This film is a must-see. It's populated with so many names that would go on to far better projects that curiosity alone should attract viewers. In addition, it's not that bad a film, perhaps indicating things to come from its cast and production staff. Strasberg plays a 17-year-old deaf
girl who runs away to San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury district. She's looking for her older brother, Dern, an artist who's tuned in, turned on, and dropped out. In a coffee shop she encounters a failed rock band led by none other than Nicholson. He and his cohorts (Roarke and Julien) convince her
to change from the "square" clothing she sports to something infinitely more hip, like a miniskirt. Together with Nicholson's pal Stockwell, they begin the search for Dern. They have no luck but learn that a group of thugs are also looking for him. Nicholson's group plays at a local hangout. It
turns out that Nicholson has run into Dern and talked him into showing up for the performance. He does but splits when he sees the thugs who want him. Strasberg goes into hysterics but is taken to Nicholson's flat by Stockwell. He gives her some STP to calm her down, but she leaves to continue the
search. Strasberg is unaware she has taken a hallucinogen and ends up wandering around the traffic on the Golden Gate Bridge. Meanwhile, Dern has barricaded himself into a nearby house and set fire to the place. Nicholson and Stockwell come to Strasberg's rescue. However, Stockwell has also taken
STP and is killed by a car as he walks about in a haze. Nicholson and Strasberg, thrown together by the circumstances and their contempt for the world of "squares," leave the scene. For the low-budget quickie this was intended to be, the film's really not bad at all. Direction by Rush (who would
later do the highly acclaimed film THE STUNTMAN) gets inside the world of San Francisco's hippie culture, giving a fairly accurate portrait of the place and times. His use of overlap and creations of hallucinations are good without seeming the least bit forced. He shows all sides of the hippie
world, the good and the bad. Be-ins, dope, and the foraging of food from garbage cans are all included with directness and a good realistic feel. The fine photography was by Kovacs, who would become one of Hollywood's top cameramen. The perfomances give every indication that Nicholson, Strasberg,
and Dern would go on to better work. As "Stoney," Nicholson projects the right amount of humor and anger, something he would be known for in his later work as well. Also featured in the cast is Kelljan, the director of COUNT YORGA films. The single biggest detriment to the film is the "acid rock"
played by such underground luminaries as the Seeds and the Strawberry Alarm Clock. Songs include "The Pretty Song" (the Strawberry Alarm Clock, sung by the Storybook), "Rainy Day Mushroom Pillow" (Steven Bartek, George Bunnell, Jr., sung by the Strawberry Alarm Clock), "Two Fingers Pointing on
You"(Sky Saxon, sung by the Seeds), "Ashburny Wednesday" (Rusty Young, Mitchell Mitchell, Joe E. Neddo, George Grantham, S. Bush, sung by Cryque Boenzee), "The World's on Fire" (the Strawberry Alarm Clock, sung by the Strawberry Alarm Clock), "Psych-Out Sanctorum," "The Love Children," "Psych-Out"
(Ronald Stein, sung by the Storybook), "Beads of Innocence" (Harlene Stein, Ronald Stein, sung by the Storybook), and "Incense and Peppermints" (John S. Carter, Jr., Tim Gilbert, sung by the Strawberry Alarm Clock).
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