Enjoy THE FIRST Throwback Thursday with Mildred!
Long ago, in an awkward, funky galaxy far far away in rural Pennsylvania, lived a bunch of itinerant biker knights. If you haven’t already done so, I urge you to check out George Romero’s early movies, especially this one. Yes, that guy. The one who changed our society with his cheap as dirt black and white movie and created a new monster (no mean feat – you try it some time).
The pitch for this movie would be, “Society for Creative Anachronism – on motorcycles”. A young, hot Ed Harris stars in one of his early films as The King of an itinerant band of…well, I’m not sure what to call this group, really. Some make and sell crafts, others food. There are troubadours, jesters, a monk, a mystic. Best of all, there are knights who tourney for the curious public, complete with homemade armor and wood lances. Watch for a moronic Stephen King and wife Tabitha, as well as young actors Patricia Tallman, Tom Savini, Martin Ferrero, Ken Foree, and Gary Lahti.
There is a schism in the kingdom between those who believe and those who do not, exacerbated by local police harassment and a sudden influx of big money. All manner of sexuality is explored in large sub-plots (and at nearly three hours there’s plenty of time for it). There is a conflicted young man who falls for a studly jester, a kickass knight and her wife, a mixed race couple, an abusive relationship, an age conflicted couple, a one-night-stand, group sex, infidelity, true love. You name it, they got it. The bigger story, though, is about what you believe in and what you will do for that belief.
Oddly, for a movie that is strongly sympathetic of gay characters waaaay before it was cool to do so, it does not do terribly well in the Bechdel Test or the Racial Bechdel Test, with maybe a 1.5 and a 1. The women don’t often speak to each other, but they do hold power and speak with the men with authority. And there are several African American characters but I can’t remember them ever talking to each other. As with the women characters, though, they have authority and speak as equals.
Beyond the unusual story line, the film has a beautiful mystical quality in its appearance, music and messages. There are several emotionally wrenching scenes that make me cry every time I watch this movie as well as some hold-your-breath action.
Having been released a few years ago on DVD it’s a lot easier to find that it used to be and I highly recommend you find it.