Byline: Peter Guttridge
Everything I do,'' says screenwriter Rudy Wurlitzer, ``seems in one way or another, to be a road movie.
``I guess it's a reflection of my life that I'm attracted to a kind of phenomenology of movement.''
Candy Mountain, which he has written and co-directed with Robert Frank, is probably the end of the road for the genre he helped to establish in 1971 with his script for Two Lane Blacktop. Opening in Britain next week, it is a bleak film set around the search for a master guitar-builder. Julius, the young musician who wants to track him down, is enlightened on his journey by musicians such as Dr John, Leon Redbone and Tom Waits.
Wurlitzer's screenwriting career has straddled mainstream films such as Coming Home and Pat Garrett and Billy The Kid and more artistically challenging works by Hellman, Antonioni, Alex Cox and Robert Frank. He has written innumerable short stories, two plays and published four experimental novels, all now out of print. (Of the second novel, Flats, he said in 1970: ``Only about 10 people in the entire world will be able to read it.'' Judging by sales he was right.) His life has been almost classically ``counter-culture''. One American critic described him as ``the last of the noble-underground-existential-outlaw-wanderers''. He went to three universities Columbia, Harvard and Aix-en-Provence, and didn't graduate from any.
``The story of Candy Mountain has to do with both Robert and me,'' Wurlitzer explains. ``We both live in New York and we both have houses in Cape Breton. In a way Elmore's route was the same as ours. Music and musicians, their dilemmas and lifestyles, mean a lot to Robert and myself.''
Copyright (C) The Times, 1989