Dennis Hopper and "Easy Rider" at 40

NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday broadcast an interview with Dennis Hopper yesterday (May 2) about the movie "Easy Rider" on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of its release.

Hopper is a smart, interesting guy who's been in the movie business for years (one of his earliest roles was as the son of Rock Hudson and Elizabeth Taylor in "Giant"). His reflections on "Easy Rider" are fun to hear (what were his and Peter Fonda's characters looking for in the movie? "I think we were looking to make a big score and retire to Florida").

My favorite take on "Easy Rider" is the UK TV ad above. I first saw it in Europe in 1999 and have laughed about it ever since. Thanks to some sophisticated special effects, Hopper plays opposite his character from the film.

He's selling the Ford Cougar. According to a "making-of" documentary, also on YouTube, Ford's marketing surveys found that Cougar owners were quiet on the outside but sort of rebels inside. Hence, Hopper's appearance in the ad and the use of "Easy Rider."

But things have changed, as the ad shows. At the end, the contemporary Hopper leaves the "Easy Rider" Hopper in his rear view mirror. His little laugh is just perfect.

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