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Max von Sydow,
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Gunfights and electric guitars in the Old West? You bet! Zachariah gets a mail order gun, practices a little, and kills a man in the local saloon. He and his friend Matthew set out to become gunfighters, joining with the Crackers, a rock band who are also (pitifully inept) stage robbers. Having quickly outgrown that gang, Zachariah and Matthew set out to become bigtime gunslingers. Before long, they part company and a rivalry grows between them. Written by
George S. Davis <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Siddhartha done as a Rock and Roll Comedy Western by two of the members of the Firesign Theatre - What's there not to love.
Even if you don't recognize the themes of self discovery based on Herman Hesse's classic story of the Buddha's early journey, this is still a fun movie featuring the classic American western outlaw story done as a send-up.
It's like a light hearted version of El Topo only it made me laugh where the other made me squirm - in a good way. This is not to say that the story is the same as either. It merely shares the same themes.
Particularly amusing are the scenes with Country Joe and the Fish as the bungling highwaymen. Louisiana Man Doug Kershaw as the lone fiddler in black and the James Gang's opening scene are breathtaking and funny at the same time. It reminds me of Hesse's line in Steppenwolf when Mozart laughs at the hero in his dream because he can't hear the music through the static on the radio. This music celebrates the joy of life that epitomized the counterculture rebellion against the darkness of the times.
Max Frisch, the Swiss author, defended an attack on the silence of the Swiss writers during the horrors of Nazi Germany by saying he wanted to set up against that all the other things that still can be called life. This movie was part of that movement -- forget superficial commercial ventures like Hair or JC Superstar or the Tommy movie -- this was the musical of the rock and roll generation as much as Rocky Horror was the musical of the Glam Rock generation. Only back then young people were just grateful to be alive and have any dreams at all. It's no wonder that the votes on this one has old farts like me rating it much higher than anyone else. I guess you had to be there back when these musicians couldn't even get radio airplay. I haven't seen this in nearly twenty years when it last played at one of the revival houses but it's one of the few movies whose scenes I can replay in my mind an laugh out loud. This is how we celebrated all those other things that we still called life.
Although I would no longer condone such practices, this film appears to have been made to also be enjoyable under the influence of the popular psychoactive alkaloids of the era.
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