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The Wild Ride is the original (B&W) non-modified version. I have watched it several times and believe it is one of the best cult classics available. "Velocity" however, is a butchered color version that splices in new scenes lacking in any sort of continuity and ultimately destroying the mystique and integrity of the original film. Whoever had the idea for Velocity needs to be shot in the head because they turned a truly beautiful virgin classic film into a cheap prostitute with too much makeup. This is a true testament to the "less is more" adage. If you get to view both films you will see the ultimate travesty of how a great film was destroyed by a greed driven marketing attempt to update a true cult classic. In summary.... "The Wild Ride" GOOD............."Velocity" BAAADDDD!
This may be my favorite "JD" flick. Nicholson is great as Johnny, the kid
who constantly gets into trouble, and who is the "big man" of his gang of
troublemakers. Of course there's one guy in the group who is getting a bit
tired of Johnny being the leader (especially since his girl seems to be
falling for Johnny) but he is still too scared of Johnny to do anything
Johnny does have a friend he is a little soft with, Dave, who is getting on Johnny's nerves still because he is dating a "lame chick." But Johnny always defends Dave to the other gang members, even when Dave loses a game of "chicken" with an oncoming truck.
Johnny definitely has attitude, like with a cop: Cop (getting a folder on Johnny): Here's your record. Johnny: Did I make a record?
Or when Johnny is buying booze... Clerk: Do you have ID? Johnny: Yeah. Clerk: May I see it? Johnny: No.
Virtually every single line in this film has some kind of "hip slang" of the times in it, which makes it non-stop fun and absolutely hilarious. You have to pay attention all the way through as not to miss another classic line.
Nicholson is a complete blast to watch. These are the kind of JD films that are worth viewing, not overrated stuff like "Rebel Without A Cause."
Sure, the first reason to see The Wild Ride (or, unfortunately as it
sounds, the 're-cut' Velocity which for some insane reasons extends the
story) is for Jack Nicholson. It's arguably his very first 'bad-boy'
role in a career with more than enough to go around. He's still got a
long way to go from here, but it's fun seeing him go practically method
about his character Johnny (apparently Nicholson just started with
Martin Landau at the time as his teacher), as he tries to sway Robert
Bean's Dave from going the not-hip route with a girl who isn't part of
'their scene' as it were. There's tension, there's some fall-out, and
in the end there's some overly high pitched melodrama following a chase
down a road. Nearly embarrassing to admit it, but for those who will
seek out the movie for that reason, as I did, it's not that bad (as in
*as bad* as some of his other B-movie work like The Terror and Rebel
Hell, I'll even give one-time-only director Harvey Berman some credit: for a picture that's main dramatic thrust is dictated mostly by the same beef between Biff and the McFly's in the Back to the Future movies ("What's wrong? Chicken?" "Nobody calls me chicken!"), the Wild Ride does provide the cheapest thrills necessary with a picture that (thankfully) doesn't even run an hour's length of time. It gives a halfway decent race-car sequence, and some nifty music in the end climax (if not, of course, throughout). There's even an oddly coincidental opening bit to the movie with that of Breathless, also released in 1960, with a rebel and a cop on his trail (albeit this on takes itself seriously, while Godard's parody).
It's a silly bit of teens-and-hot-rods exploitation that is still riding out whatever fuel is left from the 50s via the Wild One and James Dean. It's tender moments are like tender cuts of lamb, and its dialog is as pulpy as a moldy orange. And shame on me, perhaps, for almost liking this diddle of a B-movie; at the least it features something I've never seen before in another movie I can think of, which is a guy working at a liquor store asking if the young man Johnny has ID, he says yes, guy asks to see it, and Johnny says a simple 'No.' 5.5/10
I picked this movie up cheap out of a bargain bin. It is a double
feature disc with "The Little Shop of Horrors." When I started watching
it I was shocked to find that "Velocity," which I knew was circa 1960,
started off with a relatively new-looking scene of kids driving
dangerously. It seems that Vina Distributor (who put out this double
feature edition) or somebody decided to "update" the old teen flick
with some footage of more relevant "street punks."
The bad "modern" teen meets a dude in a bar who looks a little like Jack Nicholson but doesn't sound anything like him (I guess Jack has better things to do these days, unlike these cutters) who tells him the story of his young life. THEN we get into "Velocity," which is all that the other reviews here promised.
Jack is so young that one might not recognize him at first. This was only his second role and he was 23 years old in 1960. It is pretty funny and I gave it two stars for the yuks, but it is atrociously dated. The version I have is colorized.
I see on IMDb that "Velocity" is the video title and "The Wild Ride" was the original name of the film. Maybe it was renamed "Velocity" after the bizarre framing segments were added.
Okay, this is not classic film-making. It has its moments though. Jack Nicholson is about as young here as I can recall seeing him - almost young enough to pull off the teenage-or-just-past delinquent role he plays. The dialog is pretty full of then-current clichés and words, so that part can be a little bit amusing. There isn't a whole heck of a lot to say about this movie, either you like late 50's teen/delinquent movies or you don't. I kinda like the '57 Ford convertible Nicholson drives in this movie. I guess they made tons of this kind of movie back in the day, because kids had little to do for evening entertainment other than to go to the drive- in week after week, and the theaters needed fresh fodder to keep the teens showing up. Well, it's a period piece, don't watch it for any great entertainment value, just watch it to see a somewhat exaggerated view of what life was like back when and let it go at that.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This low-budget flick will probably be of interest only to Jack Nicholson fans. This early role for the emerging star with the radiant smile has Jack a hot-rodding beat generation Jekyll-Hyde duality of character that defies everything and everyone on and off the road. Johnny Varron(Nicholson)is a dirt track driver that has a need for speed, buys his friends and ends up a cop killer. After serving fifteen years in the pen, he returns as the mechanic for a mirror image of himself. Lot of beatnik lingo and seems totally filmed outdoors. Directed by Harvey Berman. Also in the cast: Georgianna Carter, Robert Bean, Judith Tresize, Carol Bigby and John Bologni.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Well Jack Nicholson had nothing on Brando, at least not at this point
in his career. In fact, you have to wonder how established actors ever
got beyond some of their early roles to make it big considering some of
their preliminary efforts in works like this. After this flick most of
Nicholson's acting consisted of guesting in a raft of Sixties TV series
before breaking out in 1969's "Easy Rider".
This one's sort of a cross between beatnik punk and hot rods from hell. Nicholson's character is gang leader Johnny Varron, and the emphasis is on drinking, speeding, and reckless driving, as Johnny gets all worked up about saving his buddy Dave (Robert Bean) from the clutches of a rather normal teenage girlfriend. Seems that Dave offended the rest of the gang by going chicken instead of ramming head on into a truck going in the opposite direction. Funny, but I sensed a certain wisdom in that course of action.
Of course, Johnny has problems of his own that start coming to a head when the police officer he ran off the road to open the picture dies of his injuries. The circumstances of that accident are recreated once again during an organized race, as Johnny forces another driver off the track with an illegal bump. Most of the rest of the story in between is sort of muddled as Johnny seems to make a half hearted play for Dave's girl (Georgianna Carter) as Dave himself goes missing in action for some reason.
For film fans, there's probably no reason at all to see this except to catch a young Jack Nicholson brooding and playing his top stud role to the hilt. I'd be curious to hear what Nicholson would have to say about his appearance here, certainly thankful I'm sure that for his career, this wouldn't have been as good as it gets.
This is an exploitation flick meant to entertain and perhaps teach us
about the dangers of angry young beatniks with fast cars. Jack
Nicholson stars as a larger than life punk who has a group of loyal
young idiots who follow him with almost cult-like devotion. And, when
one of the members DOESN'T, it ultimately spells disaster.
"The Wild Ride" was very low budget throughout and looks it. Aside from a very good performance by Nicholson as an angry jerk, the rest of the cast are uniformly bland. Also the story suffers because it is neither florid and 'racy' enough to be salacious nor is it ever especially believable. So, if you are a bad movie fan, it's just not bad enough to be especially entertaining and everyone else would just be pretty bored by it. But, on the positive side, it's not an embarrassment for Nicholson or any of the rest of the cast to be in this rather limp film.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Evil, arrogant, and amoral devil-may-care hot-rod hellion Johnny Varron (an incredibly young Jack Nicholson in fine snotty form) kills a cop and hassles his nice guy best buddy Dave (likable Robert Bean) because he disapproves of Dave's sweet new girlfriend Nancy (fetching blonde Georgianna Carter). Director Harvey Berman relates the engrossing story at a steady pace, soaks up the whole teen rebel scene with considerable aplomb (besides the expected lively and exciting vehicular carnage, we also get some cool dancing, lots of hysterically dated hepcat slang, and a rousing rough'n'tumble fistfight), and ensures that there are no dreary lulls throughout the tight 60 minute running time. Moreover, it's a total treat to watch a pre-stardom Nicholson play a blithely cocky and wicked adolescent bad egg with obvious lip-smacking relish. Taylor Sloan's crisp black and white cinematography gives the picture an attractive sharp look. The swinging bebop jazz score does the groovy trick. The tragic bummer ending packs a pretty strong punch as well. A nifty little quickie.
1960's "The Wild Ride" features legendary Jack Nicholson in one of his earliest roles and yet as it would become so common later on thru and during all of his career it is a rebel and rebellious type one. Jack is Johhny Varron a young punk of a teen type that loves to drink, party, and stir up trouble. Johhny is the leader of a California gang and he has a main passion for drag racing and just all out pure fun. Yet when his buddy Dave(Robert Bean)differs from the life of fun to please his loving girl Nancy(Georgianne Carter)a bitter and personal war is then directed at the female. This film then takes a predictable turn of the pedal to the medal with the chases of good against bad as the cops get involved in this wild ride. Overall this film is nothing great it's a very short work yet it's probably a must see and watch for any fan and enthusiast of the legendary Jack Nicholson since this being one of his early works it was good to see him portray a rebel type role that he would later become so instantly famous for.
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