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'The Wanderers' is a hit movie that is a must watch for any film lover there is out there. The movie is full of characters that make the movie come alive in such a way that they give the movie more vitality than it actually needs. The movie has been based on a novel written by the famous Richard Price. From the start to the end, it does not attempt to tell single story. Instead, the movie has got a string of boisterous vignettes. These are heaped one on top of the other without a consistent pattern and this is what gives the movie a thrill from the start to the end. The movie has got such high energy levels and this combined with the cinematography of Michael Chapman hold the movie together in such a unique way (Maslin, 1979)
This movie is not a gang movie as some may think, although it has got the traits of one. The characters referred to as 'The Wanderers' in the movie are high school kids. They are basically very harmless. These kids are united to form some kind of gang and they identify with each other by putting on marching satin jackets. They also have a spirit of fraternity among them. The kids have all got a very understandable fear of the bat-wielding loonies in their neighbourhood. The movie starts by introducing all this in a magical opening. There is an overhead view to show the glowing skulls of the Fordham Baldies. These are hanging around Alexander's until they encounter a Wanderer who has got the bad luck to annoy them. The very funny musical accompaniment for this, the beginning of a terrific set of early-60's East Coast rock songs, is the Four Seasons' "Walk Like a Man."
The beauty of Mr. Price's novel was its economy and thoroughness in locating the Wanderers' exact place in the world. Without even looking outside a very enclosed environment, Mr. Price was able to try and make the reader see what these characters would aspire to once their adolescences came to an end. He also shows what alternatives they believed they could get from life and the kind of possibilities that they could not even imagine. On the other hand, in the making of the movie, this is not the same. The director has a lot of trouble trying to figure out where the Wanderers stand (Maslin, 1979).
The screenplay was written by Mr. Kaufman and Rose Kaufman. They introduce a few extra characters. They also introduce situations that help to suggest what the climate is like past a 10-block radius. This is the radius of the intersection of the Grand Concourse and Fordham Road. The most prominent of these is a friendly love interest. This is shown by a girl who is shown carrying her guitar. She is also having a copy of "Lady Chatterley's Lover." The year is 1963. There is also an amazing reference to the assassination of John F. Kennedy. This is accompanied with a rock song played over footage of the killing. There are also some uneasy attempts to show that race relations in the neighborhood are incredibly strained and friendly at the same time.
The four Wanderers in the movie are the easygoing leader Richie (Ken Wahl), the group pipsqueak Joey (John Friedrich), the kindly giant Perry (Tony Ganios) and rakish Buddy (Jim Youngs, younger brother of John Savage). These wanderers are seen at parties, in school and at a mad meaningless football game. Here they are together with their families and with their girlfriends. In one of the best episodes in the film, Richie and Joey get in a game of strip poker. They do this with the nice girl they hardly know (Karen Allen). They also do this with Despite (Toni Kalem), who plays the role of the troublesome girlfriend that Richie ends marrying. He does this even though he is already tired of her at 17.