Some machines are more than most men can handle!
The Hard Ride (1971)
Tuesday, July 5th 9pm
Otto’s Shrunken Head
538 E. 14th street (A & B)
This week’s tale of a fallen Vietnam soldier returned home to be laid to rest by his old biker gang was written, directed and produced by Burt Topper, who also produced such vehicular flicks as Fireball 500 (1966), Thunder Alley (1967), Devil’s Angels (1967), and The Devil’s 8 (1969), as well as writing (as Burton Topper) a Cine Meccanica favorite, The Wild Ride (1960) starring Jack Nicholson.
Guess you’ll be going home, huh?
A gang rides through the desert. Swing Low Sweet Chariot (Bill Medley) plays as they roll slow towards the titles. Lenny, riding two-up on his buddy’s chopper seems wistful and far away. A moment later, at an air force base, it seems that Lenny was indeed being transported by his buddy Phil (Robert Fuller), but not on a joy ride, as in the flashback, but instead in a coffin, back from Vietnam.
Maybe you’ll fall in love with Baby and take up with Big Red and the guys. That’d be Groovy.
Phil’s post Vietnam mission is to find Lenny’s girl Sheryl (Sherry Bain), his old gang, and Baby. Big Tom, the preacher who raised Lenny at the orphanage tells him where to find Sheryl and takes him to Baby…a long rake, springer front, triple headlighted crazy ass custom chopper. Phil hasn’t been on the anything bigger than a dirt bike in years but luckily Rev. Big Tom who’d been taking Baby out for a spin every Sunday since Lenny’s been gone sets him up. “First gear is down, the rest are up” and sends him on his way.
Hey, look at that front end!
The broad or the bike?
Phil finds Sheryl working at a roadside dive. She sees a bit of Lenny in Phil and she did always love that bike, so they hit the road together to find Big Red & Co, Lenny’s old gang who he wanted at his funeral, but not before being hassled by a bunch of bikers who recognize Lenny’s old bike…and his old lady.
Out in the desert, they find Grady and his gang, who want the chopper and don’t plan on taking no for an answer. Of course, they also didn’t plan on a tough as nails marine, and Phil and Sheryl escape.
Sheryl sees a bit of Lenny in Phil and takes him to all the places they used to go, and they start to fall for each other. Of course along the way, they get hassled by the coppers, kids looking for grass, and Lenny’s old gang who wants the chopper and the chick (who’d be turned out as a mamma when Lenny left and Red got tired of her) back.
They’re looking for a big, wild marine man
The gang is after them, but they track Red to his whorehouse first, where they fight. Vietnam sounds flash during the scuffle.
Beat up bad, Red gives in and says he can keep Sheryl. Lenny didn’t know Sheryl had been turned out while he was away, but a promise is a promise and his last wishes were that Red and the gang be at the funeral, so Phil gives Red Baby’s pink slip as a bribe to get him to come to the funeral where he promises to deliver the bike and then split town for good.
A few fights, sprawling highway rides and makeout scenes later, the best friend, old lady, gang, preacher, and chopper are all convened in the graveyard for the funeral, just as Lenny asked.
Swing Low Sweet Chariot plays over the credits
I think I’m getting hung up and I don’t wanna be
The Hard Ride, Motion picture soundtrack. Music Composed By Harley Hatcher. The soundtrack was also featured in Hell Ride (2008)
1. Swing Low Sweet Chariot [Bill Medley]
2. I Came A Long Way To Be With You [Thelma Camacho]
3. Fallin’ In Love With Baby [Junction]
4. Another Kind Of War [Bluewater]
5. Be Nobody’s Fool (Bluewater)
6. Let The Music Play [Bluewater]
7. Where Am I Going Today [Bob Moline]
8. Carry Me Home [Thelma Camacho]
9. The Hard Ride [The Sounds Of Harley]
10. Victorville Blues [The Sounds Of Harley]
11. Shannon’s Hook Shop [Bluewater]
12. Love Theme From The Hard Ride [Bob Moline]