DENNIS SCHWARTZ 
IS THERE ANY GOOD 
IN SAYING 
EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?

 
GLEN AND RANDA (director/writer: Jim McBride; screenwriters: Lorenzo Mans/Rudolph Wurlitzer; cinematographer: Alan Raymond; editors: Jack Baran/Mike Levine; cast: Steven Curry (Glen), Shelley Plimpton (Randa), Woodrow Chamblis (Sidney Miller), Garry Goodrow (Magician); Runtime: 94; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Sidney Glazier; VCI Entertainment; 1971)

 
"A doozie of an American original indie SF flick."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Underground filmmaker Jim McBride's ("David Holzman's Diary"/"Great Balls of Fire"/"The Big Easy") first commercial venture, before going Hollywood, is a doozie of an American original indie SF flick. It's written by Lorenzo Mans, Rudolph Wurlitzer and McBride. Initially receiving an X rating because of the Adam and Eve nudity of the leads, causing it to fall into obscurity, it now has been released on DVD and has thereby gained a healthy cult following. 

It features two childlike twentysomethings, the curious Glen (Steven Curry) and the self-satisfied Randa (Shelley Plimpton), living a primitive life in a make-shift community, in the desolate hills of Idaho, in a post-apocalyptic period, where most of the world has been destroyed by an atomic blast some 25 years earlier. The innocents stumble around trying to survive in the ruins of a vanished civilization of no more Broadway, Mick Jagger, Safeways, Howard Johnsons, cars and televisions. A hustling traveling salesman/magician (Garry Goodrow), from the Bronx, arrives in their small spaced-out community with a trailer filled with housewares to sell, and Glen gets a map from him and tries to locate the city he read about in Wonder Woman comics. Glen convinces Randa to leave their safe haven for the lure of the city, which he calls Metropolis (from the Superman comics), even if the magician truthfully tells the innocents that probably all the cities have been destroyed. The trek on foot to the city, in their search for the Holy Grail, has them eating bugs and using their last remaining matches to stay warm in the hills of Idaho. They eventually encounter a gentle elderly fisherman (Woodrow Chambliss), living some ten miles outside of Boise, who hasn't seen anyone in 20 years. He gives the couple shelter in his rundown trailer and tells them stories about long ago, and when it's discovered that Randa is pregnant helps deliver the child but can't save the mother. 

McBride's provocative but unenlightening film focuses on the mundane things of survival, such as how man lives as a primitive, forages for food, faces tragedy and imposes his will on nature--even when forced to start over and re-learn all the knowledge that was lost. In interviews, McBride mentions that he and the cast were mostly stoned while shooting the film--which might explain its dreamlike relaxed look and how it makes little attempt to be coherent, instead becoming evocative in telling about the ignorant dealing with ignorance when civilization is lost.

REVIEWED ON 12/29/2009       GRADE: B

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"

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