10,000 Bullets   Exploring the world of Cinema from the Arthouse to the Grindhouse™

Written by: on July 29th, 2012

Theatrical Release Date:
USA, 1977
Director: Joseph Ruben
Writers: Joseph Ruben, Peter Rainer
Cast: Desi Arnaz Jr., Robert Carradine, Melanie Griffith, Anne Lockhart, Tom Ligon

DVD released: August 24th, 2004
Approximate running time: 92 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 full frame & 1.85:1 letterboxed Widescreen
Rating: R
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
Subtitles: English
DVD Release: MGM
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $14.98

Synopsis: Two guys and a girl are sick of the blue collar grind and hit the road for Alaska with little more than a whim between them.

Director Joseph Ruben had previously helmed two Crown International cheapies including The Pom Pom Girls with Robert Carradine. Bobby had just appeared in a low budget independent film with art house leanings that has for some years been recognized as a classic of it’s kind [by those able to see it] – Massacre At Central High. Even so, his part was fun but a rather small supporting role. Here he shares the screen with Dezi Arnaz, Jr. and Melanie Griffith, and easily carries the picture up until the moment Anne Lockhart appears and effortlessly steals every scene she’s in.

Even before you ever laid eyes on Anne she was familiar, as her mother June was Timmy’s mom in Lassie, and Mrs. Robinson (not THAT Mrs. Robinson) on Lost In Space. She has a Barbara Steele mystique about her, especially as she plays an enigmatic and opportunistic character that has some heart but no scruples.

Actually, there’s not a character in the entire film that has any sort of morality, ethics, or even humanity. Oh, except for one blatant and unexpected (also irrational and unexplainable) fit of internal fortitude that sends the plot careening in an entirely new direction. These carom shots are quite frequent and the rapid-fire scenarios cover enough distance for 3 or 4 AIP road trip movies.  It’s got car chases, violence, crime, binge drinking, and nudity. So how can it seem so slow?

It does have a real, actual starring role for Robert Carradine. It has several nude scenes for Melanie, but she’s really still just a girl (check her out in Something Wild to see her strut her stuff). The highlight of the film is the nude foursome hot tub party, where Annle Lockhart appears topless. She was grown up.

The DVD:

This is an old flipper disc: fullscreen on one side and non-anamorphic letterboxed widescreen on the other. Even the trailer is presented in both aspects. Both sides do have English subtitles, and the source print is rather impressive – just compare it to the trailer. There is enough nudity, sexual situations, strong violence, and coarse language to indicate an uncut presentation. The original score by ELO was crudely replaced on prior home video incarnations but is intact here.

This is a low budget movie attempting to be a classic breakthrough smash hit in the mold of Easy Rider. Just the inclusion of the almost cult group ELO (Electric Light Orchestra) to provide the soundtrack is evidence that the film does have both purpose and objective – it’s just mostly behind the scenes. There is so much packed into this ambitious film about ambivalence, that it must be viewed multiple times to fully appreciate – if you can stay awake as it wanders on about its way.

Note: Currently available in DVD dump bins, don’t let the non-anamorphic print stop you from a unique experience and a worthwhile purchase.

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