Hall filmed Robert Blake as two men on opposite ends of the scale -- one a killer in black and white, the other a good cop in color. Both have an essential loneliness. Officer Wintergreen confides to a janitor, "Did you know that loneliness will kill you deader than a .357 magnum?" Electra Glide in Blue and In Cold Blood prove how effective an actor Robert Blake was. I believe he's the only kid from MGM's Our Gang comedy shorts of the 1940s who grew up to land lead roles in movies and television. Spanky, Alfalfa, Darla and Buckwheat surely didn't. TV made him a star on the popular detective series, Baretta. 1970s films didn't seem to pick up the ball and run with his talents for whatever reason. His reviews for In Cold Blood were stellar. One can only imagine if Robert Blake had been given a chance to play Taxi Driver Travis Bickle, the disabled Vietnam vet in Coming Home, the military husband in Coming Home, Brody in Steven Spielberg's Jaws or a character in that all-star disaster blockbuster, The Towering Inferno. (That 1974 box office champ starred Paul Newman, Steve McQueen, Fred Astaire, William Holden, Jennifer Jones, Faye Dunaway, Robert Wagner....and O.J. Simpson.)
Electra Glide in Blue -- an overlooked 1973 film worthy of attention. The film acting of Robert Blake deserves re-appreciation. A CBS sitcom star stands out in a dramatic supporting role as an ex-Rockette. And the cinematography is absolutely gorgeous.