Biker Babylon aka It’s A Revolution Mother (1969)
Run Time: 1:13:05
Producer: Harry Kerwin
Writer: Tom Casey
Key Cast: The Aliens, Dick Gregory
Here’s an odd but nonetheless fascinating time capsule of late- Sixties social unrest filtered through the mind of Florida-based sexploitation producer-director HARRY KERWIN. Yup, the man who made Strange Rampage, My Third Wife George, and Girls Come Too – and who was also the brother of Blood Feast star Bill Kerwin wanted to tap into the same youth market companies Like AlP were so good at exploiting. But lacking the funds to make something along the lines of an Easy Rider or a Wild in the Streets, Kerwin blissfully dispensed with both fiction and actors and, instead, went out and filmed The Real Thing. Combining (rough, raw) authentic footage of bikers, peace protestors, and the crowd at a rock festival, he created the mondoesque It’s a Revolution Mother! a self-described “Documentary of Love” tied together with an exuberant (and often hilarious) anti-government-anti establishment-anti-Vietnam-war-pro-rebellion rant -written by TOM CASEY, director of Sometimes Aunt Martha Does Dreadful Things (’71) – delivered by an uncredited narrator who sounds like an AM disk jockey on speed.
THE ALIENS are a biker gang who let Kerwin photograph them on the highway, inside their squalid headquarters, at a weekend beach party, and a clubhouse ·Wesson Oil party. “They candidly discuss their lifestyle (“I’d say Jesus died so we could ride’”); order drugs (“An ounce of speed and 200 trips’”); bitch about hassles with the cops, the courts, and their landlord; and explain the difference between “mamas and old ladies.” One of’ em even pisses in a beer can for us. “Don’t let it snap your mind. You’ve got to groove with the biker crowd to know where it’s really at’”
For contrast, we also join “Five-Hundred- Thousand-Plus Peace Marchers on a Brisk November Day in Washington, D.C.” for a 1969 Anti-Vietnam War protest, then billed as “the largest peace march in history,” complete with DICK GREGORY telling Agnew jokes (who?):”I look at Agnew as Washington D.C.’s answer to “Rosemary’s Baby!”
In addition, we hang with “Thousands of Music Lovers Getting Together” at a Florida version of Woodstock “where the bugged-out straight world ends and the out -of-sight groovy new world begins: Because of rights, no actual rock acts are seen or heard, but it’s all scored by actor-musician CHRIS MARTELL, best remembered as Rodney the retarded killer in H.G. Lewis ’The Gruesome Twosome.
After this film and the semi-nudist epic Sign of Aquarius, Harry Kerwin continued in exploitation but with more drive-in friendly fare such as God’s Bloody Acre, Tomcats, and Barracuda. Perhaps because of Revolution’s surprisingly militant stand and in-your-face reality – most “youth rebellion” films were actually quite conservative beneath the surface -It’s a Revolution Mother got scant playdates and became an almost overnight obscurity. Nevertheless, here it is, ready to assail you anew. An angry little artifact from a very confusing time, It’s a Revolution Mother is so real, it’s absolutely unreal. From a 35mm print “with no middle-class hang-ups!” – Luther Heggs