Road Warrior, The (1981)

The Road Warrior (1981), directed by George Miller.

We (my movie-going gang and I) must have seen this ten times the year it came out, finally at an almost out of business drive-in where we were the only customers. It was a good night. We set up lawn chairs and tables and had a good picnic spread, turning on all the speakers in the surrounding half acre.

Strangely enough, all the women we ever took loved it, which is odd given the brutal, unapologetic violence, including gang rape, murder and mayhem. Why? I can only guess that ladies love a tormented hero. Or maybe it was just Mel.

What else? Siege stories are timeless, and I think there is always a lurking yearning for the collapse of civilization, a chance for a new world, good-bye to the nagging problems of ordinary life. I've still never seen anything like the car crash scenes or the incredible final 20 minutes of breakout and highway chase.

We were particularly fond of Wez: that a mohawked, bare-assed leather gay-boy could thrive in the post-apocalyptic wasteland: that's an endearing concept. Loved the Feral Kid and the Warrior Woman.

The cheap, junky look was very appealing at the time. I don't think that gyro-copter can do vertical takeoff or landing. The overhead prop is unpowered. I know it can't carry two people.

Loud, up-front score, lots of Holst.

Available on Blu-ray. The black levels are not very good, and are awful in the night scenes. I don't remember if the film was better. The director and cinematographer provide a relaxed commentary track: