Wild in the Streets (1968)

Article 2030 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 10-5-2006
Posting Date: 3-4-2007
Directed by Barry Shear
Featuring Shelley Winters, Christopher Jones, Diane Varsi

A politician, hoping to catch the youth vote, hooks up with a pop star to perform at his rallies and help in his plan to bring the voting age to eighteen. The pop star has ideas of his own, though, and he uses this connection as a springboard to to pursue his own agenda, which includes reducing the voting age to 14 as well as making that the minimum age for members of Congress and the Presidency. The pop star manages to get himself elected, and puts into effect some radical policies.

This paranoid foray into social science fiction is definitely a product of the late sixties. The premise is outlandish, but it’s a tribute to director Barry Shear and writer Robert Thom that they manage to concoct a storyline that (for the most part) makes the premise seem possible. It’s effective enough, and it helps that the music actually does feel authentic enough to pass muster; in fact, the signature song, “The Shape of Things to Come” is included on the “Nuggets” boxed set. Some of the satire is cuttingly incisive; just for example, I can appreciate the supreme irony that the singer gets elected on the Republican ticket, and the irony is not lost on the singer and his group either. A good cast sells the story as well; as well as the ones listed above, the movie features Hal Holbrook, Richard Pryor, Ed Begley, and in cameos, Melvin Belli, Dick Clark, Walter Winchell and others. Teen idol Bobby Sherman, Monkee Peter Tork, and child actor Bill Mumy also appear. This one is definitely interesting, though its dark irony is offset by its basic naivete. And given the premise, the ending was logical and inevitable.


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