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Wild Guitar / The Choppers
Wild Guitar / The Choppers
Actors: Carolyn Brandt, Virginia Broderick, Robert Crumb (II), Nancy Czar, Marie Denn
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Cult Movies
NR     2002     2hr 24min

"Wild Guitar" (1962, 88 min.) - Hick hipster Bud Eagle arrives in L.A. just in time to stumble onto a TV talent show where he and his Wild Guitar become an immediate sensation. He's quickly signed by Mike McCauley, "the bi...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Carolyn Brandt, Virginia Broderick, Robert Crumb (II), Nancy Czar, Marie Denn
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Cult Movies
Sub-Genres: Classics, Love & Romance, Cult Movies
Studio: Image Entertainment
Format: DVD - Black and White,Color,Full Screen
DVD Release Date: 03/12/2002
Original Release Date: 11/30/1961
Theatrical Release Date: 11/30/1961
Release Year: 2002
Run Time: 2hr 24min
Screens: Black and White,Color,Full Screen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 3
Edition: Special Edition
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Beautiful prints highlight solid Arch Hall Jr. two-fer
Surfink | Racine, WI | 07/31/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I admit it. After buying Allday's terrific The Sadist DVD last year, and then Eegah!, I have been sucked into the Arch Hall Jr. cult. This Something Weird DVD combines his first movie (The Choppers) and third (after Eegah!) on one disc, and while neither is as good as The Sadist or as bad as Eegah!, fans of Hall or campy early-1960s cheapies in general should be delighted with this set. Written and produced by Arch Hall Sr. (who also plays a crusading reporter and narrates Dragnet-style), The Choppers is a kind of "JD RFD" flick, concerning a gang of car-stripping teens operating out of a poultry delivery truck. Arch Jr. plays Cruiser (he "likes pretty girls and ready cash"), who functions as lookout for the "choppers" in his awesome street rod. The kids, who fence their stolen parts to nasty, slimy Bruno VeSota, owner of Big Deal Auto Salvage, have cool nicknames (Torch, Flip), talk in hipster slang, cruise the local Chick-a-Dilly in some very custom wheels, and come from generally messed-up backgrounds (Cruiser's dad was machine-gunned in WWII as he attempted to parachute to safety; Torch fronts booze money to his loser alcoholic parents). The juvenile leads are actually pretty competent, though William Shaw as Lt. Fleming should take some sort of prize for his incredibly wooden performance. There is some bad low comedy involving the two cops and an amusing scene where the choppers strip their unmarked car while they have lunch. Knockout Playboy playmate Marianne Gaba, as Officer Jenks' girlfriend Liz, always seems to be just hanging around looking luscious and whining alot. Three Arch Hall Jr. compositions, including "Konga Joe" and "Monkey in My Hatband" (!?) are heard on the soundtrack (he listens to himself on his car radio) as well as some fairly decent jazzy "JD" cues. It all winds up in a surprisingly violent (for the time) standoff with the heat at the scrapyard. While a bit lighter in tone than my favorite JD stuff (Beat Generation, Teenage Doll, Night of Evil), The Choppers still delivers an hour of solid entertainment for most any JD or hot rod movie fan. (Note: Vilmos Zsigmond shot some 2nd unit on this one, apparently warming up for The Sadist.)
Wild Guitar presents the story of Bud Eagle, small-town hick and aspiring pop star with a towering blonde pompadour, who travels to L.A., guitar in hand, where he meets pretty go-go dancer Vickie (Nancy Czar) at a greasy spoon. She immediately lands him a slot on a live rock'n'roll TV show, and Bud becomes an instant sensation (dig that cheesy "raining Monopoly money" montage). He's soon being managed by scummy hardball shyster agent Mike McCauley (played a little TOO convincingly by dad Arch Sr.), who sets him up with a swank apartment and new guitar but breaks up Vickie and Bud and proceeds to manipulate and cheat him at every turn. (There's a twang in Arch Sr.'s voice that reminds me of Stuart Lancaster as the lecherous Old Man in Faster Pussycat.) First-time director Ray Dennis Steckler is memorable as McCauley's creepy henchman Steak, Arch Jr.'s musical interludes (especially "Vickie") will send your cringe-o-meter off the scale, and Vickie's big go-go dance number simply oozes camp. The occasional doses of whitebread corn (e.g. the ice skating sequence) and terrible "comedy" involving some lowlife extortionist kidnappers are thankfully offset by some mild flirtations with sleaze (the hiring of Daisy the hooker; McCauley and Steak's general ickiness). There's even a "whirling camera while they dance and kiss" scene like in Carrie (could DePalma be an Arch Hall Jr. fan??), and the ending where Bud forgives McCauley will make you want to pull your hair out. To be sure, this is NOT a Good Movie (remember, these are the people behind Eegah!), but it's probably a more realistic portrayal of the phoniness, backstabbing, payola, and general crookedness of the music industry than your typical Elvis flick and easily as entertaining if not more so. Highly recommended for bad movie aficionados.
The "Special Edition" extras are moderately entertaining, with the trailer collection (The Choppers, Wild Guitar, Rat Fink, The Beatniks, Wild Ones on Wheels, Married Too Young, Teenage Zombies) the highlight (although the trailer for Wild Love seems totally out of place here). There are two odd but only faintly amusing Dance Craze and Twist Craze shorts, and Hot Car, an informative if somewhat dry 1958 30-minute Police Science Foundation training film, concerned with identifying stolen cars and apprehending car thieves. The value of the extras is dampened tremendously by Something Weird's usual practice of sticking their big ugly logo down in the corner of the screen.
The good news is that this DVD is all about the feature presentations and they both look absolutely stunning. Based on other SW discs I've purchased, my hopes for this one were not high, but I have to admit they have delivered virtually pristine prints for both Wild Guitar and The Choppers. Wild Guitar is perhaps a bit crisper and cleaner, but both exhibit excellent black level, tonal values, shadow/highlight detail, and sharpness throughout. There is some very light speckling apparent on both, but that's it! No jump cuts, no lining, no nothing; you won't have to worry about upgrading from these babies. If the extras had not the stinking logos on them this would be a five-star disc."
The DVD release of the month!
Laughing Gravy | Sacramento, CA United States | 02/26/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Arch Hall, Jr. appeared in a handful of films in the early 1960s, mostly working for his father, and this DVD presents two of his best. "Best" being a relative term, of course. Arch couldn't act, couldn't sing, and had a face like a pudgy spider monkey, but MAN were his films memorable. He's a favorite around our house.In THE CHOPPERS (Arch's film debut), Arch and his gang (including the grandson of Charles "Ming the Merciless" Middleton) vandalize autos and sing such classics as "Monkey in my Hatband" and "Koko Joe". In WILD GUITAR, Arch is Bud Eagle, rock & roll singer, in a rags to riches story. Songs include "Valerie" (not the one by the Monkees) and the unforgettable "Twist Fever", sung on the beach. Watch Arch skipping along the sand, trying to emulate Chuck Berry's duck walk; it's one of the great moments in bad screen history. Also look for the DVDs of EEGAH! and THE SADIST, and hopefully somebody'll give us NASTY RABBIT and DEADWOOD '76, Arch's other pictures, plus a CD of Arch's song stylings (I cobbled together my own from the movies' soundtracks). Mr. Hall, wherever you are, please know that your fans love you!"
Double feature, double review!
The Patriarch | 08/03/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Hey there, Patriarch here. On this disc we get not just one, but two Arch Hall Jr. movies. Don't pinch me because if I'm dreaming, I don't want to wake up! I'm pushing play now, so without further ado...

Lights, Action, Camera!.....!

(That extra exclamation was because this is a double feature.)

Alright, this is the opening to Wild Guitar and Archie, is riding his motorcycle around. Now the thing about Archie is...he is very strange looking. I'm not trying to put him down, he may be reading this(gimmie some fan-mail if you are Archie!) I don't know if he is ugly or not, I'm a dude after all, but he just looks...strange. Alright he's at Hollywood and vine and Roman's Chinese theatre or something. Awesome shot on location.

Directed by Ray Dennis Steckler. Now that's what I want to see when I'm starting a movie. Now this girl, she plays Archie's love interest, and she's weird looking too! She is pretty, don't get me wrong, just weird looking is all. So they are already a great couple.

Coffee and donut 15 cents. I just realized that your's truly's keyboard does not have a 'cents' sign. I will be sending back this lapped-top. The Review! What the heck am I thinking? Ok. We didn't miss much they were debating a gasoline tax or something. Alright, now like 15 people just said "Spearfish." One after another. This is strange. The girl is looking up at like five feet above her when she speaks to him. He's not a giant! Eegah is the movie that has the giant!

Now he's singing a song and Vicki, his new gal, is looking at him like a confused bird. And what do we have here? Ray Dennis Steckler, in his role as Steak. This movie has it all! Now Archie's like got a record contract and his dad, not his movie dad, his real dad in the role of his manager, is taking advantage of him. Now they're telling him he can't see Vicki, but they've fallen in love already. He decides money is more important then Vicki.

Weird Vicki is now crestfallen because Archie never shows. Archie is playing another song now. Steak is like burning his finger with a lighter. Steak is easily amused. Now Archie is a huge Elvis-like star and Vicki watches him on TV all the time because she still loves him. But now Archie is singing a song about Vicki, to Vicki. This means he still loves her too. What's a gal to do? She runs down to the station where he is being recored. This is cool because Vicki runs like a girl, this is proper because she is a girl after all. If I was a girl I would run like that. But the Patriarch is a dude and therefore has a manly swagger. Uh-oh off track again.

They are reunited. But now that the truth is out about Archie's crooked manager, there is going to be a climax. Not before some romantic-antics(TM) The two ice skate and Archie falls all over the place. The gal that plays Vicki was actually an Olympic figure skater so she is AWESOME. She has nice legs too.

Ok, you don't want the whole movie spoiled for you so that takes care of that. Now onto review #2. The Patriarch doesn't care for the Choppers as much as he does for Wild Guitar, but it is still pretty good and the thrilling climax had your's truly on the edge of his seat. This is like a race-car vandals run from the cops kind of movie. Starring, Arch Hall Jr!

The Choppers are like a gang that dismantles abandoned desert cars and sells the parts. Also, this is Archie's first movie so watch it just because of that. Now this gang is like really professional. They use walkie-talkies and have this whole system worked out. Watching this movie makes me scared. What if someone did this to the Patriarch's Jeep!?

So things are going great for this gang. They are making all kinds of money and hitting on girls. They start flubbing up when Archie falls in love and the cops find them out and things don't go well.

Also included in this disc are some extras. Like drive in movie stuff. You really have to see this one trailer for an Italian movie: Wild Love. You really really have to see Dance Craze. A short subject about well The Twist mostly. It is so random and surreal. Just check it out. It was produced and directed by Bill Rebane. It has the most wild Charleston dance scene. Now the Charleston is the most AWESOME dance ever created and therefore the Patriarch deems it to be the only suitable dance for members of his cHURCH. It is so cool because the gals are swinging thier hips and kicking real high and they do this hunched-over-running-in-place thing that you just gotta see!

Ok Patriarch signing off. I'm doing the Charleston now.