Cisco Pike (1972)

R | 94-95 mins | Drama | October 1972

Director:

B. L. Norton

Writer:

B. L. Norton

Producer:

Gerald Ayres

Cinematographer:

Vilis Lapenieks

Editor:

Robert C. Jones

Production Designer:

Alfred Sweeney

Production Company:

Acrobat Films
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HISTORY

The film’s working titles were Dealer and Silver Tongued Devil . The song "The Silver Tongued Devil" was a big hit for Kris Kristofferson in the early 1970s, and was also the title of an album that contained the songs "Loving Her Was Easier," "The Pilgrim: Chapter 33" and "Breakdown," all sung by Kristofferson in the film. B. [Bill] L. Norton’s onscreen credit reads “written and directed by.” According to a May 2006 LAT article, in 1969, Norton, a recent UCLA Film School graduate, pitched his story Dealer to Gerald Ayres, who at the time was an executive at Columbia. Ayres left Columbia to produce the film, which was shot on location with “the smallest Hollywood crew Columbia had ever used,” according to the LAT article. After a short initial run, the film was shelved, and according to a 1975 LAT news item about the film's Mar 1975 re-release, most of the prints were destroyed. The 2006 LAT article adds that Columbia refused to license the television broadcast rights for the film. The film was not officially released by Columbia until the 2006 DVD.
       Reviewers in 1972 predicted that the film would fail at the box office, speculating that audiences were tired of the glut of films dealing with drug dealers spurred by the 1969 film Easy Rider (see below). The 1975 LAT review, however, praised Cisco Pike as an “accurate slice of social history.” The film’s location shooting documented the seedy aspects of Venice, CA that were prevalent in 1970, including ... More Less

The film’s working titles were Dealer and Silver Tongued Devil . The song "The Silver Tongued Devil" was a big hit for Kris Kristofferson in the early 1970s, and was also the title of an album that contained the songs "Loving Her Was Easier," "The Pilgrim: Chapter 33" and "Breakdown," all sung by Kristofferson in the film. B. [Bill] L. Norton’s onscreen credit reads “written and directed by.” According to a May 2006 LAT article, in 1969, Norton, a recent UCLA Film School graduate, pitched his story Dealer to Gerald Ayres, who at the time was an executive at Columbia. Ayres left Columbia to produce the film, which was shot on location with “the smallest Hollywood crew Columbia had ever used,” according to the LAT article. After a short initial run, the film was shelved, and according to a 1975 LAT news item about the film's Mar 1975 re-release, most of the prints were destroyed. The 2006 LAT article adds that Columbia refused to license the television broadcast rights for the film. The film was not officially released by Columbia until the 2006 DVD.
       Reviewers in 1972 predicted that the film would fail at the box office, speculating that audiences were tired of the glut of films dealing with drug dealers spurred by the 1969 film Easy Rider (see below). The 1975 LAT review, however, praised Cisco Pike as an “accurate slice of social history.” The film’s location shooting documented the seedy aspects of Venice, CA that were prevalent in 1970, including the graffitied, run-down canals and the ruins of the ravaged Pacific Ocean Park pier. Among other locations shown in the film that are no longer in existence are Olivia’s restaurant, a hangout for UCLA film students, and the Source restaurant on Sunset Strip, which was also featured in the 1977 Woody Allen film Annie Hall .
       Norton, who made his directorial debut with Cisco Pike , did not direct again until the 1979 film More American Graffiti . Cisco Pike also marked the first screen appearance of singer-songwriter Kristofferson, the first film produced by Ayres, and the first film of art designer Rosanna White, who later changed her name to Rosanna Norton. Although contemporary sources list Dick Stahl and Doodles Weaver in the cast, and modern sources add Anthony Caso, Martin Fierro, Frank Millen, Frank Morin, Johnny Perez and Jimmy Stallings to the cast, their appearance in the released film has not been confirmed.
More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
15 Nov 1971.
---
Daily Variety
2 Nov 1970.
---
Daily Variety
3 Nov 1971
p. 3.
Filmfacts
1972
pp. 18-20.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Oct 1970
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Nov 1970.
---
Hollywood Reporter
18 Dec 1970
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Nov 1971.
---
Los Angeles Herald Examiner
9 Feb 1972.
---
Los Angeles Times
11 Feb 1972.
---
Los Angeles Times
11 Mar 1975.
---
Los Angeles Times
28 May 2006
West Magazine, pp. 22-25.
New York Times
15 Jan 1972
p. 18.
Variety
2 Nov 1970.
---
Variety
3 Nov 1971
p. 16.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
1st cam asst
Stills
Gaffer
Best boy
Best boy
Key grip
Grip
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Leadman
Prop master
2d prop man
COSTUMES
Men's cost
Women's cost
MUSIC
Mus supv
Mus ed
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Makeup
Hairdresser
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit prod mgr
Cast by
Cast by
Asst to the prod
Asst to the prod
Asst to the dir
Tech adv
Prod secy
Scr supv
Craft seviceman
Transportation capt
Police coord
SOURCES
SONGS
“Loving Her Was Easier,” “I’d Rather Be Sorry,” “The Pilgrim: Chapter 33” and “Breakdown,” words and music by Kris Kristofferson, performed by Kris Kristofferson
“Wailin’ and Whoopin',” words and music by Sonny Terry, performed by Sonny Terry
“Michoacan,” words and music by Atwood Allen and Kim Fowley, performed by Sir Douglas Quintet
+
SONGS
“Loving Her Was Easier,” “I’d Rather Be Sorry,” “The Pilgrim: Chapter 33” and “Breakdown,” words and music by Kris Kristofferson, performed by Kris Kristofferson
“Wailin’ and Whoopin',” words and music by Sonny Terry, performed by Sonny Terry
“Michoacan,” words and music by Atwood Allen and Kim Fowley, performed by Sir Douglas Quintet
“Funky Lady,” words and music by Lee Montgomery, performed by Lee Montgomery.
+
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Dealer
Silver Tongued Devil
Release Date:
October 1972
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 14 January 1972
Los Angeles opening: 9 February 1972
Production Date:
2 November--late December 1970
Copyright Claimant:
Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc.
Copyright Date:
2 November 1971
Copyright Number:
LP39962
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Eastman color
Duration(in mins):
94-95
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Following his arrest for selling marijuana, Cisco Pike, a fading rock star who, in the space of four years, has gone from winning gold records to pawning his guitar, vows to give up dealing and try to reestablish himself in the music business. One day, Leo Holland, the narcotics officer who arrested him, knocks on the door of the seedy, beachfront apartment Cisco shares with his girl friend Sue, and coerces him into taking a ride. Holland drives Cisco to a padlocked garage to show him one hundred kilos of high-grade marijuana that he has stolen. Thinking that Holland is trying to entrap him, Cisco asks his lawyer to check out the address of the garage, and upon learning that it is attached to Holland’s house, agrees to meet the officer at the beach on Friday afternoon. There, after explaining that he needs $10,000 by Monday morning, Holland asks Cisco to sell the marijuana, offering in return to help get the drug charges against him dropped and let him keep any cash he raises beyond the $10,000. When Cisco queries why he needs the money, Holland replies that he has a margin call coming due on some stocks and had borrowed against his life insurance to pay for it. Later, upon finding Cisco cutting up bricks of marijuana in their kitchen, Sue becomes upset because Cisco had promised to stop dealing, but he reassures her that the marijuana is for their own personal use. Trying to unload the marijuana, Cisco begins calling his old contacts, but when he spots Holland following him, he declares that he is quitting. Later, Holland, visibly ... +


Following his arrest for selling marijuana, Cisco Pike, a fading rock star who, in the space of four years, has gone from winning gold records to pawning his guitar, vows to give up dealing and try to reestablish himself in the music business. One day, Leo Holland, the narcotics officer who arrested him, knocks on the door of the seedy, beachfront apartment Cisco shares with his girl friend Sue, and coerces him into taking a ride. Holland drives Cisco to a padlocked garage to show him one hundred kilos of high-grade marijuana that he has stolen. Thinking that Holland is trying to entrap him, Cisco asks his lawyer to check out the address of the garage, and upon learning that it is attached to Holland’s house, agrees to meet the officer at the beach on Friday afternoon. There, after explaining that he needs $10,000 by Monday morning, Holland asks Cisco to sell the marijuana, offering in return to help get the drug charges against him dropped and let him keep any cash he raises beyond the $10,000. When Cisco queries why he needs the money, Holland replies that he has a margin call coming due on some stocks and had borrowed against his life insurance to pay for it. Later, upon finding Cisco cutting up bricks of marijuana in their kitchen, Sue becomes upset because Cisco had promised to stop dealing, but he reassures her that the marijuana is for their own personal use. Trying to unload the marijuana, Cisco begins calling his old contacts, but when he spots Holland following him, he declares that he is quitting. Later, Holland, visibly jittery, comes to Cisco’s apartment and threatens to kill Cisco unless he delivers the $10,000 on Monday, then chides him for smoking cigarettes because it is bad for his health. After meeting his dealer friend Buffalo, who promises to help him market the marijuana, Cisco proceeds to a studio where his musician friend Rex is recording a new record. Cisco has given Rex a tape of some new songs he has written, but when Rex returns the tape and expresses disappointment in the music, Cisco offers to sell him some marijuana instead. At the studio Cisco meets Merna, a pregnant, rich, eccentric hippie who lives with her father at his mansion. After asking to buy some marijuana, Merna invites Cisco home with her and along the way, they pick up Merna’s younger girl friend Lynn. Returning home after having sex with Merna and Lynn, Cisco is confronted by Sue, who has discovered that he is dealing drugs again and angrily threatens to leave him unless he stops. Cisco then goes to sell thirty kilos, but when the buyer informs Cisco that he will pay him after he in turn has sold the drugs, Cisco insists on riding along with him to meet his contact. Upon meeting the buyer at a parking lot, Cisco, sensing a set-up, jumps back into the truck and speeds off with the dealer. Hearing the sound of sirens in the distance, Cisco ditches the truck and hops onto a city bus with the dealer. When Sue picks them up, she angrily questions Cisco, but he refuses to respond. Upon returning home that night, Cisco and Sue find Jesse Dupre, his partner in his former rock band, sitting in his bathtub, strung out on speed. Cisco, who was hoping to put their act back together, listens as Jesse incoherently rambles on about leaving his wife and realizes that his former partner is no longer able to function as a musician. After finally telling Sue about his predicament, Cisco leaves with Jesse to meet Buffalo at a music club in which they used to perform. Although Buffalo fails to keep the appointment, Cisco sees Merna and Lynn there and introduces them to Jesse. When Merna suggests that her rich neighbor Jack might be interested in buying ten kilos from Cisco, they drive to Jack's house, where with Merna’s help, Cisco consummates the deal. Meanwhile, Holland comes to the apartment looking for Cisco. Frightened by his agitated, sweaty demeanor, Sue sneaks out the back door. To celebrate the sale, Merna invites them all back to her house, where she offers Jesse some heroin. Jesse secludes himself in the bathroom to inject the drug, and when the others hear a crash, Cisco rushes in and finds his friend dead from an overdose. Driving Jesse’s body back to the beach, Cisco finds Sue waiting in the parking lot to warn him about Holland. After the two carry Jesse’s body to a bench on the beach, Sue, reasoning that if she phones the police an ambulance will be sent to pick up the body, goes to a pay phone. Although Sue is afraid of Holland, Cisco insists upon returning to the apartment to pay him. Once Cisco hands over the $10,000, Holland admits that he lied about needing the money for stock and explains that he has a heart condition that will cause his dismissal from the force, rationalizing that because he has not served enough time to earn a pension, the force owes him the money. When the ambulance and police arrive to pick up Jesse’s body, Holland thinks that Cisco has double-crossed him and begins to fire his gun at him. As Holland chases Cisco onto the beach, a police helicopter shines its searchlight on Holland, affording the officers a clear shot. Not realizing that Holland is a fellow officer, the police gun him down. Soon after, as Sue returns to her apartment, Cisco drives along the highway, heading out of Los Angeles. +

GENRE
Genre:
Sub-genre:
with songs


Subject

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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