Harley’s have been in the movies since there have been movies. Panheads have been in thousands of movies and television series. I have been collecting stills of Harley’s from movies for quite awhile thought I would share some.
Broken Flowers (2005) Harley Panhead chopper.
As the extremely withdrawn Don Johnston is dumped by his latest woman, he receives An anonymous letter from a former lover informing him that he has a son who may be looking for him.
A freelance sleuth neighbor moves Don to embark on a cross-country search for his old flames in search of answers.
Bill Murray, Jessica Lange, Sharon Stone
“Broken Flowers” is a travelogue and like most Jarmusch films, the story is more concerned with the journey but not so much about the destination. Bill Murray plays Don Johnston, a man who we know little about. We know he’s single and we know he’s had some flame’s in the past. The last one just walked out on him. When Don receives an anonymous letter from one of these old flames, he learns that he has a twenty year old son who might be looking for him.” Don thinks this is a joke but takes the advice from a friend to unfold the mystery by tracking down his past flings. He flies somewhere to a generic American place, rents a car and begins his investigation. Each ex has an individual personality but most of them share something similar. They are content and have moved on from the past. One of the ex’s we meet works in real estate and decides it would be a good idea for her to get into the water business because “one day in the near future it will be more valuable then oil.” The atmosphere is awkward and rather then care whether this woman is responsible for the anonymous letter, we just feel like getting out of there. The film’s journey is absurd in many ways because we are never sure what the real point is. What is Don going to do if he does find his son? This where Bill Murray’s credit as an actor shines through. We see from his small facial gestures that he is empty, and sad. There is a sense of longing as if life took a wrong turn somewhere and it is only now that he is realizing it. The ending of “Broken Flowers” is what really makes the film special. Don’t expect too much or too little. Just see it. Its inspiring, hopeful and better then any other movie this year. The film also has a great soundtrack by Ethiopian musician, Mulatu Astatke. And we see in the credits that Jarmusch dedicated the film to French filmmaker Jean Eustache. Jean Eustache made a phenomenal film in the 1960’s titled, “The Mother and The Whore”. He had an influence on John Cassavetes and likewise both had an influence on Jim Jarmusch.
Visit to a Small Planet (1960) 1958 Harley-Davidson Duo Glide
The weirdest alien of the galaxy pays a visit to Earth…
Stars: Jerry Lewis, Joan Blackman, Earl Holliman
Goofy alien Jerry Lewis lands on Earth, decides to try the suburban way of life for awhile, angering his superior officers in space. Screenwriter Edmund Beloin adapted Gore Vidal’s play, but it doesn’t seem directly tailored for Lewis’ mugging talents–which is a blessing. The material is actually quite sophisticated, with a fair amount of witty lines and good supporting performances by Joan Blackman, Earl Holliman and Gale Gordon. Jerry Lewis himself isn’t bad; he had yet to be reeled-in by a strong director, but he isn’t grating or overtly offensive here. There’s some surprising, modern humor in this scenario, while the production, the (minimal) special effects, and Loyal Griggs’ black-and-white cinematography are all first-rate. Lots of fun! **1/2 from ****
A Bronx Tale (1993) Harley Panhead chopper
A father becomes worried when a local gangster befriends his son in the Bronx in the 1960s.
Stars: Robert De Niro, Chazz Palminteri, Lillo Brancato.
I have seen this movie over & over like many of the people who have reviewed it. It’s true that this is loosely based on the life of Chazz (C) Palmenteri who wrote the screenplay. Word is that when he was looking to make the play into a movie, he had only one condition, that he play the part of Sonny. He was rejected several times until he found Robert DeNiro & Tribeca productions. What luck for all of us too! Chazz was born to play the role of Sonny & how refreshing to see DeNiro as the humble and hardworking father figure instead of the gangster that he has so often played.
This movie has heart & a story that is actually appropriate for young adults. Despite the language & moderate violence (such as the bar scene) there isn’t anything graphic (certainly not on the scale of Braveheart or Saving Private Ryan!) and no nudity, just a good story. One of the gems is that nothing is sadder than wasted talent. Thank God that Mr. Palmenteri didn’t waste his and shared this wonderful story with all of us. Unforgettable movie, a definite 10 out of 10!
The Nasty Rabbit (1964) 1963 Harley-Davidson FL 1200 Duo Glide
Russian spies secretly infect rabbits with a deadly bacteria, then let them loose in the U.S.
Stars: Michael Terr, Arch Hall Jr., Liz Renay
Oh man, this film is a riot! Although not as well-known as other films in the Arch Hall Jr. canon, it’s on a par with EEGAH and WILD GUITAR in terms of pure delirium. This wild fiasco concerns all these cartoonish-types who convene at a ranch for some espionage… all over a bunny rabbit which carries a plague that could wipe out the planet!
Director James Landis wisely doesn’t take the material seriously. With candy colours, over-acting which would do Phil Tucker proud, undercranked chase scenes, and other gonzo touches, this is a wonderfully absurd delight. And because Arch Hall Jr. is in the cast, how can you not have a lot of great bad rock and roll too? The debonair Arch (cough) is not only a spy (in his trademark white dinner jacket), but he also is the frontman of a rock band that is just the living end for teenage girls everywhere. In fact, once the ranch owner’s daughter learns that dreamboat Archie’s band is going to show up, she flips… literally! And because it’s an Arch Hall Jr. picture, his old man, Hall Sr., cannot help but give himself a showy role- a cameo mind you, but a pivotal one (thanks to Arch Hall Sr. the co-screenwriter).
Perhaps under Landis’ direction, Arch Hall Jr. maybe made an effort to be an actor after all (which may explain why his final films, all directed by Landis, are obscure; they aren’t BAD enough!). While he’s no Olivier certainly, this and DEADWOOD 76 at least show the kid is trying, which is more than you can say about his snarly performances in THE CHOPPERS or EEGAH. Landis is truly an unsung B movie hero; he always made something out of nothing. (Check out his interesting little crime picture, STAKEOUT) But anyhow, if you’re an Arch Hall fan (and how can you not be?), THE NASTY RABBIT is a must. It is a wonderful hallucination of bad cinema.
Rhino even released it on video… letterboxed! Now is that class or what?
super chick(1973) Harley-Davidson Panhead Chopper
Tara B. True is a flight attendant who makes a weekly swing through New York, Miami, and Los Angeles. In each city, she has a man: Edward, older and wealthy; Johnny, a beach bum with gambling debts; and, Davey, a rock musician on the cusp of success. Tara is a free spirit, faithful to each man in her own way,and so stunning that she dresses in a wig and ill-fitting uniform while she’s working so men won’t harass her constantly. The low-life whom Johnny is in debt to figures out a way to use Tara to help him execute a daring in-flight robbery. But will Tara stand by helplessly, or is superchick ready for action?
Stars: Joyce Jillson, Louis Quinn, Thomas Reardon.
SUPERCHICK is so godawful that it is hysterically funny. Terrible acting, the worst fight staging ever seen, dialogue that makes you rewind just to make sure you heard it right (“Last one in bed gets no head” said by Superchick) Superchick is a dowdy brown haired stewardess who changes into a sexy long blonde haired daring adventurer who picks lovers like a kid picks candy. She’s a sexually liberated woman who does what she wants – which mostly is baring a little breast, having sex under garish bedsheets and doing the worst karate moves ever done on Earth. The lead is played by Joyce Jillson who went ont to become a successful syndicated astrology columist.In fact, she became Nancy Reagan’s personal astrologer and got a lot of press during Regan’s presidency when it was revealed that Jillson’s “readings” so influenced Nancy that she would have Ronnie follow them. Yikes!!! Hopefully she’s a better astrologer than actress because she’s very very bad. There’s lots of quick nudity shots from what looks like washed-up, old strippers. There is a “verbal sex scene” that has to be seen to be believed. With an annoying yet catchy score, this movie has everything for the Ed Wood School Of Enjoyment.