Before I get down to details, a complaint. When is this movie going to be available on widescreen DVD format? I bought the video and anxiously await the DVD release.
In 1973 Electra Glide In Blue was released to a big yawn. It has since become an American cult classic. If I told you where the interesting title comes from, I'd be giving away a major plot point.
Robert Blake plays a small-town desert motorcycle cop with dreams of grandeur. He seemingly gets his wish when he's promoted to detective and becomes involved in a homicide investigation. The investigation centers around a hippie commune where Blake identifies more with the hippies than with his fellow officers.
There are three truly great American actors: Marlon Brando, James Dean and Robert Blake. Electra Glide In Blue shows Robert Blake at his very best. And that's the name of that tune.
Not to say that the motorcycle chase setpiece isn't worth watching.
Not that the end of the film isn't ironic and powerful.
But Bobby Blake simply *owns* this film.
As Arizona motorcycle patrolman John Wintergreen, Blake gives an excellent portrayal of a man who remains idealisticdespite the cynicism that his job normally engenders.
As other reviewers have mentioned, this film forms an almost certainly unintended (and somewhat tenuous, but nonetheless real) stylistic trilogy with "Easy Rider" and "Vanishing Point", examining issues and aspects of the counterculture of the 70s through the lens of America's addiction to gasoline.
Of particular ironic (and iconic) interest to myself and other Viet Nam veterans is the scene betwen Big John and the truck driver...
And the poignance of the ending is unquestionable, reflecting the cynical view that "No good deed goes unpunished."
((Why was a still from this film displayed with other photos, awards and trophies on Captain Furillo's office wall on "Hill Street Blues"?))
((Incidentally, while director Guercio was, as has been mentioned, horn band Chicago's producer, before that he played bass for Frank Zappa in the Mothers of Invention...))