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Paul Groves (Peter Fonda), a television commercial director, is in the midst of a personality crisis. His wife Sally (Susan Strasberg) has left him and he seeks the help of his friend John (Bruce Dern), a self-styled guru who's an advocate of LSD. Paul asks John to be the guide on his first "trip". John takes Paul to a "freak-out" at his friend Max's (Dennis Hopper) pad. Splitting the scene, they score some acid from Max and return to John's split-level pad with an indoor pool. Paul experiences visions of sex, death, strobe lights, flowers, dancing girls, witches, hooded riders, a torture chamber, and a dwarf. He panics but John tells him to "go with it, man." Would you trust John? Written by
Music drove my search for the colors that others see...
I originally became interested in finding this film due to my introduction and interest in the soundtrack. The music is performed by the late 60's self-proclaimed "American Music Band" known most often as THE ELECTRIC FLAG... A life-long fan of the somewhat psychadelic (as heard in THE TRIP), but more over horn/blues/rock band, the recording of THE TRIP that I first heard on a roadtrip to California (how fitting) is what sparked my search for a copy of THE TRIP.
I must say that the backwards line of hearing the music first and THEN seeing the film, caused me to have vague (but passionate!) expectations of what would be contained in the film. Yes, a "typical" portrayal of the late 60's acid/drug scene some might say, but I beg to differ. The film is about a man (Peter Fonda) who is distrought with life and looks for an answer through acid. The trippy, psychadelic scenes to follow make for a colorful kaleidescope of imagery and that, if nothing else, is a treat for the eyes! But later - dark, bleak scenes of medieval death contrast with a looming carnival funhouse feel. Through ecstatic highs and eerie lows, Fonda manages to come out of the trip with a new perspective - what he had hoped
for in the first place. But here is where one may say there really was no plot and in the end there was no lesson either. But, once again, I beg to differ. I enjoy delving deep into what seems to be merely innocent and aesthetic on the outside, and searching for what seems hidden amongst clowns on the inside. In the end, I got more than one message from the film, but I will let you, the viewer, decide for yourself what (if anything) you got from it. There, of course, is no wrong answer.
Having never (unfortunately) gotten the chance to live during that era, my curiosity is peaked and sometimes calmed by exposing myself to all that surrounded or grew from that era - be it music, poetry, film, literature or what have you. And though I can't proclaim to tell you that you will like or dislike the film, I can really only recommend for you to check it out. Because it is entertaining. Because it is superb filming. Because it is an early music video. Because it has a great American soundtrack. Because it is history. Because it it another time we can now only remember. Because it is one man's tribute to the often misunderstood era of peace, drugs, and a more innocent way of life. Because it is America... and because it made me come away with a new thought, and new ideas in my head, and if thats not something, I don't know what is. Thanks for reading.
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