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.