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Riot On Sunset Strip

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    Ian Jane
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  • Riot On Sunset Strip



    Released by: MGM Limited Edition Collection
    Released on: 6/27/2011

    Director: Arthur Dreifuss

    Cast: Aldo Ray, Mimsy Farmer, Hortense Petra, Schuyler Hayden

    Year: 1967

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    The Movie:


    Arthur Dreifuss' 1967 film produced for AIP tells the story of a young woman named Andy (Mimsy Farmer) who has just moved to town where she's started at a new school. Here she meets up with a few friends who are big into the Sunset Strip scene where they periodically smoke gross, drink booze, and rock out to whatever hip new band is tearing it up at local venue Pandora's Box. Unfortunately for Mimsey and her friends, the local business owners aren't at all stoked about the fact that the strip is being invaded night after night by longhairs and so they're putting pressure on the police to do something about it.


    The officer in charge of all of this is Lieutenant Walt Lorimer (Aldo Ray) who just so happens to be Andy's father, a man she hasn't seen or spoken to in the last four years since he split up with her alcoholic pink haired mother (Hortense Petra). Walt's not a bad guy and he doesn't want to come down too hard on the kids, who he sees as just out to have a bit of fun, but all of this changes when Andy takes a drink laced with LCD courtesy of bad boy Herbie (Schuyler Hayden) and winds up doing a bizarre dance routine and then having stoned sex with five dudes on the same night!


    Very nicely shot but way too heavy handed and goofy to take seriously, Riot On Sunset Strip is nevertheless a pretty entertaining way to kill an hour and a half (and maybe a few brain cells while you're at it!). So very painfully obviously a product of the late sixties, the film is a frequently unintentionally hilarious look at how 'the man' and 'the squares' had a pretty serious phobia of the 'longhairs' most of whom are interested in little more than peace and go-go dancing. Lots of odd sixties fashions are on display as is some pretty awesome garage rock that comes courtesy of some live performances from three different bands - The Enemies, The Standells (who hammer out the title song), and The Chocolate Watchband (whose singer seems bound and determined to do the best damn Mick Jagger impersonation he can!).


    Performance wise, Aldo Ray is a-okay in this role. He plays the concerned cop rather well here and comes across as a genuinely nice guy, something that doesn't always happen in some of his later films. We can buy him as both a cop and a father. Too bad the same can't be said for Farmer, who doesn't quite have the sex appeal she needs to turn heads the way she does in this picture, though she plays the 'good girl' type well enough early on. Her lengthy (read: padding) acid trip and the sexcapades that follow are screwy enough to entertain and the highlight of the film, as is her explanation when found out by her father that she did it simply because she was 'tired of being alone!' Banging five guys in a row will usually cure loneliness, that's for sure - so there's your moral, kids.


    Video/Audio/Extras:


    MGM's 1.85.1 anamorphic widescreen transfer of Riot On Sunset Strip is pretty good, showing very nice color reproduction and occasionally impressive detail. Skin tones look lifelike and natural and black levels are fine. Whatever print damage manages to creep onto the screen is minimal and never distracting, there's nothing to complain about here.


    The English soundtrack, presented in Dolby Digital Mono format, is clean and clear and free of any hiss or distortion. The musical bits sound very good here and pack some welcome punch, while dialogue stays well balanced and easy to follow.


    There are no extras, just a static menu with chapter stops.


    The Final Word:


    It's a shame there were no commentaries or interviews included on this release but at least the presentation is a good one. As to the movie itself? Riot On Sunset Strip holds up despite (or maybe because of?) it's heavy handed morality. It's certainly a time capsule of sorts, but as dated as it may be it's got loads of screwy charm and a pretty killer soundtrack too.






















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