star failed to rise. The actor was never again as well-cast and resonant as he was here, and after a few more films, for whatever reason(s), he fell off the grid.
Brady Corbett's recent Childhood of a Leader might have learned from -- adds up to a remarkably entertaining and juicy look at how the USA can be manipulated for fun, profit and finally horror. And the filmmaker's clever use of documentary footage (as above) within their thrusting narrative works nicely, too.
Ed Begley -- chants toward movie's end.)
Shelley Winters (in foreground, two photos up), going all out to become one of the more memorable of movie "mothers"; Hal Holbrook (above), as the politician who thinks he is using Mr. Jones and his troops; Diane Varsi as a drug-addled hanger-on; and especially Richard Pryor (below and before we even knew who this guy was!) as a smart member of Jones' band.
Olive Films, on both Blu-ray and DVD, for purchase and, I would hope, rental. (Netflix really ought to order this one -- now!)