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. ...
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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
Inspired by actual incidents in 1960's Los Angeles, this typically contrived and trite take on the situation tries to be enlightening, but more often comes off as amusing. Farmer is a lovely high school teen who lives with her drunken mother and hasn't seen her policeman father for over 4 years. She falls in with a crowd of kids who stay out late and drink and do drugs or worse. After being picked up once for breaking curfew, she ventures out again and comes to regret it, her seemingly insignificant decision kicking off a chain of events that leads to the title riot. Ray, as her father, gives a pleasant, solid, if somewhat wooden performance. Most of his scenes involve sitting in a bland police station and talking with his somewhat prissy British partner Evans (whose own wife admits that the police force made fun of him when they moved there!) Farmer is gorgeous, all teased hair and fun 60's clothing. She gives an adequate performance topped off by a screamingly funny acid trip routine which starts off robotic and ends up Ann-Margret. Other "kids" in the cast include Rooney (Mickey's son) who is mostly hidden behind tinted glasses and a mop of hair that he overacts with constantly, raven-haired Mock who sports some kooky, but fun 60's get-ups and lean, cute Haydn, who resembles a young Tom Cruise, but with an edge. Not to be believed is pink-haired (!) Petra as Farmer's slovenly, child-like lush of a mother who pretty much just leans and lays around the furniture whining while exposing a fleshy shoulder. As the film opens, a crisp narrator warns of the "youth problem" while stock footage of actual L.A. is uneasily combined with studio sets. Packed, dark streets are hilariously cut to bright, clean sparsely populated sidewalks. Adults in the area complain about the outlandishly dressed and coiffed teens who (gasp!) walk around in turtlenecks, cardigans, sportcoats and the like (the band members too!) Little did they know how good they had it! These men wouldn't be able to enter a Wal-Mart or a mall today without having a heart attack on the spot! A few actual hippies are brought in to plead their case and these realistic people clash noticeably with the actor-types who portray the other characters in the film. One thing to be said about the movie is that it goes a long way to present both sides of the situation and gives a surprisingly balanced account of the issues (especially considering the generation of the men who produced the film. ) The music sways from groovy fun to ear-splitting noise, but it's neat to have a record of the style of the times. Ray has a fight scene at the end that is meant to be abrupt and shocking, but thanks to the uproarious music and staging, is akin to a scene from "Batman". All that's missing are the cartoon "Bop!" and "Thwaap!" balloons. There's an impossibly annoying reporter in the film who does more to incite trouble than anyone. He somehow teleports from the hospital to a live TV studio within minutes, at the end of the film, to deliver his dry commentary. The film is worth a look for a glimpse at how this issue was presented at the time and for some of the music and clothes, but can't be taken seriously as a document of the times.
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