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The Fastest Guitar Alive (1967).

January 25, 2007

The Scoop:
Once upon a time, Roy Orbison wanted to have the same movie career Elvis Presley had. Fortunately, the only remaining evidence of that misguided thinking is this silly little contraption.

Orbison (looking lost without his trademark dark glasses) plays a Confederate spy trying to steal some Union gold in the last days of the Civil War with the help of a sidekick (who gets more screen time than him) and a bevy of chorus girls. While he may be a legendary singer (which he proves by performing eight songs here, all but one of which are excellent), he was a lousy actor. The only reason Orbison got this part is because Elvis turned down the script. Orbison had to (very obviously) read all his lines off of cue cards, and what little performance he gives looks like it was bolstered in post-production. Even aside from this, the movie doesn’t fare too well — dumb jokes, inept dancing and racist Native American stereotypes. Good for curiosity value and a hearty laugh, but that’s about it.

Best Lines:
1) “Men are so stupid! When a woman wants something from a man, she makes love to him. When a man wants something from a man, he goes to war!” 2) Roy describes his guitar, which can transform into a gun: “In case you’re interested, I can kill you with this. And play your funeral march at the same time!”

Side Note:
Although most of the Indian tribe was played by white actors, there was one Native American among the group — Iron Eyes Cody, who later became famous for crying in a television commercial promoting environmentalism.

Companion Viewing:
Only “F-Troop” can approach the quality of this one. Maybe reading “Tumbleweeds” will do, too.

Hollywood Teen Movies.

Take a Look:
Roy sings the song “Pistolero”:

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