AN EASY RIDE
DVD region 0. Odeon.
one hitch-hikes these days, what with a rapist round every corner
and a paedophile behind every bush, but in the 1970's it was the
coolest way to get around, as any film of the era would tell you.
Mini-skirted dolly birds were forever clambering into cabs with
leering lorry drivers, driving the lecherous old devil wild with
excitement by crossing their booted legs and flashing their knickers.
I know this to be true because such a scene appears in Take
an Easy Ride, and the documentary approach of the film
gives it an air of credibility that I for one am happy to accept
as completely true.
in 1974, Take an Easy Ride began as a grim-faced
TV docudrama shot under the influence of Ken Loach and ended up
as a sleazy exploitation film that played sex cinemas for years.
As you might expect, it's pretty schizophrenic stuff, veering
from po-faced interviews with hitch-hikers and hippies discussing
their experiences to archetypal softcore fumbling, all packed
into 40 minutes.
no plot as such - instead, we are presented with a variety of
hitch-hiking vignettes, which are intercut throughout the film.
Two girls hitch their way to a pop festival, only to be picked
up by a faceless man who we've earlier seen reading a porn magazine
whilst wearing leather driving gloves - so you know he's
a wrong 'un! Also spliced in here for no immediately obvious reason,
is vintage footage of Soho - a sex cinema showing Love
Under 17 (a title you're unlikely to see again), sex
shops and a bored-looking stripper provide vintage chuckles and
a brief respite from the hitch-hiking. Of course, this particular
adventure ends badly - both girls are raped and left for dead,
leading to a particularly - though unintentionally - hilarious
pay-off in a hospital later. I won't spoil it for you.
two girls are picked up by the aforementioned old lech, in a sequence
that goes nowhere, while - to give the other side of the dangers
involved with hitch-hiking - a helpful driver gives a lift to
two doped-up harridans who we first see stealing cash and a knife
from a shop. This also ends badly.
sexiness is almost entirely confined to one sequence, clearly
the one crowbarred in when the film moved from melodrama to sexploitation.
A Scandinavian bit of cardboard is picked up by a helpful couple
in a Rolls, who wine and dine her before 'forcing' her into a
clumsy threesome, shot with all the erotic panache you would expect
from a British sex film - ie none whatsoever. This sequence too
has a killer final line, so don't nod off.
an Easy Ride is entertaining stuff, though even at 40
minutes, it sometimes drags. Simon Sheridan, in his sleeve notes,
calls it "Britain's most astonishing exploitation film",
which suggests he hasn't seen as many British exploitation films
as he'd like you to think, but as a squalid slice of Seventies
sleaze, this is worth checking out. And this version is probably
the best the film has ever looked!
DVD also features the unseen pilot for an aborted TV series, Go
Girl, which is an interesting failure. Telling the story
of a go-go dancer caught up in some vague sort of criminal intrigue,
the show aims for a comic-book feel, complete with animated links
between scenes - unfortunately, the animation is rubbish and the
live action too gritty looking to work. But Luan Peters - better
known for the likes of Lust for a Vampire - makes
an appealing lead, and Francoise
Pascal looks impossibly cute in a supporting role.
rest of the disc features a badly made featurette with director
Ken Rowles, and trailers for Odeons's other Brit Smut releases.
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