Written by / 3/15/2023 / No comments / , , , , , , , , ,

ROBERT BLAKE TRIBUTE OF CULT CLASSIC 'ELECTRA GLIDE IN BLUE'

title: ELECTRA GLIDE IN BLUE year: 1973 rating: ****1/2

In 1973, cops got their very own EASY RIDER in ELECTRA GLIDE IN BLUE, both involving gorgeous, travelogue motorcycle rides past canyon horizons while the latter remains in one location — that seems eternal...

As first-time director and cowboy movie lover James William Guercio... manager of the band Chicago... gets the best from Arizona's Monument Valley, where John Ford shot many John Wayne epics... 

Robert Blake in ELECTRA GLIDE IN BLUE

And ELECTRA isn't a genuine road movie like RIDER, except when highway patrolman Robert Blake as John Wintergreen and seedy partner Billy Green Bush as Zipper take seriously to that road...

Yet the best moments happen right up front, with Blake alone, handing out tickets to eclectic motorists: it's here we learn of his affable charm... going against the usual movie-cop mold... countered by a tough determination to match the coolest of cinematic lawman...

Robert Blake in ELECTRA GLIDE IN BLUE with Billy Green Bush

Then he gets his wish... to become a bonafide detective, paired with an often monstrous and borderline cliche, counter-culture-loathing Mitchell Ryan, where the initial hangout vibe is replaced with an actual plot/murder case: an old man died by his own shotgun, seeming like a suicide until Blake's Wintergreen figures otherwise...

So while his patrolman partner is cheating hippies, or the new detective partner is beating hippies, Blake's lover-and-a-fighter type is caught in-between, and, whether straddled atop his big bike or seated inside the plainclothes high roller, the overall theme here is — you can't find contentment in purgatory...

Robert Blake in ELECTRA GLIDE IN BLUE with Billy Green Bush and Hawk Wolinski

In an almost perfect cult movie experience, if only certain melodramatic actor's workshop scenes, like hammy suspect Elisha Cook Jr. or a dragging monologue with a wispy Tennessee Williams-style barmaid or when Billy Green Bush loses his mind, had been replaced with more police procedural moments...

Yet overall, ELECTRA GLIDE IN BLUE is a meticulous, slow-burn modern-Western packed with a singularly pivotal, instrumental-backed, high-end action sequence involving handguns and dirt bikes...

Robert Blake in ELECTRA GLIDE IN BLUE

And it's the vulnerably-underplayed performance of Robert Blake — second to his adult-career breakthrough in IN COLD BLOOD six years earlier — that makes BLUE really shine, and that shine’s completely timeless... 

Followed by the vice-cop drama BUSTING where an unlit cigarette influenced a character he's best remembered: the smooth-talking TV-cop BARETTA — but Robert Blake was always far more natural on the big screen.

Robert Blake in ELECTRA GLIDE IN BLUE
Easy Rider target in ELECTRA GLIDE IN BLUE
Robert Blake in ELECTRA GLIDE IN BLUE
Robert Blake in ELECTRA GLIDE IN BLUE Susan Forristal and Lucy Angle Guercio
Robert Blake in ELECTRA GLIDE IN BLUE with Billy Green Bush and Hawk Wolinski
Robert Blake in ELECTRA GLIDE IN BLUE
Robert Blake in ELECTRA GLIDE IN BLUE
Robert Blake in ELECTRA GLIDE IN BLUE with Elisha Cook Jr. and Mitchell Ryan
Robert Blake in ELECTRA GLIDE IN BLUE and Nick Nolte as a hippie extra
Jeannine Riley in ELECTRA GLIDE IN BLUE
Robert Blake in ELECTRA GLIDE IN BLUE and Billy Green Bush
Chicago singer Peter Cetera in ELECTRA GLIDE IN BLUE

Robert Blake in ELECTRA GLIDE IN BLUE
Robert Blake in ELECTRA GLIDE IN BLUE
Robert Blake in ELECTRA GLIDE IN BLUE with Billy Green Bush
Robert Blake in ELECTRA GLIDE IN BLUE with Royal Dano
Robert Blake in ELECTRA GLIDE IN BLUE
Brash detective Mitchell Ryan in ELECTRA GLIDE IN BLUE
Robert Blake in ELECTRA GLIDE IN BLUE
Robert Blake in ELECTRA GLIDE IN BLUE
Robert Blake in ELECTRA GLIDE IN BLUE
Robert Blake in ELECTRA GLIDE IN BLUE Susan Forristal and Lucy Angle Guercio
Robert Blake in ELECTRA GLIDE IN BLUE with Billy Green Bush
Melissa Greene in ELECTRA GLIDE IN BLUE
Melissa Greene in ELECTRA GLIDE IN BLUE with Robert Blake
Mitchell Ryan in ELECTRA GLIDE IN BLUE with Robert Blake
Landscape of ELECTRA GLIDE IN BLUE
Robert Blake in ELECTRA GLIDE IN BLUE
Electra Glide motorcycles from ELECTRA GLIDE IN BLUE
Electra Glide motorcycles from ELECTRA GLIDE IN BLUE
Robert Blake in ELECTRA GLIDE IN BLUE with Billy Green Bush
Directorial Credit for ELECTRA GLIDE IN BLUE
Robert BLAKE and Nick NOLTE from ELECTRA GLIDE IN BLUE
Monument Valley in ELECTRA GLIDE IN BLUE
Monument Valley in ELECTRA GLIDE IN BLUE
Monument Valley in ELECTRA GLIDE IN BLUE
Robert Blake in ELECTRA GLIDE IN BLUE
Robert Blake in ELECTRA GLIDE IN BLUE
Hawk Wolinski in ELECTRA GLIDE IN BLUE
Monument Valley in ELECTRA GLIDE IN BLUE
Monument Valley in ELECTRA GLIDE IN BLUE
Electra Glide in ELECTRA GLIDE IN BLUE
Finale in ELECTRA GLIDE IN BLUE

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