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The Wholesome Surreal Swing of Wild Guitar

Wild Guitar (1962) is part of a series of movies that Arch Hall, Sr. produced for his son, Arch Hall, Jr. It at once criticizes the nature of celebrity, but also attempts to capitalize on it. I can’t tell when it’s meant to be funny–or earnest, for that matter. Not knowing much about the production, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was marketed to drive-ins and church youth groups.

Not what you expect from a film at Nicholas Winding Refn’s website byNWR, where you can see this and other restored exploitation/drive-in/low-to-no budget films for free (once you set up an account). These movies are not for everyone, but for those who love this kind of filmmaking, it’s a thrill to see these in restored form.

Wild Guitar’s story seems based on Colonel Tom Parker’s relationship to Elvis. One of the things I like about byNWR is that every edition extends the movie experiences with all kinds of context about the film and other intersecting topics. I haven’t read through the section that features Wild Guitar yet, so I’m just not sure about the inspiration here, other than to make some drive-in dough.

It’s almost worth watching because of the names: Bud Eagle, Brains, Weasel, and–my favorite–Steak. The first one is not a nickname and it’s impossible to know if the others are.

Here’s one of my favorite sequences:

You could think of Wild Guitar as the Leland Palmer to A Face in the Crowd‘s BOB.

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Stephen McClurg

I like red peppers and Jan Švankmajer movies.

1. Current Listening: Lots of soul from Muscle Shoals

2. Current Viewing: A Hard Day's Night (1964).

3. Current Reading: H.G. Wells: In the Days of the Comet

2 replies

    1. Ha! I like MST, but I actually like the movies they show, so I rarely watch it anymore. I see something like Eegah, and I think, “Hmm, I want to see the unedited version of this with no jokes.”

      Manos: The Hands of Fate is something to behold. Every now and then, I go back and watch that horrible, little miracle of a film.

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