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Wild Guitar

USA 1962
produced by
Arch Hall sr (as Nicholas Merriwether) for Fairway International
directed by Ray Dennis Steckler
starring Arch Hall jr, Nancy Czar, Arch Hall sr (as William Watters), Ray Dennis Steckler (as Cash Flagg), Marie Denn, Robert Crumb (II), Virginia Broderick, Al Scott, Bill Lloyd, Jonathan Karle, Mike Treibor, Paul Voorhees, Rick Dennis, Carol Flynn, Raeme Patterson, Danny Silvers, Carolyn Brandt
written by Arch Hall sr (as Nicholas Merriwether), Bob Wehling, musical director: Alan O'Day

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Bud Eagle (Arch Hall jr) is another of those hicks coming to Hollywood penniless to try and make it big in the music business - but luck it seems is on his side when he meets young Vickie (Nancy Czar), an aspiring dancer, at a café, and it is not only love at first sight, she also somehow gets him an opportunity to sing in a TV-show ... and the kid is a smashing success.

Soon enough, manager McCauley (Arch Hall sr) realizes Bud has possibilities, and takes him under his wing ... and to make sure the kid doesn't step out of line, he makes his henchman Steak (Ray Dennis Steckler) Bud's personal assistant ... for you know, McCauley is a crooked one, a manager who tries to make some quick cash from his artists' talents while leaving them penniless, claiming he has to cover his expenses. And to make sure Bud does not get any bright ideas, he also cuts all of Bud's social contacts, most notably to his brother Ted (Al Scott) and to Vickie.

Bud soon becomes a mega-seller, but he also eventually realizes there is something crooked going on, but for the time being, he decides to trust McCauley ... until he finally has a chance to meet Vickie again, is almost seduced by one of McCauley's girls (Virginia Broderick), is visited by Don Proctor (Robert Crumb), the former McCauley star who is now a penniless drunk and who tells Bud quite a few things about his boss, and finally he is kidnapped by a trio of very bad kidnappers (Bill Lloyd, Jonathan Karle, Mike Treibor) - whom he uses to find out just how much McCauley really needs him - and when McCauley pays the ransom money but Steak almost botches it up, Bud decides to make a disappearing act and hide in Marge's café ... and make up a plan to turn the tables on McCauley with the help of Vickie, his brother Ted and a tape recorder - and McCauley really falls for it, and after Bud gives Steak a sound beating, McCauley gives in to Bud's demands and agrees to manage him at his terms ...

 


The directorial debut of Ray Dennis Steckler was pretty much a star vehicle for Arch Hall jr produced by his father Arch Hall sr and proposed to give junior's singing career a further boost. By and large, Wild Guitar is one of Steckler's most normal films, a typical music-biz melodrama in which a young talented lad makes it big against all odds. However, every now and again, the film just gets way too wacky to qualify as just a routine genre entry, very often Steckler intercuts particularly dramatic (and cheesy) scenes with sequences of broad humour, especially the kidnapping scene is worth a mention. And then there's of course Arch Hall jr as a very unlikely hero for this kind of film, and above all Ray Dennis Steckler's own psyched-out performance as psycho henchman Steak gives this film an almost other-worldly feeling.

Of course, Steckler did make much wackier pictures later on in his career, but this one's still worth a look - if you're at all into something different.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
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love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
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Tales to Chill
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Tales to Chill
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directed by
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written by
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