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Thumb Tripping (1972)

R | | Drama | October 1972 (USA)
An adventurous couple of hitchhikers decides to accept every ride that is offered to them. no matter how odd the driver might be. They'll get more than they bargained for.

Director:

Quentin Masters

Writers:

Don Mitchell (screenplay), Don Mitchell (novel)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Michael Burns ... Gary
Meg Foster ... Shay
Bruce Dern ... Smitty
Michael Conrad ... Diesel
Burke Byrnes ... Jack
Larry Hankin ... Simp
Eric Butler Eric Butler ... Eric
Ed Greenburg Ed Greenburg ... Ed
William Murphy William Murphy
Joyce Van Patten ... Mother
Marianna Hill ... Lynne
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Storyline

An adventurous couple of hitchhikers decides to accept every ride that is offered to them. no matter how odd the driver might be. They'll get more than they bargained for.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Gary and Shay. Young, and in love for today. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

October 1972 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Highway Tramper See more »

Filming Locations:

Big Sur, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Deluxe) (as De Luxe)
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Joy Bang was also seriously considered for the lead role of Shay, but the filmmakers ultimately decided to cast Meg Foster instead. See more »

Connections

Featured in Dusk to Dawn Drive-In Trash-o-Rama Show Vol. 3 (1996) See more »

Soundtracks

Rhyme
Music by Bob Thompson
Lyrics by Jerry Fuller
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Poor, aimless road movie for the "Easy Rider" generation.
8 January 2006 | by barnabyrudgeSee all my reviews

Thumb Tripping is a little-known hippie road movie made in 1972. It's little-known for a reason. The reason is that it is somewhat poor.... and those who saw it (of which there were few) did not build for it a word-of-mouth reputation of any note. There are a few cast members in it who went on to bigger and better things, notably Meg Foster and Bruce Dern; also the director Quentin Masters would later score a sexploitation hit with the Joan Collins movie The Stud. However, in this film there is very little of interest other than a freewheeling narrative that offers occasional insights into the permissive and casual attitudes of the youth of the late '60s/early '70s. In most departments, Thumb Tripping is a tedious, dated, muddled and totally forgettable misfire.

Young hitch-hikers Gary (Michael Burns) and Chay (Meg Foster) make their way around California together, hitching rides when they can and spending evenings under the stars. Gary is a kid from a decent background and a home in Connecticut who has chosen to postpone going to college in order to "discover himself"; Chay is a more freewheeling type who just wants to experience the here-and-now while she is still young. During their wanderings, Gary and Chay come across various weird types and sometimes find themselves caught up in bizarre adventures. They're picked up by road-racers Smitty (Bruce Dern) and Simp (Larry Hankin) who threatens them with a switchblade; later they hitch a lift from an embittered woman (Joyce Van Patten) who has hated hippies since her daughter ran away to become one; another time Chay finds herself being ogled by a middle-aged trucker (Mike Conrad); and in their final "thumb trip", they find themselves travelling with dysfunctional husband-and-wife alcoholics (Mariana Hill and Burke Burns).

The episodes come and go without leaving much of an impression, partly due to the fuzzy soundtrack (which renders much of the dialogue inaudible) and partly because of the thoroughly uninteresting main characters. Michael Burns gives a non-performance that may one day be recommended by doctors as a cure for insomnia, while Foster fares little better as a dislikable female lead whose character seems to think she's free and happy but in reality is just a self-centred slut. The gallery of background characters are far more fascinating than these two, but they come and go too quickly to make much of an impact. The script (by Don Mitchell, from his own novel) has no idea where it's going and merely ambles along from one pointless situation to another. Where Easy Rider was similarly plot less and freewheeling, at least it had interesting characters and situations, and charismatic performers. Thumb Tripping has none of that and is a very tough film to endure from low-key beginning to unsatisfying end.


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