It's a Revolution Mother

It's bikers versus hippies in this rare exploitation documentary exploring two different aspects of the late Sixties counterculture. Plus the gritty anti-drug short film 'A Day in the Death of Donny B' (1969).
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Format:  DVD-R
item number:  ALP 8173D
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DVD Features:

  • Run Time: 1 hours, 27 minutes
  • Video: Black & White / Color
  • Released: January 8, 2019
  • Originally Released: 1969
  • Label: Alpha Video
  • Encoding: Region 0 (Worldwide)

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In 1969, exploitation producer/director Harry Kerwin – the man behind such films as Strange Rampage (1967), My Third Wife, George (1968), God's Bloody Acre (1975) and Barracuda (1978) – was inspired by the success of Easy Rider to make his own biker movie. Without even the relatively small budget Dennis Hopper had to make Easy Rider, Kerwin eschewed actors, instead choosing to follow around New Jersey biker gang "The Aliens" with his camera. A heavy-handed narration (written by Thomas Casey, director of Sometimes Aunt Martha Does Dreadful Things) describes them as "...motorcycle freaks. A brotherhood like the Mafia...they're the product of a sick society." Kerwin's camera captures the Aliens buying drugs, urinating into beer cans, and going skinny dipping with their girlfriends (alternately referred to as "mamas" or "old ladies.") "Sex is no big deal to them," says the narrator, as we're shown male bikers smearing Wesson oil and whipped cream all over a naked girl. Perhaps realizing that the Aliens' barbaric antics weren't quite enough for a whole film, Kerwin intercuts them with footage from an anti-war student protest in Washington, D.C. and a rock festival in Florida ("like Woodstock.") In Washington, students are shown watching a speech by Dick Gregory, but the legendary comedian/activist never appears on camera. Gregory most likely never granted his permission to appear (just the same, none of the musical acts at the festival in Florida are ever heard or seen.) What the brutish, swastika-wearing Aliens could possibly have in common with these peaceful hippie protesters is never made clear, but Kerwin inadvertently ended up capturing two diametrically opposed subsets of the late Sixties counterculture. For that reason, It's a Revolution Mother is a priceless document of that turbulent time. Contains strong language and nudity.

BONUS: A Day in the Death of Donny B (1969): Shot in a gritty, black and white, cinéma vérité style, A Day in the Death of Donny B follows a heroin addict trying to score on the streets of New York. Donny B steals hubcaps, snatches purses, and shoots craps in a desperate attempt to pay for his fix. An atypically artistic anti-drug film from the National Institute of Mental Health, A Day in the Death of Donny B makes for harrowing viewing, not easily forgotten.

Product Description:

Harry Kerwin, best known for such exploitation fare as BARRACUDA and GOD'S BLOODY ACRE, directed this dull documentary focusing on the Aliens bike gang of New Jersey. There's some footage of a beach party where a man is unconvincingly beaten with chains, but most of the film is an uneventful look at the bikers' daily lives, consisting of tirades against "the Establishment," bike-polishing, and massive consumption of beer and marijuana. Kerwin also includes footage of the 1969 March on Washington and a Woodstock-like rock festival. Apparently he couldn't get the rights to actually show any of the bands, but there is a good deal of footage of hippies sitting around. As far as tedious hippie-era documentaries go, this would make a marvelous double bill with the 1968 REVOLUTION, which at least contains some good music and a few laughs. By itself, this is strictly for dedicated nostalgia buffs only.
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Product Info

  • Sales Rank: 15,188
  • UPC: 089218817396
  • Shipping Weight: 0.12/lbs (approx)
  • International Shipping: 1 item

Film Collectors & Archivists: Alpha Video is actively looking for rare and unusual pre-1943 motion pictures, in good condition, from Monogram, PRC, Tiffany, Chesterfield, and other independent studios for release on DVD. We are also interested in TV shows from the early 1950s. Share your passion for films with a large audience. Let us know what you have.
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