This astounding, grunge-fuelled political satire from American International Pictures is the story of shrewd and sexy millionaire rock star Max Frost (Christopher Jones), whose support is sought by floundering California congressman Johnny Fergus (Hal Holbrook), who is running for the Senate with a campaign based on the promise of giving the vote to 18-year-olds (clearly patterning his image after the late Robert F Kennedy).
24-year-old Max holds out for 14, compromises at 15 – the age of his legal and financial adviser Billy Cage (Kevin Coughlin), a Yale Law School graduate – and calls for demonstrations.
In no time at all, Max has got his spaced-out, acid-head, vegetarian, former child star girlfriend Sally (Diane Varsi) elected to Congress, and soon he becomes President of the United States, having ensured his success by dumping LSD into the Washington DC water supply to zonk out Congress.
He then makes 30 the compulsory retirement age and sets up “Paradise Camps” (prisons) for everyone over 35, where his adolescent blackshirts force them to drink LSD-spiked water. The singer also abolishes the Army, Navy, FBI and CIA.
But now that youth – of all ages – is on the march, the 19-year-olds soon become “aged” to the 15-year-olds, and the 15-year-olds seem senile to children of 10 or under. It’s time for the real, real young ones to take over.
Shelley Winters plays Frost’s all-devouring mother who moves from drab housewife to sexpot matron to middle-aged hippie to Eleanor Roosevelt dowager.
Millie Perkins and a young Richard Pryor co-star (amongst others) with songs by Brill Building stalwarts Barry Mann & Cynthia Weill, performed by Max Frost & The Troopers, including the thundersome Shape of Things to Come.
The first person approached to play the rock star-turned-President was folk troubadour Phil Ochs, who had been looking for some time for a film vehicle. On reading the script, he rightly surmised that this was not a scintillating Dr Strangelove-esque satire on politics.
Max Frost (Flatow)
Senator Johnny Fergus
Senator Amos Allbright
Max Jacob Flatow Sr.