Written by: Carroll Jenkins on June 23rd, 2008
Release Date: USA, January 24th, 1973
Director: John Korty
Writer: Ellen M. Violett
Cast: William Shatner, Ruth Roman, Wendell Burton, Julie Adams, Andy Griffith, Ayn Ruymen, Mimi Saffian, Jennifer Edwards, Jamie Smith-Jackson, Danny Michael Mann, Frederick Herrick, Robert Carradine, Michael Morgan, Gary Marsh, Mackenzie Phillips
DVD released: July 18th, 2006
Approximate running time: 73 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Full Frame
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Jef Films
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $14.95
Synopsis: A teenage girl joins the “In” crowd and becomes a drug addict. The story claimed to be sourced from an actual diary but was later revealed to be purely fictional.
This truly hip movie is one of the greatest made-for-TV ever. Jamie Smith-Jackson does a fine job as the lead throughout the various phases of her character’s journey, but the performances by the supporting characters are its greatest asset. The stoner’s are lead by Robert Carradine (Pom Pom Girls) and Ayn Ruymen (Private Parts) with great gusto and conviction. Of course, they may have been ‘prepped’ for the occasion. Mackenzie Phillips appears briefly as a 13 year old hooker / junkie (!), and Charles Martin Smith (American Graffiti) has a bit as a nerdy user. The street wise priest is played convincingly by Andy Griffith, the mother by Julie Adams (Creature From The Black Lagoon), and the father in an appropriately understated performance by William Shatner (!!).
Yes, Captain Kirk seems totally misplaced and ridiculous in a black wig, fake mustache, and huge ‘geek’ glasses, as a college professor totally out-of-touch with the “now generation”. He doesn’t “get it” and doesn’t want to. The most emotion we get from Dad is during the hospital scene – he takes off his glasses to indicate how overcome he is. For perhaps the only occasion in his career William Shatner is guilty of under emoting and being overly subtle.
The story depicts Alice’s indoctrination into the ‘counter culture’, the dark under belly of the drug scene, and the repercussions after she tries to go straight. A little slow to start, the movie soon gets rolling and takes some unexpected and effective twists. Some events may be frightening or just over-the-top depending upon your state of mind. The soundtrack uses a great cover of White Rabbit for the title sequence and snips of Dear Mr. Fantasy as the music cue for tripping out [these songs originally by Great Society / Jefferson Airplane and Traffic].
What a bummer, man. Considering the obvious VHS source, it is watchable. No subtitles or closed captioning. The laughable extras consist of a gallery of screen caps.
Go Ask Alice is a cautionary tale that can be enjoyed on many levels and by many audiences. It is a well done and thought provoking glimpse at the teenage drug culture of the early seventies. Still relevant today and appropriate to show your children, a youth group, or to enjoy for its fine exploitation cast.