A real road movie and the true face of America.  55 years ago, the movie “Easy Rider” hit screens

The United States in the late 1960s was not a peaceful country. The war in Vietnam escalated. In 1967, the number of American forces there reached 485,000. Soldiers. Military operations in Asia also caused social conflicts in the United States – anti-war protests swept almost all universities. A very large group of students became involved in, or at least supported, the hippie movement. In San Francisco, about 100,000. Young people gathered in the Haight-Ashbury and Golden Gate areas of San Francisco to express their opposition to the conservative mentality of their parents’ generation, as well as the participation of American forces in the Vietnam War. The summer of 1967 was called the “Summer of Love,” and hippies who believed in the principle “Make love, not war” were called “flower children.”

“Easy Rider” was created partly outside of mainstream Hollywood. Principal photography for the film began on February 22, 1968, with the Mardi Gras carnival sequence and lasted less than three months. Cinematographer Laszlo Kovacs executed them, among others: in Nevada, New Mexico, on the legendary Route 66, among others in the Flagstaff area of ​​​​Arizona, and in Louisiana. The “Cocaine” sequences were recorded in La Contenta, New Mexico. The aforementioned hippie commune was located on Rotunda Mesa Road in California, and the scene of the deal with the drug lord (played by music producer Phil Spector) was filmed on Airline Road, right next to the runway at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). . The most famous “poster” shot was recorded of motorcyclists crossing the Long-Allen Arch Bridge over the Atchafalaya River on the outskirts of Morgan City, Louisiana. Café Melancon in Morganza has become a tourist attraction. The final scene with the rifle-toting rednecks was filmed on North Levee Road on State Route 105, north of Crotz Springs.

Kovacs recalls shooting most of the dynamic shots from inside a 68-inch Chevrolet Impala convertible and using natural lighting. According to the operator, some crew members lived in large camps, and equipment and motorcycles were transported on two trucks. The film’s budget was modest – less than PLN 400,000. $ (about 4 million US dollars in 2024).

Four Harley-Davidson FLH Hydraglide motorcycles, so called Ben Hardy and Cliff “Sonny” Faw, among others, were rebuilt from the late 1940s. Front suspension and steering, creating so-called choppers. The motorcycle’s distinctive “Captain America” ​​fuel tank painting is the work of Dean Lanza. Two vehicles appeared on the set, while the other two were waiting in reserve. The version that was destroyed in the final scene was rebuilt by actor Dan Haggerty. The remaining three were stolen from stuntman Tex Hall by a group of armed attackers. Two Bultaco Pursang 250 motocross bikes also played in the “smuggling” sequences.

The value of a film is its soundtrack. Hooper was able to convince the biggest rock stars of the time to share their songs. So we hear, among others: Bob Dylan’s “It’s Okay Mama (I’m Just Bleeding)”, the Byrds’ “I Wasn’t Born to Follow” or Jimi Hendrix’s “If I Were 6 Years 9”.

“If six becomes nine… I don’t care. If all the hippies cut off all their hair… I don’t care. I have my own world to live in. I’m not going to imitate you.” “.

– Hendrix sang.

The film’s musical theme is “Born to Be Wild”, which became the biggest international hit for the little-known band Steppenwolf. Their song “The Pusher” was also used in the film.

The European premiere of “Easy Rider” took place on May 12, 1969, during the 22nd Cannes International Film Festival. The jury, chaired by Luchino Visconti, honored Hopper with the award for Best Debut Director. Several months later, the film was nominated for Academy Awards for Best Screenplay and Best Supporting Role for Nicholson. Film experts confirm that this was a turning point in his career. Rip Torn was originally supposed to play the lawyer, but the director changed his plans after an argument with the actor. Several months later, Bob Rafelson gave Nicholson the lead role in the four-time Oscar-nominated film “Five Easy Pieces” (1970). “Easy Rider” had its US premiere on July 14, 1969 in New York, and the low-budget production grossed $60 million.

“Easy Rider is one of the most iconic American feature films of the 1960s, and Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper became icons of road cinema.” Konrad Klejsa.

On May 15, 2019 – half a century after its world premiere in Cannes – the film was released after its 4K digital reconstruction. The film was shown in several hundred cinemas around the world.

Source: nielezna.pl, section

Republic TV


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