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Sunday, February 17, 2013
WILD ONES ON WHEELS (1962)
Little did I know that this film was another entry on auteur Ray Dennis Steckler's resume. But there he is, doing the cinematography and enjoying a co-starring role.
This one has a lot packed into it: sports cars, gangsters, psychotic punks, handicapped persons, undercover cops, desert locations, and Francine York (hubba hubba).
Basically it is the story of Duke Walker, a gangster who is being released from his 12-year incarceration, and is expected by everyone concerned to retrieve the stolen $240,000 (a pretty decent chunk of change in those days) he has hidden somewhere in the Mojave Desert. Another ex-con whom he had served with, hilariously named "King" Tutt, wants to take the stash away from the middle-aged Duke.
So King gets his little gang together, including Preacher (Steckler), a beatnik petty criminal with a crazy patois and a sports car he calls "Baby". Pompy and his girl friend, the sociopathic Jick, and Tutt's wife round out the double-crossing heel's crew.
Except for their fearless leader, all of them drive some sort of sports car. King favors a jeep. As a matter of fact, as the movie goes on, everybody ends up in a jeep(?).
Oh, and then there's Bill James, who was spying on Hazel (Francine York) for Tutt. Hazel is Duke's girl friend(!), and Bill has the hots for her. The whole group ends up traipsing all over the desert before finding the loot at an abandoned tungsten mill, and the final fight over the dough takes place.
There is at least one big surprise at the end, and a couple of deaths. The soundtrack sounds like an original scoring, and is actually not bad. The cinematography is quite good, too, for a low-budget production.
However, I don't know whether to blame Steckler or the editor for actually producing a print that includes the day-for-night lens being put on the camera for a night scene. That was really startling.
Another thing I note is that this may have been an "Adults Only" distribution, because when we first see Francine York she is topless with her back to the camera, but you can see the side of her breast as she is putting on her bra. The lady is "gifted". And she is not a bad actress by any stretch.
Most everybody in the production is competent in their acting skills. Steckler, actually billed with his real name rather than the more colorful "Cash Flagg", basically plays his beatnik self, and again gives the impression that he would be big fun to hang out with.
The user reviews at IMDb are not complimentary for the most part. I did not like the snobbery of these armchair critics. I enjoyed the pic and would have surely liked it as a Boomer Kid. You could do worse.
Buy it at Amazon.com
Posted by porfle at 8:59 PM