Sunday, August 30, 2009

EASY RIDER 1969 (Motorcycle Movies Part V)

Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, and Terry Southern wrote the film, with 31-year old Hopper making his directorial debut for which he received the Best Film by a New Director award at the Cannes Film Festival in 1969. Fonda (also producing) stars with Hopper as the two anti-heroes of the piece, Billy and Wyatt. The film is also notable for a breakthrough performance by Jack Nicholson as lawyer George Hanson, a role which earned him the first of many Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations.The film was produced for under $400,000 and was extremely successful at the box-office, breaking in a fresh wave of independent films known as ‘New Hollywood’, much like Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs would do 25 years later. It struck a chord with the alternative youth culture market on which the movie was based, with a pulsating rock ‘n’ roll soundtrack the likes of which had never been attached to film. Easy Rider would also break with many other Hollywood traditions, employing jump-cuts and flash forward transitions, uneven pacing and an improvisational style of acting and dialogue that includes in particular some of Jack Nicholson’s most memorable work.

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