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Electra Glide in Blue [Blu-ray]

4.3 out of 5 stars 96 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

A short motorcycle policeman with a Harley-Davidson ties hippies to a murder in the Arizona desert.

Amazon.com

One of the more eclectic titles from the independent movie scene of the early 1970s, James William Guercio's Electra Glide in Blue is a compelling mix of character drama and counterculture commentary on the American dream, anchored by Robert Blake's lead performance as an ambitious motorcycle cop who learns a hard lesson about upward mobility. Best known prior to its release as the manager and producer for the band Chicago (whose members turn up in minor cameos throughout the film), Guercio proved a capable filmmaker with Electra Glide, despite a severely limited budget; in an introduction filmed for the new Blu-ray presentation, Guercio discusses his appreciation for the films of John Ford, whose elegiac tone and landscape vistas of Monument Valley inform much of the picture's visual style and theme. Blake's John Wintergreen can also be viewed as a descendent of Ford's complicated heroes, pinned between his loyalty to his job and his desire for something more than handing out traffic tickets on Arizona back roads. An opportunity for advancement presents itself in the form of a suicide that Wintergreen believes to be a homicide, but the crime only serves to underscore some cold, hard facts about the nature of justice and societal standing. Pilloried upon its release as "fascist" for its convoluted depiction of police officers and the counterculture movement, Electra Glide has enjoyed a modest cult following among aficionados of early '70s American cinema for its unvarnished view of both sides of the American social scene, as well as its proudly eclectic tone and Guercio's assured direction. Blake, too, deserves considerable credit for the film's success for his fine, underplayed turn as a man all too willing to look past obvious red flags until it's far too late, and he's well supported by a cast that includes Mitchell Ryan as a self-impressed detective, Billy "Green" Bush as his partner, who desires the titular motorcycle, and the great character actors Royal Dano and Elisha Cook Jr. Guercio is featured on a commentary track in which he discusses his collaborations with Blake and cinematographer Conrad Hall, whom he was able to hire by deferring his directing fee, as well as the aforementioned introduction, which should be seen after the picture by first-time viewers, as it contains several spoilers. --Paul Gaita

Product Details

  • Actors: Robert Blake, Billy Green Bush, Mitch Ryan, Jeannine Riley, Elisha Cook Jr.
  • Directors: James William Guercio
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Blu-ray, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    PG
    Parental Guidance Suggested
  • Studio: Shout! Factory
  • DVD Release Date: June 4, 2013
  • Run Time: 114 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (96 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00BNAE5DY
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #39,435 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By P. Ferrigno on October 31, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
"Electra Glide In Blue" is easily one of my favourite "unknown" films of the 1970's. This was the first (and only) movie directed by rock producer James William Guercio, and in my book it is a top class effort.

Robert Blake ( from TV's "Baretta" ) plays ex-Marine now Arizona motorcycle cop, John Wintergreen, desperate to trade his Harley Davidson Electra Glide police motorbike in for four wheels and join the Stockman Motors detectives division. That opportunity presents itself soon enough, when Wintergreen comes across a gunned down corpse in an dilapidated shack and the puzzle of was it just suicide, or was it murder. Blinded by the supposed granduer of the detective's role, Wintergreen becomes sorely disheartened to find out that the grass is not always greener on the other side of the hill. Exposed to bigotry, hate and injustice, his lofty opinions of his police superiors quickly crumble as he realises the brutal and impersonal nature of their personalities.

The talented and versatile cast is what makes "Electra Glide in Blue" really crackle....Billy Green Bush plays Wintergreen's partner "Zipper" Davis...an abusive and arrogant police officer who is ultimately so insecure and lonely. The talented actor Mitchell Ryan plays head of detectives Harve Poole, another bombastic and narcisstic man seething with resentment and insecurities wracking his life. Jeannine Riley is the lonely, heartbroken waitress ?Joelene"....seeking warmth and affection in the arms of the local police officers....and the wonderful character actor, Royal Dano, is the tired and irritable Coroner. Plus, I can't leave out veteran character actor, Elisha Cook Jr., as the half witted desert loner, Willy.
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Format: VHS Tape
I had vague memories of seeing this film years ago when I was probably sixteen that had haunted me for the following sixteen years of my life. Having just seen this gem again on cable I remembered why. The acting in this film is so far beyond most of the junk that is released today that the phrase, they don't make them like they used to should be changed to , they can't make them like they used to. While some aspects of a movie of this age might seem a little dated who could reasonably deny that the final scene of this film is the most stunning thing ever exposed to film. Hell I could watch that ending every day for the rest of my life and always be awed by the beauty and sadness of it.
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Format: VHS Tape
Robert Blake plays a diminutive motorcycle cop in the middle of Arizona. His ambition is to make detective, and wear "that brown suit and hat that says 'you get paid to think.'" When he discovers a suicide that may be a murder, he gets his shot at the bigtime. I haven't seen every movie Blake's done, but this is probably his best role, and he really makes the most of it. Director Guercio (who, to my knowledge never directed another movie) paints a beautiful, poignant picture of this little man surrounded by an awesome landscape. In a way the desert represents Blake's situation. He's this tiny guy who wants to play by a code of honor and to do the right thing, but all around him is this vast wasteland crawling with people who want to bend the rules. The final shot of this film, along with the beautiful closing song (written by Director Guercio) is one of the saddest, most awe-inspiring moments in the history of filmmaking. This movie's not a thrill-a-minute chase flick, but a thoughtful, sad and inspiring story of duty, honor, decency, and the price those virtues bear.
4 Comments 43 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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By A Customer on July 15, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
This film is a disjointed, unfocused, cynical, at times brilliant look at the life of a motorcycle cop in Arizona. Robert Blake plays John Wintergreen, a sympathetic loner and dreamer who aspires to be a detective. The suicide of an old drifter in the desert is quickly seen by Blake as a murder and his attempts to convince his superiors to investigate is met at first with derision. Through Blake's eyes we see a country torn apart: apathetic, neurotic, berift of dreams, lonely, capable of frightening acts of violence. An examination of the mindset of the early seventies and a film that is sometimes know as the "anti Easy Rider." Blake has rarely been better.
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
This review is for the blu-ray import. Movie is 112 minutes, widescreen, no subtitles, only special features are a trailer and a ten minute intro by James Guercio. Picture quality is excellent except for some occasional sprinkles in the middle. Great movie, waited for a blu-ray release, and despite the high price I am satisfied with it, at least until something better comes along. The widescreen hi-def picture really brings out the beauty of the desert in the outdoor vista scenes. Another scene is in the beginning when John sneaks up on Zipper with his magnum, you can make out the lettering on the gun barrel, try that with VHS tape or a standard DVD. The colors are vibrant, no apparent fading. The sound is great, didn't notice any defects. Love the music, bought the soundtrack separately on CD. What can I say about this movie except that if you saw this in your youth, it must of made quite an impression for you to try to find it again. Motorcycles, good and bad cops, hippies, bike chases, great acting by most of the stars, and iconic 70's jazz/rock music that make this a very enjoyable film. Guercio in his intro talks a little about the making of this movie and what he had to do to keep it under budget. Maybe in retrospect it was a labor of love for him to put up with all the constraints and to persevere and try to create an important American film (his words). A very 70's movie touching on the social changes America was going through for better or worse.
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