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The Trip (1967).

February 17, 2009

The Scoop:
It’s a flood of groovy music, kaleidoscopic colors and odd vignettes in this Roger Corman confection as a director of television commercials (Peter Fonda) takes his first LSD trip.

Purporting to be the first serious, first-hand exploration of psychedelic drugs, it mostly comes off as hokey and dated. The first half of the film — with Fonda, dealing with marital trouble with his wife (Susan Strasberg), going through the early stages of his high with his “guide” (Bruce Dern) — come off as a doped-up version of “My Dinner With Andre,” as the pair sit ensconced in Dern’s Hollywood Hills mansion and discuss the sort of pretentious minutiae that seems really “deep” when you’re high. But the action picks up a bit when Fonda flees the house in a panic and encounters a variety of both middle class and hippie characters in the streets of Hollywood. This lack of action is broken up intermittently by exotic, effects-laden shots of Fonda’s hallucinations.

Despite the talented cast, the acting is as wooden as you’d expect from a Corman film, but it still offers its own brand of goofy fun. Look for Dennis Hopper, Luana Anders, Dick Miller, Peter Bogdanovich and Corman regular Beach Dickerson in small parts. The script was written by Jack Nicholson.

Best Bit:
The all-too-brief snippet of the commercial jingle for “Psyche Soap.”

Side Note:
The very psychedelic score is by The Electric Flag, a one-off super-group including Mike Bloomfield, Buddy Miles and other acid-blues rockers.

Companion Viewing:
“Psych-Out” (1968) and “Easy Rider” (1969).

TCM Underground.

Take a Look:
The trailer:

Some friendly advice from Luana Anders:

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