Newest Reviews
Miserables, Les
Ritz, The
Girls of the Sun
Princess and the Goblin, The
Incredible Kung Fu Mission
Dirty Cops
You Cannot Kill David Arquette
Leap of Faith: William Friedkin on The Exorcist
Son's Room, The
Evil Hits Evil
Blue My Mind
Assassination Nation
Golden Key, The
Image Book, The
On Body and Soul
Danger Within
Battle in Outer Space
H-Man, The
Painted Bird, The
Finding Steve McQueen
Five Easy Pieces
Queen of Hearts
Chinese Evil Technique
Newest Articles
Bad Love: The Night Porter on Blu-ray
Brevity is the Soul of Weird: Short Sharp Shocks on Blu-ray
Get Your Ass to Mars: Total Recall on Blu-ray
Call the Professionals: Le Cercle Rouge on Blu-ray
When There's No More Room in Hell: Dawn of the Dead on Blu-ray
The Butterfly Effect: Mothra on Blu-ray
Living Room Theatre: Play for Today Volume 1 on Blu-ray
Didn't He Do Well: The Bruce Forsyth Show on DVD
Blood Wedding: The Bride with White Hair on Blu-ray
The Inhuman Element: The Ladykillers on 4K UHD
As You Like It, Baby: Breathless on Blu-ray
Stargazing: Light Entertainment Rarities on DVD
Down to the Welles: Orson Welles Great Mysteries Volume 2 on DVD
Herding Cats: Sleepwalkers on Blu-ray
Confessions of a Porn Star: Adult Material on DVD
They're Still Not Sure It is a Baby: Eraserhead on Blu-ray
Werewolves are Real: Dog Soldiers on Digital
Rose: A Love Story - Producers April Kelley and Sara Huxley Interview
Phone Phreak: 976-EVIL on Blu-ray
Living the Nightmare: Dementia on Blu-ray
Becky and The Devil to Pay: Ruckus and Lane Skye Interview
Big Top Bloodbath: Circus of Horrors on Blu-ray
A Knock on the Door at 4 O'clock in the Morning: The Strangers on Blu-ray
Wives of the Skies: Honey Lauren Interview
To Catch a Thief: After the Fox on Blu-ray
  Steppenwolf Born To Be Mild
Year: 1974
Director: Fred Haines
Stars: Max von Sydow, Dominique Sanda, Pierre Clémenti, Carla Romanelli, Roy Bosier
Genre: Drama, WeirdoBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Harry Haller (Max von Sydow) is a man facing a mid-life crisis that is so all-consuming that he decides to kill himself when he reaches fifty years of age. Then he gets involved with a young woman (Dominique Sanda) who could represent the spiritual enlightenment that he so desperately needs and goes out of his mind on drugs. Maybe.

Steppenwolf! Yeah! Git yer motor runnin'! Head out on the highway! Lookin' for ad - no, no, wait a minute. Not that Steppenwolf, this is Fred Haines' leaden, artificial adaptation of Herman Hesse's celebrated cult novel. He tackles this work of internal angst and self-discovery by jazzing it up with animation, special effects, camera trickery and, er, jazz. Hesse's work had enjoyed renewed interest around the time the beatniks became a thing, that was the mid-nineteen-fifties, but there was no way it would have been adapted in this style back them.

It took the hippies and their infiltration of cinema come the very late sixties, especially cult cinema, to set the scene for efforts like this. Von Sydow had always had a knack for portraying men with complex inner lives, so was well cast here, but everyone around him seems stilted and just about every line is heaving with significance that might well have been there on the page, but was stubbornly refusing to translate to the screen, at least in this version. You may find your eyes glazing over more than once (unintentionally) - some books simply don't lend themselves to the cinema.

The "trip" sequence that takes up the last half hour has dated badly, its frankly primitive special effects looking cheap and nasty (and curiously, the Van Gogh segment of Akira Kurosawa's Dreams was oddly reminiscent of it, only more palatable. Presumably this film's cult consists mainly of those who saw it at a midnight showing back in the seventies, while suitably stoned, but as for fans of the book, they might prefer to hang onto their tomes, assuming Hesse is much returned this far after the fact. 10/10 for effort, though: it was plain the project was drawing on somewhat meagre resources.

Fans of adaptations of largely intractable books may wish to know that Hesse's Siddhartha was also adapted in the early seventies, a couple of years before this, and won much the same kind of following (though that did look far more attractive than this drab production). Really Steppenwolf was a relic of the vogue for head movies that was eventually replaced by videos of surfing or fractals, the movie equivalent of your average, vintage lava lamp, but you would get more out of the actual ultimate trip of the final half hour of 2001: A Space Odyssey if such mind expansion was at all your bag, man: that was what this sort of affair blatantly aspired to achieve.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 5189 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
  Lee Fiveash
  Mick Stewart
Enoch Sneed
  Dsfgsdfg Dsgdsgsdg


Last Updated: