Saturday, September 3, 2011

Chrome and Hot Leather

Chrome and Hot Leather
D: Lee Frost

Claim to fame: With Marvin Gaye, Cheryl Ladd in a tiny role, and (uncredited) Erik Estrada and Grizzly Adams

Soldier hunts down the bike club responsible for the death of his fiancee

Odd that there were only a few biker flicks aimed at the "returning vet" audience; this is one of the best.
Motorcycle club the Wizards (nice colors), out riding, start clowning with a couple of girls in a car. One, Casey, gets a little too aggressive; the girls get scared and make a hard turn, causing Casey to lay down his bike. Not heeding club prez TJ (William Smith), Casey gives chase and smashes their windshield with a chain, sending the car out of control and over a cliff, killing the girls. (Like in "She-Devils on Wheels," the chain is left behind as evidence.) Casey, a very pissed-off TJ, and the rest of the Wizards split the scene.
Turns out one of the girls (Kathy, played by a very young Cheryl Ladd, then known as Cheryl Moor) is the fiancee of Mitch (veteran character actor Tony Young), a sergeant who trains young soldiers on their way to 'Nam. The police have no solid leads, so Mitch enliststs (sorry for the pun) a few of his buddies (including Marvin Gaye; oddly the publicity for the film doesn't seem to have really pushed him) to help him track down the club responsible. No outlaws will help a bunch of squares like them, so they decide to form their own club as a front.
In a learning to ride montage accompanied by a pretty lame song, the three master riding their (dirt)bikes, create dopey cuts with sergeant stripes to try to look like outlaws, and are on their way.
Meanwhile, TJ is not happy about Casey bringing possible heat on them, or Casey in general for that matter. They've got a good thing going, with the local police and citizens intimidated, and dumb shit like killing girls is grief they don't need. TJ would clearly like to just dump a headache like Casey, but a brother's a brother so what can one do.
Eventually Mitch tracks the Wizards down to their hangout at the Piru Billard [sic] Parlor, and even gets so in with them that he gets the whole story out of Casey's girl. The club eventually gets wise to and captures Mitch, but his buddies manage to free him and plot their final revenge.
A pretty cool (if a bit corny) plot, carried by a strong cast. Tony Young is so stiff it's enjoyable, and Michael Haynes is great as asshole Casey. William Smith is William Smith--the best. The big motherfucker, with his fu manchu and open-legged riding style, could not look cooler. Gaye is actually pretty natural as an actor, and Larry Bishop steals his scenes as the spaced out Gabriel.
Wish I know who that was doing the rockin' main theme. The rest of the music mostly sucks.
A legitimately solid and enjoyable action movie with very little filler or padding that still shows up on tv sometimes, usually on Turner stations. A fun and satisfying 3.5


  1. I just watched this not too long ago - somehow overlooked Estrada. I think Cheryl Ladd used to also be "Cherie" Moor - back when she was a singing voice on Josie and the Pussycats. Ooh la la. As dumb as it was, I always liked "Grizzly Adams" when I was a kid. I saw Dan Haggerty on some "real-life" biker show a few years back. He seemed like a total twat.

  2. She was one of the Pussycats?!