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Sidney J. Furie
Billy Dee Williams,
Wealthy twenty-two year old Max Frost - born Max Jacob Flatow, Jr. - is a rock music superstar, he a rock music franchise unto himself. He has cut ties with his parents, especially due to the control wielded by his overbearing mother, Daphne Flatow, that control against which he rebelled and is still rebelling in the form of having an entourage solely of young people, who he believes knows better than people even a few years older than them. Age-wise, the senior member of his entourage is his acid-dropping girlfriend, former child star Sally LeRoy, age twenty-four, the junior member being fifteen year old Yale law graduate Billy Cage, his business advisor and his band's guitarist. Max decides to endorse thirty-seven year old Congressman Johnny Fergus, running on the Democratic ticket for a California senate seat, as one of Johnny's platform policies is to lower the voting age to eighteen. Johnny happily accepts that endorsement because of Max's power over young people, whose votes ...Written by
When Jimmy Fergus meets his Senator father, he states "and when that special water comes in...". The decision to put LSD in the water supply is made in the scene following during Max's War Council so Jimmy's scene with his father was edited out of sync. See more »
This film is a fascinating time capsule of late sixties fashions, music, and mindsets, as essential to an understanding to the culture of the times as BLOW-UP and BEDAZZLED. Like the decade itself, the film is funny, political, satiric, irreverent, colorful and groovy. No really. The movie involves Max Flatow, an angry teen who blows up his parent's car and runs away from his push-over father and clinging mother to become a rock star and multi-millionaire. Now flanked by a group of hangers-on/band members that include a washed-up child star-turned-druggie(Diane Varsi), a one-handed horn player(Larry Bishop), a gay business manager(Kevin Coughlin), a fourteen-year old Japanese typewriter heiress, and black militant drummer(Richard Pryor!), Max Frost, as he is now known, endorses a self-serving young senatorial candidate(Hal Holbrook, in a role that now undoubtably makes him cringe)hoping to court young voters. But Max has his own agenda, using the newly-elected senator to have Varsi elected to Congress and propose legislation that the voting age be lowered to 14!Max laces the Washington water supply with LSD, then he and his cronies enlist teenagers to escort the stoned Congressmen to the voting booths. With the voting age lowered, Max gets himself elected President and outlaws anyone over 30, sentencing them to concentration camps where they're kept perpetually stoned on LSD.
The whole premise belies the generational tensions that laid just below the surface of everyday life in the late sixties. What looks like far-fetched camp now was very much a concern to the older people who felt overwhelmed by the predominant youth culture of the time. Still, it is a fun romp. The musical sequences are eye-popping precursors to MTV, with psychedelic light displays and cutting edge(for 1968)graphics, and the camera angles and editing are top-drawer(the film was nominated for an Oscar for editing). Yet the film does have a good deal of camp, primarily in Shelley Winters, out of control as Max's overbearing mother. Winters was well into the insane/conniving/perverted mother stage of her career(starting with LOLITA and ending with WHO SLEW AUNTIE ROO)and she hits her stride here: she not only chomps the scenery but gobbles it down and goes for seconds! Everyone has a favorite scene: Winters commandeering the wheel of Max's Rolls and rolling the car, killing a small boy in the process; Winters in a long blonde wig and hippie get-up, extolling the virtures of LSD therapy; Winters(about five minutes after the last scene)in a pill box hat, suit, and finger waves haughtily telling a reporter about her recent appointment as U.S. Ambassador to England(?!); and my personal fave, with Winters, disheveled and whacked out on LSD, wearing a hospital gown and scaling a chain-link fence as she screams, "FEATHERS! I MUST HAVE FEATHERS!!" Whatthehell??
The movie was on video at one point, but may be out of print. AIP, that teen fare sausage factory, put this one out, and it supposedly got a bigger budget that their average flicks. It also made quite a bit of money. A true cult classic, and, did you know, the theme song, "Shapes Of Things To Come" was released as a single credited to Max Frost and the Troopers? It charted at #22 in 1968!
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