Saturday, March 16, 2013

Then Came Bronson (1969)

Director: William A. Graham

Starring: Michael Parks, Bonnie Bedelia, Akim Tamiroff, Gary Merrill, Sheree North, Martin Sheen, Bert Freed, Bruce Mars, Ted Gehring, Michael Bell, Gene Dynarski, Peter Brocco, Stanley Schneider, Stu Klitsner

More info: IMDb

Plot: A Harley Roadster, a bedroll, a lonely stretch of highway: Jim Bronson (Parks) is traveling where the road and the day take him, trying to make sense of things after the suicide of his close friend. He doesn't go far along a magnificent stretch of California's coastal Big Sur before he meets Temple Brooks (Bedelia), a runway bride just as adrift as Jim is. Together, they'll ride that Harley all the way to New Orleans. Together, they might find what they're looking for.

My rating: 7/10

Will I watch it again? No.

This is the pilot for a one season, 26 episode TV series although I'm curious as to how there's nudity in this (maybe they were considering releasing the pilot to theaters?  or maybe the director or producer wanted to see Bonnie Bedelia topless.)  It's pretty good.  It's more drama/unconventional romance than anything else so don't expect a biker flick or any action.  Bronson (Parks) throws a punch at one guy and that's it.  It's all about freedom and exploration from without and within.  Parks does a fine job as does Bedelia.  Akim Tamiroff has an extended sequence as Bronson's artistic father living in the desert with his motherless children.  He's the most restrained I've ever seen him.  He's usually over the top and annoying as hell but not so much here.  The ending has a somewhat tragic, cynical ending but not really.  He's got to survive another 26 episodes, right?

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