I’m not saying that all movies should have William Smith in them, but I kind of am. This was the 17th highest grossing film in 1969, which sounds like hyperbole but I’d like it to be true. It also has a Tammy Wynette soundtrack, which is another way into my heart.
Smith plays Angel, a motorcycle gang member who sells the real story of what it’s like on the inside to a magazine for ten grand — about $70,000 today — and earns the anger of every biker in the world. The word gets out — Angel is to be killed.
Unlike most biker films where the hero gets worse and worse, Angel actually finds a sheep farmer who gives him a brief moment to live a normal life off the road. Unfortunately, the gangs are never far behind.
Director Jack Starrett does some amazing things in this, like some incredibly dangerous shots of the gang on the road, shooting them with a camera that moves from biker to biker in the days before when a drone would make such a shot simple. He’s also gone wild with multiple split screens and dropped out audio and made this a living, breathing comic book.
Starrett’s wife Valerie plays Angel’s old lady, while Dan Kemp plays the kind rancher and Margaret Markov is his probably doomed daughter. Markov lights up the screen in plenty of Corman-era movies like The Arena, Black Mama White Mama and The Hot Box.
I had a blast with this movie. It’s filled with drama and shot in a way that you totally won’t expect. Watch it and let me know what you think.
You can watch this on Tubi.