HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Stanford Prison Experiment, The
Assassination in Rome
Castle Freak
Pinocchio
Brother Bear
Raiders of Buddhist Kung Fu
County Lines
Polytechnique
We Have Always Lived in the Castle
Covert Action
Strangler's Web
Host
Nimic
House of Bamboo
Murder Me, Monster
Hell and High Water
Possessor
Flint
Miserables, Les
Ritz, The
Patrick
Cemetery
Girls of the Sun
Princess and the Goblin, The
Skyfire
Upright
Incredible Kung Fu Mission
Dirty Cops
You Cannot Kill David Arquette
Leap of Faith: William Friedkin on The Exorcist
Son's Room, The
Evil Hits Evil
Agency
Blue My Mind
Thumbelina
Proxima
Aprile
Assassination Nation
Golden Key, The
Image Book, The
   
 
Newest Articles
Newley Minted: The Strange World of Gurney Slade on Blu-ray
Bad Love: The Night Porter on Blu-ray
Brevity is the Soul of Weird: Short Sharp Shocks on Blu-ray
Get Your Ass to Mars: Total Recall on Blu-ray
Call the Professionals: Le Cercle Rouge on Blu-ray
When There's No More Room in Hell: Dawn of the Dead on Blu-ray
The Butterfly Effect: Mothra on Blu-ray
Living Room Theatre: Play for Today Volume 1 on Blu-ray
Didn't He Do Well: The Bruce Forsyth Show on DVD
Blood Wedding: The Bride with White Hair on Blu-ray
The Inhuman Element: The Ladykillers on 4K UHD
As You Like It, Baby: Breathless on Blu-ray
Stargazing: Light Entertainment Rarities on DVD
Down to the Welles: Orson Welles Great Mysteries Volume 2 on DVD
Herding Cats: Sleepwalkers on Blu-ray
Confessions of a Porn Star: Adult Material on DVD
They're Still Not Sure It is a Baby: Eraserhead on Blu-ray
Werewolves are Real: Dog Soldiers on Digital
Rose: A Love Story - Producers April Kelley and Sara Huxley Interview
Phone Phreak: 976-EVIL on Blu-ray
Living the Nightmare: Dementia on Blu-ray
Becky and The Devil to Pay: Ruckus and Lane Skye Interview
Big Top Bloodbath: Circus of Horrors on Blu-ray
A Knock on the Door at 4 O'clock in the Morning: The Strangers on Blu-ray
Wives of the Skies: Honey Lauren Interview
   
 
  Wanderers, The The Type Of Guys Who'll Never Settle Down
Year: 1979
Director: Philip Kaufman
Stars: Ken Wahl, John Friedrich, Karen Allen, Toni Kalem, Alan Rosenberg, Jim Youngs, Tony Ganios, Linda Manz, William Andrews, Erland van Lidth, Val Avery, Dolph Sweet, Michael Wright, Burtt Harris, Samm-Art Williams, Dion Albenese, Olympia Dukakis, Ken Foree
Genre: Comedy, DramaBuy from Amazon
Rating:  8 (from 1 vote)
Review: The Bronx, '63, and it looks like Richie (Ken Wahl) is finally about to realise his dream: going all the way with his girlfriend Despie (Toni Kalem) who up to this point has been keen to keep her reputation as a good girl, but Richie is being very persuasive as he holds her in an amorous embrace. Meanwhile, two members of his Italian-American gang The Wanderers are nearby, and Turkey (Alan Rosenberg) has shaved his head with a plan to switching his allegiance to the Fordham Baldies, who are led by the huge and aptly named Terror (Erland van Lidth). Turkey's pal Joey (John Friedrich) wonders what the hell he's thinking, and insults the gang out loud, which sees the two Wanderers chased through the streets - caling Richie!

This is a film that even back in 1979 was in the shadow of another effort that took on the subject of New York gangs, but aside from the violence they couldn't have been more different. The movie even today you have to explain is not what you're talking about when The Wanderers came up was The Warriors, a very serious, po-faced action thriller about made up gangs that had a slightly fantastical tinge, but this particular story took its inspiration from Richard Price's nostalgic novel of the same name, and was more a mix of comedy and drama. In fact, as well as a peerless and jovial attack on macho bullshit as exemplified by that more successful effort, it was a mixture of more than that, as throughout you never knew where the tone was heading, such was its picaresque nature.

This shifting quality was offputting to many, but for others that was what made it so compelling, never settling down: one minute it was getting big laughs, the next we were in tragedy, then romance reared its head, an action scene erupted, and there were even sequences which owed a lot to horror, specifically George A. Romero zombie movies (appropriately enough Ken Foree was cast in a bit part during one such fright setpiece). Director Philip Kaufman, no stranger to evoking times past in his filmography, adapted Price's book with his regular collaborator and wife Rose Kaufman, and ensured the whole experience was drenched in nostalgia, paying particular attention to the soundtrack of oldies - that tie-in record was much sought after by fans of the music of the era.

Obviously Dion's title track featured heavily, but the Kaufmans secured the rights to some of the finest American pop of the early sixties, making sure to set this just as the British Invasion was about to occur, though not quite yet. The year was significant, as one powerful scene illustrates when Richie (Kaufman discovery Ken Wahl should have been a bigger star in movies on this evidence) stumbles upon pedestrians crying in the street, then catches the news on a TV showroom window and realises what has happened as Ben E. King's Stand By Me starts up; it's the stuff of iconic cinema moments, yet now that song reminds viewers of the Rob Reiner film of the same name and The Wanderers, a better movie, is relegated to the select few cultists who could appreciate what a fine evocation of a lost innocence it managed to conjure up.

Though an ensemble cast were playing this out, Richie was really our main character, a young man for whom we understand these are the best years of his life and everything after this will never live up to that promise, because the world was off in a different direction. This could have been a portentous state of the nation as was narrative, but with its nimble dance around its various and multifaceted episodes it's as if we are seeing the place brought to life in such vivid colours that it never feels anything other than authentic, and even those parts where Kaufman seems to be stretching to include as much of the memories as he can (fancy catching Bob Dylan!) ring true as the film draws on everything from the personal, the day to day community, and the current affairs in the wider world, with admirable skill. Whether it was Karen Allen as the girl who got away getting a kick out of strip poker, the Baldies signing up for the Marines as a joke - only it's no joke, as their mascot (Linda Manz) twigs - or the dreaded Ducky Boys gang striking fear into the hearts of everyone, this was a largely too-unheralded cult classic.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2153 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Philip Kaufman  (1936 - )

Level-headed American writer and director who doesn't shy away from challenging material; after award-winning debut Goldstein, he offered superhero spoof Fearless Frank, but it was five years until his movie career really got off the ground. The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid was followed by The White Dawn and the script for The Outlaw Josey Wales, and a remake of Invasion of the Bodysnatchers was his first big hit. Then came The Wanderers, The Right Stuff, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, the controversial Henry & June, Rising Sun, Marquis de Sade drama Quills and thriller Twisted. He also contributed to the story of Raiders of the Lost Ark; considering his talent, it's surprising how few films he has directed.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Andrew Pragasam
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
  Lee Fiveash
  Mick Stewart
  Dsfgsdfg Dsgdsgsdg
   

 

Last Updated: