Trip, The (1967)

Trip, The (1967)

“It’s beautiful, man.”

A commercial film maker (Peter Fonda) about to divorce his wife (Susan Strasberg) visits a friend with LSD (Bruce Dern) and undergoes a supervised trip which gets progressively wilder.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Bruce Dern Films
  • Dennis Hopper Films
  • Dick Miller Films
  • Living Nightmare
  • Peter Fonda Films
  • Roger Corman Films
  • Susan Strasberg Films

Roger Corman followed up on his biker exploitation flick The Wild Angels (1966) with this similarly audience-pandering look — scripted by Jack Nicholson — at the subculture of experimental drug use. The resulting film delivers exactly what its title promises: a feature-length LSD trip taken by the lead character (Fonda):

… under the supervision of Dern’s stern but caring friend.

Other than impressively rapid-fire editing and creative in-camera techniques (earning the film a cover story in American Cinematographer), the trivia surrounding the making of this movie is perhaps its most interesting element, so I’ll list just a few items of note here (all taken from TCM’s articles):

– Nearly all the major players in this production experimented with LSD themselves prior to making it (other than straight-laced Dern).

– Location shooting spots included an L.A. club, a house in Laurel Canyon, Big Sur, Yuma, Arizona, and Big Dune, Nevada.

– The film’s budget was $300,000, but by January of 1968 it had already earned $4 million in rentals, and gross box-office sales reached ~$10 million over time.

– The most memorable effects are likely those “created by ‘liquid projectors,’ in which liquid dyes are compressed between two watch-crystal dishes, and light is shined through the crystals as they are manipulated (and the color blotches morph on-screen).”

The film’s most amusing (and believable) sequence takes place in a laundromat, when Barboura Morris’s chicken-eating housewife observes Fonda obsessing over spin cycles.

Notable Performances, Qualities, and Moments:

  • Wild sets and costumes
  • A seemingly authentic look at drug/hippie culture in the mid-’60s
  • Arch R. Dalzell’s cinematography

Must See?
No, though it’s worth a one-time look for its curiosity value alone.


One thought on “Trip, The (1967)

  1. First viewing (11/24/20). Not must-see.

    As a producer, Corman had his fingers on the pulse of what (in the ’60s) was likely to be profitable at drive-ins (i.e, biker movies, horror pics, drug-related stories). When he called on Nicholson to write the actual script, Nicholson apparently added *some* autobiographical elements (i.e., during some of the acid-induced visuals, we’re taken onto the set of a horror film; Nicholson worked for Corman in horror flicks).

    Lots of young people were experimenting with hallucinogens in the ’60s. ‘The Trip’ serves as a sort of primer on what the experience is like. As such, there’s nothing else by way of plot. The premise doesn’t ultimately have anyplace to build to so eventually the film just… ends.

    Decidedly a film of its time, it’s now (and it probably was then) forgettable.

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