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A police captain (Aldo Ray) is caught between businesses operating on the Los Angeles Sunset Strip who don't like the punks hanging out, and his belief in allowing the kids their rights. But when his daughter (Mimsy Farmer) gets involved with an unruly bunch, his attitude starts to change. Written by
Sam Katzman's take on L.A. 60s youth culture, has some good elements to it
This legendary film is most legendary for its music scenes by the Standells(whose versions of the two songs they do are different from the ones appearing on the soundtrack album!) and the Chocolate Watchband (who are a VERY exciting live band and whose appearance totally justifies their devoted cult following). The actual movie has a kind of "Dragnet" feel, minus Jack Webb's patented hard-boiled ambience. With an actor as impressive as Aldo Ray in the lead--as a fair-minded police chief with a complex family situation who is drawn into the melodramatic situation that provides the film's plot--at least we are provided with a solid performance in a central role. And the young Mimsy Farmer's LSD dance is as bizarre as I'd heard it was. The rest of the film plays like a TV episode with a little extra sleaze added. Director Arthur Dreifuss was no stranger to exploitation films, having directed Black-cast and teen-oriented quickies in the 1940s AND directing the 60s classic The Love-Ins. Producer Sam Katzman had attempted to cash in on youth culture in the mid-50s with his two Bill Haley films and in the early 60s with his two Chubby Checker films (Don't Knock the Twist was excellent!). Frankly, this film takes the same youth/adult conflicts shown in those films and transposes them into 1967 Los Angeles. The difference is that the music is not the main element here-- it's only a backdrop to the Adult/Youth conflict. This film actually means well and presents a fair-minded analysis of the situation, and Ray is quite sympathetic and convincing, but the overall effect is reduced by weakly written roles for the (overage) teenagers and a "riot" that is anti-climactic and a conclusion that seems abrupt. Still the music scenes with the Standells and the Chocolate Watchband are GREAT, as are the songs by the exciting band who performs "Jolene" or something like that in a club scene. Perhaps this could be put on a DVD double-bill with another 60s AIP teen-exploitation flick?
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