Wednesday, May 8, 1968

Wild In The Streets

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Hollywood, April 28 [text obscured] Samuel Z Arkoff-James H. Nicholson [text obscured] Eve Newmen music [text obscured]
Cynthia Weils art direction, Paul B(or)Sylos sound, [text obscured] Reviewed in L.A. April 24, 68 Running Time,
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American International unveils a new trademark, amd possibly a new facet of its product image in "Wild In The Streets". An often chilling political science fiction drama, with comedy, the Samuel Z. Arkhoff-James H. Nicholson production considers the takeover of American government by the preponderant younger population. Good writing and direction enhance the impact of a diversified cast headed by Shelley Winters. Election year topicality and youth unrest provide strong commercial momentum, to which measured playoff should be added for purposes of building word of mouth. Warm b.o. prospects are likely in general situations.

Filmed at a reported cost of nearly $1,000,000 (perhaps the second AIPic in this range but evidently the first deliberate project of this scope), Robert Thom's original screenplay, from his earlier mag story, has been directed with zest by Barry Shear. A goodly chunk of coin went into post-production for contemporary cinematic editing and sound techniques are employed. Project seems an honest attempt by producers to invest a film with greater story depth, stronger direction, and improved production values.

While not strictly an exploitation pic, the story caters to the young crowd, at least in the development stages, by putting down parents and other older, hence "out-of-it" people. Slight shift in emphasis towards fadeout, via an underplaying of the threat to young people by even younger persons is not as great as it should have been in writing and direction. Thus, while film overall is not exploitation hard sell, it is rooted in the genre, perhaps from force of (AIP) habit and at least from its intended audience. The attempt to make a film of this type is praiseworthy, however.

Christopher Jones, whose future star potential is established herein, plays a rock and roll hero who, as a result of a request from would be U.S. Senator Hal Holbrook, exceeds the bounds of electioneering by mobilizing teenagers into legalized voters. Nazi-style regimentation of all persons above 35 years of age is engineered by Jones after being elected U.S. President. Miss Winters plays his sleazy, selfish mother, whose purported emasculation of dad Berrt Freed years before cued Jones' running away from home.

Jones retinue includes [text obscured] Varsi [text obscured] playing a former child star [text obscured] hippie, Kevin Coughlin, as a 25-year old tax whiz and legal [text obscured] Larry Bishop, a physically handicapped friend [text obscured] Richard Pryor [text obscured]

Holbrook's ousting has resulted in an outstanding performance: he projects [text obscured] who exploits the young crowd, only to be turned on.

Provided by: Jim McQuaid