Pray for the Wildcats, 1974

The cover of this Blu-Ray caught my eye. Four guys on motorcycles on the top. Cast includes Andy Griffith!, William Shatner!, and Angie Dickinson! I just recently watched Dressed to Kill for the first time and she was great in it, as always. Needless to say I was intrigued, The plot summary explained a rich tycoon sends these advertising executives on a journey in Mexico. This movie had a slight deliverance vibe about it. Pretty much any 70s movie with motorcycles I will glady watch, even just for the bikes sometimes.

This movie starts out by showing how everyone’s life is failing. The three main characters are all suffering. Shatner was fired but has to continue to work his old job to please an advertising client. The young guy’s relationship is falling apart as he becomes a workaholic, and ignores his pregnant girlfriend. And the third guy’s wife is sleeping with Shatner! All of them are in the gutter in their personal lives. So much so Shatner’s character plans to kill himself on this impending Mexico trip. To get his wife his insurance policy.

Now Andy Griffith plays the bad guy and does it well. He plays a “rich good ole boy son of a bitch”. Even from the first scene you see his predatory behavior on women, as he makes what I would call, no longer acceptable behavior with someone’s wife. It’s amazing seeing Griffith play the devil essentially, he is incredibly good at being a huge asshole you want to kill. His character further exposes himself as fucking horrid later in the film. Now I’ve not scene much of the Andy Griffith Show but I know he played a good guy. He is ruthless in this film, it really displays his talents as an actor here.

When all these “men” begin this journey they set out into Baja California. Griffith even has custom jackets made dubbing the four the “Wildcats”. This clear Rites of Passage, or act of proving themselves to shitty Andy Griffith’s character is almost a coming of age to midlife existence. All 3 of the executives almost have nothing to lose it seems, hell one of them even WANTS to die on this trip. They all get caught up with the law due to Griffith’s thirst for women. And let’s just say when they return, after the horrific trip, they are all grateful for what they had. Or whatever can be salvaged….

It’s amazing this was a made for TV movie from then. I believe almost all the top billing were very successful actors and actresses at the time. Granted I guess they were all “TV actors”…….maybe I just answered my own question. That in itself is interesting how the industry was much more divided. I’d say within the past 15 years or so plenty of A-list film stars have done solid cable tv shows with solid writing and direction. With just a tad more gusto or plot I don’t see why this wasn’t a theatrical release.

Dickinson herself utters the cheesy titular line, “Pray for the Wildcats” after they cross the border. It’s quite fitting. Pray for the Wildcats indeed.

It’s on Youtube where it is ripped to shreds by the comments, but it’s worth watching.

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