|THE PINK ANGELS
|Copyright 1971 Plateau Productions
| Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 7 September 2009
- Michael - He proves, conclusively, that being the crossdressing leader of a purple bike-riding motorcycle gang does not mean that you have to give up being macho.
- Henry - Imagine Mary Lou Retton with forty extra pounds and a beard...
- Arnold - He's big, he's hairy, he's gay, and he's got a bike. He's a Pink Angel.
- Edward - Yet another member of the Pink Angels. The British Invasion was far more than just rock and roll. Just look at this guy: he is British, he talks like he is British, and he wears little British eyeglasses.
- Ronnie - The token gay black man who insists on wearing a cream-colored maidenform bra.
- David - He has to be the clumsiest gay biker that I have ever seen. No matter what he is doing, this guy will manage to stumble, trip, or fall over something in true queenly fashion.
- A Straight Motorcycle Gang - They run afoul of the Pink Angels not once, but twice. Both times the tough bikers wake up to find themselves looking more like Raggedy Ann than Hells Angels. One of them is Dan Haggerty!
- The Cops - These guys are loaded for bear. Arnold had better watch out.
- The General - He is a buffoon, but you should resist the temptation to hate his character. Why? Because he is the only one who can end this movie.
|The movie dumps us directly into a colossally confusing scene that involves a number of transvestites at a party being accosted by the police. We do not know it yet, but the "women" are the Pink Angels. Even more bewildering is the fact that I do not know where, or even how, this scene fits into the rest of the story. Most of the time when I am writing a review, I watch the movie twice. I watched this film thrice, and I'm still clueless about the busted crossdressers' bash. To make my confoundment complete, the movie then cuts to the General as he is carried by open convertible to the mansion (complete with large tree out front) that will serve as his headquarters throughout the film. Transvestites at a party, military officer in a car - what does it all mean?
What it means, my friends, is that I do not understand the 1960s nearly half as well as I thought I did. That is true of anyone who thinks that they understand the 1960s. We are all completely clueless; we just think we know something. Normally, I discourage this sort of mistaken expertism. Thinking that you know all about something, when you really do not, is a terribly dangerous state of mind. Those exposed to the unforeseen effects of 1950s atomic bomb tests would agree with with me. Ignorance is not bliss, and thinking that you know everything there is to know about something is not bliss. Bliss is knowing everything that there is to know about something - and, quite honestly, that never happens.
Welcome to the human condition: we are a bunch of monkeys with hand grenades. Ain't it cool?
Some of you are now looking at the movie's copyright date and saying, "But it was made in 1971." You are absolutely correct. However, the plot of "The Pink Angels" owes a lot more to the 1960s than it does the 1970s. The good thing is that thinking you know everything about the 1960s, when you actually understand little more than a smidgen, is relatively harmless. The only time that such a profoundly misplaced belief in an untruth could bite you on the ass is if you were a contestant on "Jeopardy."
Weird. Every time I start talking about transvestites the discussion ends with Alex Trebek. That is a queer sort of coincidence.
We see the Pink Angels gather together in a dusty section of desert, apparently making a solemn pact to undertake a quest of some sort. They then climb onto (and into, in the case of the sidecar riders) their purple motorcycles and sally forth. Stop. Yes, you. Stop. You are thinking that the purple motorcyles make perfect sense, that they sound kinda groovy. Well, you are wrong. The bikes are entirely purple, but the picture you have in your mind is of gleaming gloss-purple chariots befitting a drag queen. These are not those bikes. These bikes look like somebody pulled them out of a junkyard and then spray painted them with flat purple Rust-Oleum. Not semi-gloss, not satin, not even eggshell, I mean FLAT finish paint. It took me nearly ten minutes to realize that the bikes were indeed purple, and that is because the finish is so dull.
After picking up a young male hitchiker, the Pink Angels stop to scarf down some hot dogs from a roadside eatery. Yes, a bunch of gay men eating hot dogs, but it doesn't stop there. One of the bikers gets jealous of the attention being paid to the blonde hitchhiker, so a food fight breaks out. Suddenly aware that he is surrounded by forgotten weiners and condiment-spraying homosexuals, the hitchhiker does what any other red-blooded, straight American boy would do: he runs away.
In case you failed to notice, what I am trying to say is that "The Pink Angels" is a comedy. The whole movie is intended to be both a statement and funny. So, you should not be surprised when the gang is pulled over by some police officers who are carrying so many weapons that they would make a IDKFA'd Doom player feel outgunned. Nor should you be surprised that one of the cops discovers Ronnie's female intimates while conducting a search for contraband. What will surprise you is when this scene finally ends, because it seems to go on FOREVER.
Next up is a stop at a dusty bar. Michael and his compadres barely have time to sample the warm beer and cheap rotgut before a mob of working girls burst from the bar's backroom and jump on the bikers. I suppose that the prostitutes are excited about the unexpected group of customers appearing in the middle of the day. Unfortunately, the Pink Angels are not interested in the girls. Perhaps if the women were selling something besides their bodies, something like lipstick or support hosiery, then Michael and his friends might stick around to swap fashion tips. As the situation stands, the Pink Angels bail out of the bar and set off in search of the perfect picnic ground. They find it, and are in the middle of a fabulous candlelight picnic brunch when another group of bikers arrives.
The other group of bikers is highly suspicious of the Pink Angels. To allay their concerns, David drives back to the abandoned bar, loads all of the prostitues into the back of a box truck, and deposits proof positive that the Pink Angels are a band of broad-loving dudes at the feet of the straight bikers. You can imagine the straight bikers' glee as they (to wit) exclaim, "You really do have broads! You don't mind if we use them for a while? Dudes, you are all right!" The leader of the bikers picks an old wrinkled battle axe out of the hooker lineup. Do I need to describe what happens next? Of course I do. Do you know why? That is the only way I can share some of my pain with you. I watched the scene in question; you only have to read about it. I will even be nice and not explain the event in detail, because a casual reader who is just skimming this article might think I accidentally copied and pasted a paragraph from one of H.P. Lovecraft's stories. Suffice to say that disturbing visions of cyclopean flapping black granny panties, barely covering roiling mounds of white flesh, left me sick and weak. My sanity fled screaming into the night, and I begged my horrified wife for delicate brass implements with which to peel back my skull and extract the diseased brain within.
The really startling thing here, besides Shub-Niggurath wearing grandma panties, is that one of the bikers is Dan Haggerty. I remember Dan from the "Grizzly Adams" franchise, and he always seemed like Santa - Santa with a pet Grizzly bear, but still Santa. Let me just say that seeing Dan in this movie completely destroyed that childhood misconception. Dan is lean and mean, with ripped abdominals and veins sticking out on his biceps. He grabs the African American hooker; she barely had enough time to say, "Black is not only beautiful, it's good." before Dan gets all Kodiak on her a**.
Meanwhile, the General's secretary is taking notes as he dictates their strategy to stop...somebody. I am not sure who. It has to be the Communists, terrorists, activists, or one of those other "ists" that was always causing trouble during the 1960s.
The straight bikers wake up from their wine and prostitute inflicted slumber to discover that the Pink Angels left each of them a present. All of the men, including Dan Haggerty, are wearing lipstick, rouge, eyeliner, and sporting brightly colored ribbons in their hair. Now they are out for blood. Serenely ignorant of the danger, the Pink Angels spend some time shopping for clothes; then, all of the transvestites get dolled up in their best "middle-aged women out for a night on the town" dresses and head to the bar. That is where the straight bikers find them...and completely fail to recognize them incognito. Instead, the straight bikers think that the crossdressers are hot women! Geez, come on now. I know that this is a comedy, and it is funny to see Dan Haggerty riding on his hog with a transvestite on the back, but those are the ugliest crossdressers you, I, or anyone else has ever seen.
Once again, the straight bikers wake up to find themselves made up real pretty. Finally, the military gets involved. All of the bikers are captured. The General mistakes the Pink Angels for real women at first, but then Henry sets the record straight. The General's eyes get really wide, and the movie cuts to the officer standing on the front lawn of his headquarters, under the large tree. The camera starts moving away, revealing the slowly swinging corpses of the Pink Angels dangling from a large branch, lynched.
Remember, it's a comedy. Again I ask: How much do you think you know about the 1960s?
|Things I Learned From This Movie:|| |
- Do not stick out your thumb unless you mean it.
- Being completely coated with condiments is embarrassing.
- Never ask a cop for an estimate.
- Soup is inherently gay, but cream of celery is really gay.
- Real men drink wine.
- Never look a gift whore in the mouth.
- Dan Haggerty likes his women like he likes his bears: brown.
- You must have at least 20/400 vision to get a motorcycle license.
- 5 mins - That's one small step for a gay biker, one giant concrete drainage pipe for the State of California.
- 7 mins - Did anyone else notice the 1968 Camaro? I did.
- 8 mins - RANDOM ACT OF VIOLENCE AGAINST A SIGN!
- 23 mins - Don't you just hate indecision?
- 26 mins - "Bartender! Whiskey for me, and beer for my queers."
- 32 mins - That woman's hair has more body than Cass Elliott.
- 41 mins - She has rubber ducky boobies! I want a hooker with rubber ducky boobies!
- 44 mins - RANDOM GRATUITOUS BREAST SHOT!
- 65 mins - Honey, what you need is a paper bag for your face, because...yikes.
- 79 mins - There needs to be a full investigation into how an obvious transvestite penetrated your final line of defense.
| ||Audio clips in wav format||SOUNDS||Starving actors speak out|| |
||Cop: "Okay, I want everybody with their license in their hand. Move!" |
Henry: "Now look, I really don't understand this. Arrest us or let us go! You cops think you run this world, but this is one all-American, red-blooded f****t you can't scare! So why don't you take your sirens, and your flashing red lights, and your guns, and...stick 'em."
||Biker: "Where's your broads?" |
Michael: "Where are yours?"
Biker: "We get ours along the way."
Michael: "So do we. Hey Dave, go get the broads."
||Hooker: "Black is not only beautiful, it's good."
||General: "What? On motorcycles? How many?" |
Soldier: "About twenty of them, sir. And they had girls with 'em!"
General: "Now don't worry, I'll handle this. Mrs. Ellen, they're here. They're here! Ellen: alert the south post and the east post. Let them get into the house before we apprehend them. I want to take them alive."
|Theme Song|| Listen to a clip from the soundtrack. |
| ||Click for a larger image||IMAGES||Scenes from the movie|| |
| ||Watch a scene||VIDEO||MPEG video files|| |
|That damn pig had better lay off Ronnie's bra! Pig! Piiiiiigggggg!
| ||Leave a comment||EXTRAS||Buy the movie|| |
|Re: The Pink Angels
Posted on September 22, 2009, 06:52:06 PM by Andrew
Many road trip movies of this era had endings where the main character or one or more of the characters dies. I think it started with Easy Rider. As a kid (early 70's) I saw a lot of movies in the theater where they always died at the end. It usually happened in movies about people trying to be free in America but came up against the oppression of that freedom by mainstream America. You can be free in America, it's what makes us great but don't be weird about it and don't push it. Usually mainstream America won and the counter culture character was killed by them. Symbolism I suppose.
The idea that the lynching ending to the film is an example of overdone satire (the heavily armed police being another) has a lot going for it.
What threw me off here is that the lynching is the only part played perfectly straight. We see the general standing stoically under the tree of judgment, and the camera pulls back as the ending theme song plays. The lynched men just hang there. All the other times, silliness intruded. Not so with that ending.
|Re: The Pink Angels
Posted on September 29, 2009, 05:09:08 AM by Trevor
Jesus. Borntreger I never thought you'd stoop this low.
Now that wasn't nice.
Write reviews as good as Andrew's and I might possibly give a damn about what you have to say about his.
|Re: The Pink Angels
Reply #11. Posted on January 02, 2011, 10:32:52 PM by Jim
I received the box set of 8 titles (Drive-In Cult Classics 3) for Christmas this year... The first DVD I dropped in to the player was "Pink Angels" because the description on the back of the box was just too weird to not make it the first. Your review does this film justice, but there are a couple of touch stones for your younger readers that may help place the film in context:
Hunter S. Thompson had recently written Hell's Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs and this exposť of biker culture resulted a general interest in all things relating to motorcycle gangs as a sort of modern outlaw and anti-hero. The original article in the Nation (magazine) appeared in 1965 and the greatly expanded content in book form in 1966.
The Hells Angels were involved in events at Altamont, California, in 1969, that resulted in Marty Balin of Jefferson Airplane being knocked unconscious, numerous acts of assault, and the stabbing death of Meredith Hunter. They had been hired as security and ended up being the central cause of problems. The subsequent negative media coverage and murder trial dragged on through 1971, when Alan Passaro, the defendant, was aquitted of murder by reason of self-defence. This was not atypical of the times, the FBI and various state law enforcement agencies were constantly investigating drugs and deaths that involved the Hell Angels and other biker gangs.
The Stonewall riots led by transvestites (drag queens) in the Greenwich Village neighbourhood of New York City occurred in 1969.
In 1969 Manson Family murders and Bugliosi's own prosecution of Charles Manson and his followers captivated horrified American audiences through near continuous coverage on television; Manson prophesied a coming apocalyptic race war that would in some wise involve whites riding motorcycles out of the desert. Versions of this story have been given differently as time passed.
Starting in 1970 the Gay Liberation Front (GLF) and other gay rights groups began openly protesting the treatment of gays in Los Angels and San Francisco.
"The Boys in the Band", a film adaptation of Mart Crowley's stage play, was released in 1970 and, as far as I know, the first gay-centric non-porn film to be released in the USA. I think this is important since the portrayal of gays in both films is strikingly similar.
This film is a bizarre distillation of these events into an more bizarre dark comedy.
|Re: The Pink Angels
Posted on August 24, 2011, 11:23:09 AM by alandhopewell
Here's where I found my copy....again, VIVE WAL-MART!
|Re: The Pink Angels
Posted on February 26, 2012, 01:09:39 AM by Felicity
As touched upon by Jim above, I think the mysterious opening sequence of the police raid on the transvestitesí party may have been a reference to Stonewall.
|Re: The Pink Angels
Posted on March 15, 2012, 12:46:03 PM by tracy
I found this movie a rather enjoyable tragedy.
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