The Trip (1967)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BB.  

USA, 1967.  .  Screenplay by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .

Watching other people do drugs while you stay sober is boring, and trying get around this by using kaleidoscope effects and painting far-out colours on womens’ breasts turns out not to be a very effective cure for that boredom.  is gorgeous as a very sad husband whose wife (an underused ) has served him divorce papers and put him in a funk.  His buddies and suggest dropping acid as a necessary next step towards healing (because it’s 1967), and the majority of the film, one in which someone says “groovy” every two minutes, is spent watching him deal with the effects of the drug.  As with most Roger Corman features, it accomplishes quite a striking look on a very low budget, even the most dated flower-power costumes and sets are bright and colourful, but an actor as charismatic as Fonda can only be so entertaining when he spends most of his time on screen staring into the middle distance.  It’s a film that captures its time and place beautifully, a pre-cursor to the more compelling madness of Easy Rider, but its culture couldn’t be more foreign to modern day sensibilities if it took place on the moon.  That it stresses a negative view of Fonda’s experience, maintaining his perspective of having a bad time and never really fully understanding why, gives the film a conservative tone more in line with a Nancy Reagan campaign than the kind of youthful rebellion that is produced (reportedly the result of producers taking over Corman’s edit against his will).  Written by Jack Nicholson and based on his own experiences trying LSD while dealing with his own divorce, the film’s pre-production reportedly involved Corman and his cast trying the drug to prepare for shooting.

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