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Written by / 8/31/2018 / No comments / , , , , , , , , , , ,

KELLY BOHANON & CAROLINE HILDEBRAND IN 'IDAHO TRANSFER'

Kelly Bohanon as Karen Braden in Idaho Transfer circa 1973
Director Peter Fonda went the "minimalist" route in his futuristic scorched-earth science-fiction IDAHO TRANSFER in both the aesthetic, using locales like the already hollow and haunting Craters of the Moon, Idaho, and especially the performances since the cast (except Keith Carradine in a bit part) aren't trained actors...

Which is similar to another 1970's Renaissance Era project, TWO-LANE BLACKTOP, only Monte Hellman's traveling duo had famous music-related day-jobs. But Fonda has his own reasons: While the pair of leading young ladies can't act out of that cliché paper bag, spouting lines in a brooding and lackadaisical, inattentive monotone, they're two of the cutest starlets (albeit one-time starlets) to ever appear on screen...

Caroline Hildebrand as Isa Braden
Especially full-lipped, sandy-blond haired, natural beauty Kelly Bohanon as Karen, who, unlike her science-minded hippie cohorts, is reluctant to take part in the experiment, pouting like a spoiled rich kid they have to put up with. Especially (and understandably) after her slightly older sister, seeming like the main character up-front, exits sooner than expected — on purpose. Making equally gorgeous Caroline Hildebrand's Isa the PSYCHO Janet Leigh of IDAHO TRANSFER...

Plus she's the bearer of primary exposition: Through teaching Karen, we learn how the kids go from the present time (the early seventies) to the future from within a white-walled laboratory building that tunnels up onto the desert exterior, looking the same no matter if it's 56-years later or not. By sitting, straddled close together, on an upturned yet grounded metallic slab while manipulating the right buttons, they can only wear tight t-shirts and panties for safe travel. In this, director Fonda wields an exploitation cinema twofer: Young scantly clad female bodies for the drive-in audience and his own original time travel rules for science-fiction buffs...

Film Score Rating of Peter Fonda's Idaho Transfer: ***1/2
But the explanations don't last long. Soon enough, the TRANSFER (like "beaming") is physical, and thus a kind of road movie popular in the counter-culture era (ironically inspired by Fonda and Dennis Hopper's EASY RIDER) ensues and, hiking instead of biking, Karen is unevenly partnered with a lanky dork, both separated from the gang, all going from Idaho to Oregon across a barren landscape that looks effectively melancholy and post-apocalyptic.

While there are awkward and sometimes downright awful moments, especially during conversations when the young Bohemians meet up along the way, spouting dialogue as if struggling in a student film, there's still an inevitable feeling that the journey could shape up like every cautionary-tale or TWILIGHT ZONE or EASY RIDER itself: Possibly providing a not-so-sunny conclusion. And no matter what limitations are holding Kelly Bohanon back in the acting department, she's got more than looks going on: With just enough vulnerability intact, she makes a terrific pawn, not much different than a primal and desperate, last-girl-standing in a horror flick — a genre director Peter Fonda (who doesn't provide a cameo) is flirting with for the entire intentionally slow-paced, enigmatic, subtly nightmarish ride. 
Kelly Bohanon IDAHO TRANSFER
Kelly Bohanon IDAHO TRANSFER
Kelly Bohanon IDAHO TRANSFER
A beaten and bloody Kelly Bohanon IDAHO TRANSFER
Peter Fonda's credit as Caroline Hildebrand is shown undressing for time travel
Fictional sisters Kelly Bohanon and Caroline Hildebrand IDAHO TRANSTER
Kelly Bohanon IDAHO TRANSFER Kelly Bohanon
IDAHO TRANSFER is, at the time dated, available to stream on Amazon Prime
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