1967: ‘The Trip’ falls flat

Fonda, Corman fell film edit is a 'copout'

Aug. 22, 1967

GOOD MORNING: “The Trip” is over but the memory of the LSDeep-seated film lingers on — not too pleasantly with both Peter Fonda and Roger Corman … Both feel — and independently — the finale was compromised by American-International. Or, as Fonda says, “It was a ‘copout’. The audience should have been permitted to make its own decision. It’s very important for the moral commitment of the story.” Producer-director Corman also objected to the alteration in the scene described to us by Fonda: “It changed the meaning of the picture.” (2007 Update: Peter Fonda tells me, “I remember it well. They should have shot Jack’s (Nicholson) script. I was so moved by it — it was the first art film and they (A-I) changed it. I’ll never stop regretting that we didn’t shoot it Jack’s way. I was so upset. When I went to the film’s promotional meeting before 1,250 distributors and exhibitors in Toronto, Canada, and heard Jack Valenti say, ‘We’ll have to stop making movies about motorcycles, sex and drugs — and make more movies like ‘Dr. Dolittle,’ I went up to my room in the Lakeshore hotel — it was Sept. 27, 1967 — and I wrote the idea for ‘Easy Rider.’ I called Dennis (Hopper) and told him the story. You direct it, we’ll both write it and we’ll be in it with Jack. Terry Southern gave us the title.” Fonda relished retelling me the birth of the classic “Easy Rider.” This week he wound his guestint in the 300th seg of “ER” — directed by John Wells. He is taking bows for “3:10 to Yuma” and is now awaiting the arrival of another script — as soon as the strike lifts.

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