Electra Glide in Blue

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For the Apollo 440 album, see Electro Glide in Blue.
Electra Glide in Blue
Electra Glide in Blue 1973.jpg
Original 1973 movie poster
Directed by James William Guercio
Produced by James William Guercio
Rupert Hitzig
Screenplay by Robert Boris
Story by Robert Boris
Rupert Hitzig
Starring Robert Blake
Billy "Green" Bush
Mitchell Ryan
Jeannine Riley
Elisha Cook
Music by James William Guercio
Cinematography Conrad Hall
Edited by Jim Benson
Gerald R. Greenberg
John F. Link
Production
  company
Guercio-Hitzig
Distributed by United Artists (1973, original)
MGM (2005, DVD)
Release date(s) August 19, 1973
Running time 114 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Electra Glide in Blue is a 1973 film starring Robert Blake as a motorcycle cop in Arizona and Billy "Green" Bush as his partner. The name stems from the Harley-Davidson Electra Glide motorcycle issued to traffic cops.

Plot[edit]

John Wintergreen (played by Blake) is a motorcycle cop who patrols the rural Arizona highways with his partner "Zipper" (Bush). Wintergreen is a rookie looking to be transferred to homicide. When he is informed by Crazy Willie (Elisha Cook, Jr.) of an apparent suicide via shotgun, Wintergreen believes the case is actually a murder. Detective Harve Poole (Mitchell Ryan) agrees after a .22 bullet is found in the man's skull, as well as a missing $5,000, and arranges for Wintergreen to be transferred to homicide to help with the case.

Wintergreen gets his wish, but his joy is short-lived. He begins increasingly to identify with the hippies whom the other officers, including Detective Poole, are endlessly harassing. Workplace politics cause him to be quickly demoted back to Traffic Enforcement. The final straw comes when Poole discovers that Wintergreen has been sleeping with his girlfriend Jolene (Jeannine Riley).

Despite being demoted, Wintergreen is able to solve the murder. The killer turns out to be Willie, who confesses while Wintergreen goads him into talking about it. Wintergreen surmises Willie did it because he was jealous of the old man he killed, who frequently had young people over to his house to buy drugs. Shortly after, it turns out that Zipper stole the $5,000, which he used to buy an Electra Glide motorcycle. Wintergreen is forced to shoot Zipper after he becomes belligerent and begins shooting innocent bystanders.

As the film ends, Wintergreen is alone and back on his old beat, when he runs into a hippie that Zipper was needlessly harassing near the beginning of the film. Wintergreen lets him off with a warning but the hippie forgets his driver's license, and Wintergreen drives up behind his van to return it to him. The hippie's passenger points a shotgun out the back window and shoots Wintergreen, killing him.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

First-time director Guercio took a salary of one dollar in order to have budget available to hire Conrad Hall as the cinematographer. During their discussions, it transpired that Guercio and Hall disagreed on how the film should look; a compromise was reached where Guercio would shoot the exterior scenes in a manner reminiscent of John Ford's films (which was the look Guercio wanted to achieve), while Hall could set up and shoot all the film's interior scenes any way he saw fit. According to the DVD commentary, Guercio claims that a majority of the film was shot without permits, because the Arizona State Police would not cooperate with production.

The movie was filmed in Monument Valley and Fountain Hills, Arizona, in the area around Shea Boulevard and the Beeline Highway (SR 87), which at the time, was undeveloped desert. It was produced and directed by James William Guercio (who is best known as the producer of rock band Chicago's first eleven albums). Several members of the band Chicago appear in minor roles, including Peter Cetera, Terry Kath, Lee Loughnane and Walter Parazaider, as well as David "Hawk" Wolinski from the Guercio-produced band Madura. Chicago also appears on the movie soundtrack. The soundtrack album also included a four-page fold-out poster of Robert Black standing beside his cycle on a bluff overlooking Monument Valley.

Release[edit]

Home media[edit]

Electra Glide in Blue was released on DVD by MGM on March 22, 2005. A Blu-ray release is planned for June 4, 2013 by Shout! Factory.[1]

Reception[edit]

The film got a negative review in The New York Times, which described the film as "portentous" but portraying "very ordinary or very embarrassing things: a crudely staged bike chase, or the confessions of a demoralized bar girl in what looks and sounds like a second-year acting exercise in drama school".[2]

The film was entered into the 1973 Cannes Film Festival,[3] but was loathed by critics. However, Robert Blake was nominated for a Golden Globe for his performance and it garnered a great deal of critical acclaim upon its nationwide release. Whilst it saw only limited commercial success, it was given cult status for many years.

References[edit]

External links[edit]