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“Electra Glide in Blue,” on TCM Cinema: The iconic road movie about America’s lost greatness

TCM CINÉMA – Saturday 18 November – 20:50 – Movie

Among the incarnations of the road movie, a genre historically linked to the history of the American counterculture, is one of the most striking. Electra Glide Blue (Controlled sliding In french). Directed by James William Guercio in 1973, it was released in theaters only in 2010.EasyRider (1969) – somewhat his reactionary alter ego.

True, Guercio pulls no punches. The title of his film, for starters, refers to the mythical monster produced by Harley-Davidson, which was then equipped by the American police. Its hero is a policeman named John Wintergreen (Robert Blake) whose integrity is matched only by his courage, a zealot of the Star-Spangled Banner who practices shooting on a poster.EasyRider And who will fall for the hippie bullets.

Electra Glide Blue It is not so much a manifesto against youth as a lament, often ironically melancholic, for America’s lost greatness and the division of its people. Wintergreen first of all characterizes her by combining perfectly opposite qualities: a successful lover, training her body and mind, she is also small, barely keeping up with her colleagues. Wintergreen is a dwarf who thinks he is Superman.

Both the story of the film and the director develop this paradox. Pursuing exemplary law enforcement, Wintergreen opposes the intolerance, stupidity, and racism of his colleagues, as well as the degeneration of flower power into pure drug addiction and generalized degradation on all sides.

Political lynching

The aesthetic also has an irreconcilable divide: on the one hand, the setting of John Ford’s Westerns, the wide-shot Monument Valley that touches on the great American myth; On the other hand, an interior sequence that fragments and dehumanizes individuals through tight editing, reducing them to symbols (leather jacket, female breast molded bodice, shiny weapons, flawless uniforms, etc.).

The story of this film, more grim than fascist, is a dream of collective grandeur reduced to the dimensions of a list of fetishized accessories. The ill fortune that befell it upon its release, between the indifference of the general public and the political lynching aimed at its director, would also help make it a unique film. James William Guercio was, in fact, a complete neophyte when the United Artists studio wanted to repeat the shiny financial hit.EasyRiderHe was entrusted with 1 million dollars to make a road movie.

Source: Le Monde



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