Robert Blake stars as "Big John" Wintergreen, the diminutive chopper cop adrift in a flotsam of corrupt lowlifes, in this modern existential Western that oozes 1970s charm.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2007
Like many films of its era, Electra Glide failed to connect with an audience upon first release. A modern existential Western starring Robert Blake (post-In Cold Blood, pre-Hollywood murder trial), it was branded as “fascist” after a Cannes screening, before disappearing behind the shadow of Easy Rider. The only feature directed by music promoter James William Guercio (who managed Chicago), the film oozes 70s charm, with its terrific widescreen lensing (courtesy of old-school Hollywood ace Conrad Hall), quirky characterisations and the requisite offbeat ending.Blake is terrific as “Big John” Wintergreen, the diminutive chopper cop who dreams of promotion to homicide. A beacon of morality adrift in a flotsam of corrupt lowlifes, Wintergreen’s outcast status is further clinched by his Native American heritage. Whodunnit elements take a back seat to the implicit theme that a man should not be judged by the cut ofhis cloth.
“The ending… is a masterfully appalling moment in an era chockablock with convulsions.” — Michael Atkinson, Village Voice