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Thursday July 18th 2024

Electra Glide In Blue| 1973

Cult biker/cop movie (the only movie from James William Guercio, the manager of rock band Chicago – he wrote the music for the film too), beautifully photographed by Conrad Hall (who had recently completed Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and went on to shoot American Beauty).

With the a sympathetic cop, John  Wintergreen (Robert Blake) as  lead character, taking aim at a still of Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda on the police firing range, the movie seems like a riposte to Easy Rider, and was roundly dismissed as ‘fascist’ at Cannes. Yet the police rejected the script and there was little, if any, help from the police department.

In the end, it was filmed largely guerilla-style, without permits, on the roads of Arizona around Phoenix and Carefree, to the north.

John demonstrates his integrity handing out a speeding ticket to the smooth LA detective on Cave Creek Road, south of East Carefree Highway, a couple of miles southwest of Carefree itself. The bar scene, after the cops hassle the hippies in the van, was filmed at Harold’s Cave Creek Corral, 6895 East Cave Creek Road, which is still going strong.

The ice cream truck, where John tries to chat up the two girls, is on Shea Boulevard Scenic Overlook, Fountain Hills, east of Scottsdale.

A few miles further east, Zipper (Billy Green Bush) plants dope on a hippy at North Bush Highway, east of Salt River.

The bike chase was a late addition, filmed months after  the film had wrapped, around Victorville in the Mojave Desert, California.

The famously haunting final shot, with the buttes and mesas of Monument Valley on the horizon, was filmed on US163 Scenic, about 20 miles north of Kayenta.