1971-1980CrimeDramaJames William GuercioUSA

James William Guercio – Electra Glide in Blue (1973)


The tension between a lonely policemen and the journeymen of the counter culture provides the subtext, and the stunning martian look of the Arizona mesa the backdrop, of a brilliant and influential debut feature by musician James William Guercio; the film is the missing link between The Searchers and No Country for Old Men. John Wintergreen is a diminutive motorcycle cop working the lonely highways of Arizona in the mid seventies. He works alone, but occasionally hooks up with his pal “Zipper”. Wintergreen is conscientious and friendly, whereas Zipper is bored and argumentative, often holing up off the highway to read comic books rather than out on the road . Wintergreen is a native american and has ambitions to be a detective. So when Zipper and Wintergreen find a delerious and disoriented elderly man wandering in the desert, the trail of how he got there leads back to a deserted shack. Inside is the body of a man who has committed suicide with a shotgun. Wintergreen airs his suspicions about the death, first to the coroner who is keen not to get involved, and then to Harve Poole, an Arizona detective. Harve believes John Wintergreen’s suspicions are right and takes him under his wing as his driver and protege.This seems like the break Wintergreen needs to leave the big Harley police bike behind and to walk tall as a detective, in fresh duds, boots and a stetson, dispensing wisdom. But tensions between the two mount over cocktail waitress Jolene ,and in differences of opinion over the murder, especially over some missing money, some hidden drugs and the suspected involvement of outlaw hippy bikers, whom Harve is keen to bust. Wintergreens own run-ins with the hippies on their way to and from California were mostly friendly. Some of his colleagues in the Highway Patrol, however, believe they are in a running battle with disrespectful, drug running, proto-terrorists. John is caught in the nexus of his loyalty to the police force, his ambitions to be detective, his companions distrust of the hippies, Harve’s domioneering style, Zippers recidivism, Jolenes manipulation, his sense of responsibility and his own easygoing natural empathy with the people he meets. Something has to give.



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