|AG features classic cars.|
CRUISIN’ FOR LOVE
A low budget movie featuring a quaint early 1960s California mating ritual, cruising Main Street, with no name actors and a freshman director/film editor was an unlikely candidate for box office records. The 1972 musical “American Graffiti” at a cost of $750,000 defied all odds and reaped $55 million for Universal Pictures and Lucas Films.
The premise for the movie seemed weak: Teens cruising downtown in classic cars while in real life young people were demonstrating against the Vietnam War. Also, the featured musical act, “Flash Cadillac and the Continental Kids,” was mediocre at best. Was it escapism for a war weary public or Universal’s promotions that connected people to “American Graffiti”? Maybe it was excellent entertainment.
My Los Angeles roommate John Miller in 1963 enthusiastically recalled kids cruising downtown Ontario, Calif., and that was 10 years before AG was released.
On my recently purchased new VHS tape, the interviews at the end of the film with George Lucas, Ron Howard and others is worth the 60 cents I paid for the tape.
Lucas broke ground with a documentary rather than a tiresome teen comedy with a weak plot. Cinema photographer Wexler deserves much credit as well.
Compare it to the 1956 “Rock Rock Rock” with Tuesday Weld and Alan Freed with has an annoying sitcom type plot. See this one for the scene in the night club with the starburst chandelier similar to the light fixtures rescued from the Terrace Theatre before it was demolished.