Review: Electra Glide in Blue (1973)

In this flip-side to the ’70s-era disaffected road movie, Robert Blake is outstanding as a vertically challenged Arizona motorcycle cop who aims to wear the Stetson, boots and badge of a detective.

This character-driven crime drama could be described as Easy Rider meets the TV show Chips. Ernest cop John Wintergreen (Blake) gets his shot at becoming a homicide detective when an old man’s suicide is ruled a murder. A pompous detective takes the deferential Wintergreen under his wing, while John’s partner Zipper can’t understand why he’d want to give up such a great gig, riding bikes and roughing up hippies along the way.

I especially enjoyed the performances and the way filmmakers toyed with my expectations of these characters. Eccentric characters, terrific Monument Valley location photography by Conrad Hall, and unexpected moments of humor accent this vivid evocation of a certain ’70s sensibility. [**** out of 5]

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