5.5/10
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3 user 4 critic

Scream Free! (1969)

Here's an "Easy Rider" - inspired plot with the combination of "West Side Story" stars. Richard Beymer falls in love with Lana Wood (sister Natalie wasn't available). They need cash so they... See full summary »

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, (uncredited)

Writers:

(original story), (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview:
...
Dean
...
Link
...
Karen
...
Phil
Elizabeth Thompson
...
Narcotics officer (as Joel D. McCrea)
Lindsay Crosby ...
Narcotics officer (as Lindsey Crosby)
Warren Finnerty ...
Barney (as Warren B. Finnerty)
The Boston Tea Party ...
Group in club (as The Boston Tea Party)
Dave Hull ...
Lieutenant
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Storyline

Here's an "Easy Rider" - inspired plot with the combination of "West Side Story" stars. Richard Beymer falls in love with Lana Wood (sister Natalie wasn't available). They need cash so they agree to help Russ Tamblyn and his gang smuggle grass from Mexico to L.A. When Beymer objects to narcotics agents being killed, his long-haired pal from the Jets puts LSD in his drink, tries to burn him alive, and has Lana kidnapped. No musical numbers, however. With Bing's son Lindsay Crosby, Joel's son Jody McCrea and deejay Casey Casem. Directed by Bill Brame ("The Cycle Savages"). Written by alfiehitchie

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independent film | See All (1) »

Taglines:

Now! The Stars Of West Side Story Together Again! See more »

Genres:

Action | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

1 December 1969 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

Street Drugs  »

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Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)
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Did You Know?

Trivia

An ad campaign exploited the fact that Richard Beymer and Russ Tamblyn had appeared in West Side Story (1961), while Lana Wood was sister of female star of that movie, Natalie Wood. See more »

Soundtracks

Scream Free!
Performed by California Spectrum
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User Reviews

 
Zero talent behind the camera; actors left stranded
30 June 2011 | by (New York, New York) – See all my reviews

A quality cast never guarantees a movie will work, witness the disaster called FREE GRASS or SCREAM FREE! By any title this would-be exploitation film was too ineptly put together to even merit hard-up drive-ins to book it.

The filmmakers have some biker movie credentials, but haven't a clue here. It's trying for the Herman Hesse-inspired "finding oneself" attitude of the '60s, but heads nowhere in a hurry.

Richard Beymer, who would become an indie filmmaker years later with THE INNERVIEW, toplines as a searcher, not interested in joining the rat race. Film's best scene has him and hippie girlfriend Lana Wood on his hog, riding free down the open road (presaging the spirit of EASY RIDER). But he gets involved in drugs, especially under the bad influence of pal Russ Tamblyn.

Tamblyn was a mainstay of these drive-in movies, who along with his pal Dean Stockwell was to be counted on to deliver a quirky performance during their down-market career phase, after both of them began promisingly as leads in major studio pictures. The decline from WEST SIDE STORY to this junk for both Beymer and Tamblyn was hammered home by the marketing for FREE GRASS.

Wood, the buxom younger sister of Natalie, gets a scene recalling one of her sis' triumphs: Beymer takes her up to a high promenade with telescopes, where they can look down on the city, capturing the mood of the similar scene featuring Dean, Mineo and Natalie in REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE.

Film's ostensible plot revolves around hammy Casey Kasem (who remarkably went for about 40 years after this without aging a bit, Dorian Gray style) as a drug kingpin who's planning a big trafficking job from Mexico with underling Tamblyn. Russ recruits a reluctant Beymer to serve as a driver in bringing the drugs across the border, with the promise of $10,000 which will allow him to flee the cops (he's wanted by the law for going crazy and billy-clubbing one during a riot) and flee to a new life in Dayton, Ohio (!).

After lots of boring filler concerning Beymer's LSD trip (after Russ slips him a sugar cube Mickey), the "action" of bringing in the drugs using an RV results in violence. Director Bill Brame stages the confrontation with narcs Lindsay Crosby and Jody McCrea (2nd generation Hollywood royalty) like a home movie.

Theater audiences were cheated out of the expected Wood nude scenes (she was one hot number back then, appearing memorably in PLAYBOY as well as exploitation films like DEMON RAGE and A PLACE CALLED TODAY), but through the magic of video one can slow down the film and barely see the buxom starlet topless in one of Beymer's psychedelic hallucinations. Other than that 1/8th of a second cheap thrill, this dull offering never gets down to the basics of entertainment, high or low.


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